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Father’s Day is this coming Sunday. I was sitting here in all this craziness of the world and was thinking about the fathers who have had such an influence on my life and how lucky I am to have had them as examples of how to live life.

My grandfather, William (Bill) Walsh. What a great “Pop.” He was so generous and would do anything for his family. We were the luckiest kids when we were invited to Snug Harbor for dinner with him and my Nan. During high school while attending St. Ann’s Academy (which later became Archbishop Molloy), he slept on the couch of his one bedroom apartment he shared with his mother and sister. Not a pullout couch, a couch. When I was a young child visiting my Aunt Mary, who still lived in that apartment, she was so proud to tell us the stories of my Pop doing homework on his rollout desk, until late at night, that they still had. My grandfather then went to the Korean War and used the G.I. Bill to attend college and became a successful businessman.

My father-in-law, John Hanning. Another generous and kind man who would do anything for us. One of the favorite stories we tell is when we would all call to ask him and Mom to babysit. He would often say no. We would hang up the phone and count to five and he would call back and tell us, of course! Not to make the children upset, but I think he loved the grandchildren more than his own kids! This man worked so hard to provide for his family and he gave that drive to all four children and I am so lucky to be married to someone who learned from the best.

My dad, John Lydon. How am I so lucky to have so many kind and generous men in my life? (I tell my students to vary word choice but I am having trouble!). My dad became a single dad at 42 years of age and took such great care of us. He was such a dedicated father, he drove my sister Christine to Stella Maris each day. PS: we lived on Beach 117th Street! (A whole five blocks away!) Seriously, as an adult with children I admire how he did it alone. I am also so fortunate to have him here with us after he just celebrated his 74th birthday. Happy Father’s Day. Keep making us laugh, Dad.

All three of these men illustrated to my family and me that if you work hard, you can overcome obstacles.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there especially my husband and my friends who are dads. I am so proud of all of my friends and what great dads they have become. I enjoy watching you all with your children. Also, we remember all of the dads we lost over the years and especially during this year and think of their families today.

 By Beth Hanning 

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