A mass is being said today for my father. It’s the anniversary of his death. He died on April 21, 1956. Being nine years old when he passed, I had not been allowed to view the casket or go to the grave site. When my brother Tom and I visited his grave for the first time in 2019, it had been 63 years since his death.
In recent years I’ve tried to learn more about him …his early life, his professional life, his interests. I recalled that my dad had taken post graduate work at Harvard University in 1934 under the famous Dr. Paul D. White who was the top cardiologist of the time and later became President Eisenhower’s doctor. Several years ago I was in Boston and visited Massachusetts General Hospital, where he took that course. I thought what it must have been like for a young doctor, not married, being in Boston with the top cardiologists in the country. I bet he had some stories.
My dad was a St. Louis Cardinal fan and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio. (KMOX) I still picture him after a hard day listening to the game, smoking his Lucky Strikes. He would laugh if he knew his sons, grandsons, and now great grandsons are Cardinal fans. He’d be happy to know they won several titles since the last one he experienced in 1946.
I didn’t remember a lot about his faith. We certainly went to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and sometimes to Adoration. I learned later that that he loved God, and had a devotion to the Blessed Mother; he took care of the poor and loved his family. As a young boy I worried if he was in heaven because he used to take God’s name in vain at times. However I was consoled when my mother told me that a few days before he died of a massive heart attack, she said, “Neal, there’s a visiting priest at church who’s hearing confession, do you want to go… he said yes.”
Well, I’ve prayed for my father every day for the last many years. I hope he is in heaven and I’ll see him again. I hope one day I can hear some of the stories of his life… and I can bring him up to date on my life. That would be wonderful. In the meantime, may Neal Joseph Touhill, my father, rest in peace.