It is difficult, if not impossible, to sum up the measure of a man’s life in a sentence, paragraph, or even a page. Dee Passey’s greatest legacy will be his example and the attributes that live on in his posterity.
I remember many examples and hidden life lessons taught by one who was scarcely aware he was teaching. I remember Dad teaching my deacon’s quorum in Taylorsville, Utah – I don’t remember the lesson, but I do remember the bag of Chips Ahoy cookies he brought for the team that got the most answers right. I remember the fun we had when we were kids playing around in the yard, shooting off rockets pressurized with water. I’m sure this came from the rocket scientist in him, as did the Red Devil firework displays each year. I remember how each of the boys in our family won first place, or close to it, in each of the scout pinewood derby races we competed in. Dad shaped and crafted our racers with the meticulous precision that only an engineer could possess. I remember one year he was responsible for providing the trophies, and in an attempt to get the glue to dry quickly, he accidentally melted them in the oven. They resembled shiny wilted flowers.
I knew Dad to be a man of few words and simple means, but he could make your head spin on many subjects, including politics, religion, science, medicine, and technology. I’m just beginning to grasp about half of what he tried to explain to me – when we meet on the other side I will ask him to clarify the other half. I cherish our many telephone conversations in which we exchanged various observations and philosophies on life. I remember a man who was smart, witty, talented, and extraordinarily creative, yet his humility and quiet dignity belied his education and intelligence. Dad’s deadpan sense of humor was arguably his best asset, and that attribute can be seen in many of his children and grandchildren. No doubt he got it from G.I. Passey, the original funny man (“Sit on the ground and let your feet hang over”).
Dad had an infectious smile, was always glad to see you, and had a genuine concern for each member of his family. He was always interested in what others were doing – the epitome of selflessness. I remember a man who, at times, was weighed down by life’s burdens, yet he carried those burdens with a positive attitude and a hope for a new tomorrow. Dad was by no means perfect, but who can achieve perfection in this lifetime? I know that most things he did were for the purpose of improving his family’s lot in life. Dad has had an immeasurable impact on my life, and when I see him again I will thank him for his love, concern, and contribution to who I am. Thank you Dad, I love you.