Yesterday was the 64th anniversary of my father’s death. He died on April 21, 1956. Born in 1904, he would be 116 years old this year….”getting up there”.
I wonder if people will remember me in 2062, when I’m 116 years old ? Will they remember that poem I wrote in 2nd grade or the basketball shot I made in high school; will they remember my BLOG …… don’t hold your breath.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a random e-mail from a woman in southeast Missouri who remembered my dad, Dr. Touhill, taking care of them over 64 years ago. Over these many years there have been a number of people who have continued to speak highly of him… of his medical care and his kindness. After World War II, he left his practice in St. Louis, to take over the practice of a doctor in Dexter, Mo. who had just died. My dad practiced there for 10 years before dying of a massive heart attack at age 52.
He was quite accomplished. He went to St. Louis University for pre-med and medical school. He took post graduate work at Harvard University under the famous Dr. Paul David White who was the top cardiologist of the time and later became President Eisenhower’s doctor. He interned at St. John’s Hospital in St. Louis and was on the staff at St. Louis University. He took care of the priests and nuns in St. Louis. He took care the poor in rural Missouri. For all the training and development and honors, he practiced medicine for only about 20 years; he was married for only 21 years. He didn’t see his children grow into adulthood and left a widow to fare for herself for over 40 years. Last year I visited his grave sight in St. Louis for the first time since his death. I thought it would be a large monument with the statue of an angel or the Blessed Mother, but it was a simple rectangular slab.
Even though I was only 9 years old when he died, I remember him and am proud to be his son. While I’m proud of his accomplishments, I’m really happy to learn that he loved God, had a devotion to the Blessed Mother, took care of the poor and loved his family. I never had an adult conversation with him on this earth. I missed receiving his counsel and encouragement and love. I missed talking about the Cardinals while drinking a Budweiser. I look forward to meeting him again one day in heaven.
For most of us our worldly accomplishments and bank account will be forgotten pretty soon after we die, but what was done for Christ will live on thru eternity. The Lord has a great memory for all of our virtuous acts and thankfully a lousy memory for the sins we have taken to him for mercy and forgiveness. If I could redo my dad’s monument it would simply say,
Dr. Neal Joseph Touhill, M.D.
“Servant of the Lord”