He was 51 years old.
He hadn’t been feeling well for the past few months, but he had been seeing a doctor on a regular basis; his next appointment was for July 5. My mom was staying with me Monday night since she had an early morning appointment here in Raleigh the next day. Dad didn’t seem to have a problem with this; he talked to Mom several times over the course of the afternoon and evening of the 4th. He said he was tired, but that was about it. When Mom talked to him at around 7:30, he told her he was going to go to bed and asked her to call him at about 6 the next morning to make sure he was awake.
Mom started calling at about 5:50 AM on the 5th; after 15 minutes or so, she got worried and called one of Dad’s friends to go over and check on him. This friend was able to get in the house, and found Dad in bed. He had apparently died soon after he went to bed, though the time of death was listed as the early morning of July 5. The autopsy listed the cause of death as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (I later learned that his father died of this at age 48).
We opted for a private funeral (immediate family only) on July 9, followed by a public memorial service in the afternoon. The president of the company where Dad worked shut down the plant that afternoon so that all employees could attend. He knew so many people…from the executives who were his coworkers to the people who worked out in the warehouse. Dad’s side of the family (his mother, two aunts, and two uncles) were 15 minutes late to the private service. The people in town couldn’t have been better, from providing food to ensuring that all friends and relatives were notified. The Presbyterian church, along with the local restaurant, provided lunch the day of the memorial service.
Dad wanted to be cremated; Mom and I picked up his urn this afternoon. I think she has a good point; she doesn’t intend to spend the rest of her life in this area, and was more uncomfortable with the idea of a permanent burial site. We’re both still numb though, and there’s so much to do. And it seems everyone in the county has a different opinion on how we should be proceeding…it gets quite overbearing at times.