At the risk of making Mike (aka Hubby) and my girls sad as they read this, I couldn’t not have a post about Pop.
Shown at left is Mike’s grandfather, Clair (Pete) LeRoy Hallock. Sadly, he left this world on Friday, November 14, after having lived for 96 years, 7 months and 5 days. (Read Obituary)
Live he did, too. This was one spunky old man.
Oddly, I met Mike’s grandfather well before I met Mike (Mike’s cousin was one of my childhood friends). He lived with his wife in the neighborhood where I grew up. After retiring from a long, distinguished career with the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company, he and his wife (who passed away in 1993) returned to their childhood home of Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
I remember visiting Pop in Clearfield as a child. Every time he saw me as an adult, he’d say, “I remember when you came up to my place and you and that other girl of mine (my friend, Laura) were riding around in that wagon.” That’s where he’d always shake his head and laugh. The “wagon” was a small thing, pulled behind a lawn tractor. For some reason, that really stuck in his head.
He loved telling stories.
The above image was taken in January, 2006. Hubby and I had gone up, with our dogs, for a visit. As we were leaving, Pop walked out with us to see Hubby’s then-new truck. I can’t say I remember the story from that moment, but this is definitely Pop in full story mode.
In addition to telling stories, he had quite a sense of humor, too. The above shot was taken in April 2007 at Pop’s 95th birthday party. Four generations are represented here (that’s Hubby’s mom on the right). Almost five, really, since Amy was about 6 months pregnant at the time. The expression on Pop’s face is priceless.
I did mention that he was spunky, right? Up until about five years ago he had not one, but TWO, lady friends. One in Baltimore and one in Clearfield. Once, when Hubby and I were in Clearfield visiting, Pop took Hubby and I, along with the PA lady friend, on a driving tour. That was one of his favorite pastimes. He’d drive people around and show them all sorts of stuff. On that same visit he remembered when I was in a wagon, he drove a van load of us about an hour across the mountains to see the “camp” of some friends of his. They weren’t home (he knew that in advance), but he wanted us to see their fancy, two-seater “biffy” (outhouse).
Back to the driving tour I started telling you about. This is a great example of his spunkiness and sense of humor. At one point, he made a detour through town to stop at a memorial (headstone) dealer. Of course, there were a couple of samples outside. One happened to be heart-shaped.
“Now, you see that one there,” he said, turning to us slightly as he pointed. “That one there has a heart on.” Yes, he meant it to sound just like it did. “Oh, Clair,” his demure little lady friend said softly as he chuckled.
I could go on and on with the stories. I could tell you how he rode ATVs through the woods at least through his late-80s, maybe even into his early 90s. And all about the bears that he so loved to brag about and hand-feed. I could tell you about all the friends he had (I don’t think there was ever a time while visiting when at least one friend or neighbor didn’t stop in). I could mention his kind, generous nature. His expert woodworking skills. Perhaps describe his annual trips with my mother-in-law to “York State” to buy Concord grapes.
There really are lots of memories of Pop and the stories he shared. But one of the things that was most special about him was how much he loved his family. He really enjoyed family gatherings. And he could spend hours and hours talking to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the telephone. The family all loved him right back, too.
Really, 96 years, 7 months and 5 days may be a long, LONG time. And he really did live life to its fullest. But, one thing I know for certain, Pop Hallock surely will be missed.