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Jewish Journal

Robert Angel: Father, Friend, Teacher

by Ilana Angel

February 12, 2014 | 5:56 pm

My father died on February 13th.  I think about him every day, but on this day, I allow myself to be sad, angry, and happy. I am sad he died, angry he’s not here, and happy my memories are plentiful. My dad, Robert Angel, was a great man and I loved him. I laugh like him and have his hands. My son has his hair and sense of humor.

I am blessed to see my dad in my son. They really are very similar and so on particularly hard days, I can hold my son’s hand and feel my dad close by. My father loved the Beatles, Mozart, reading books about spies and espionage, James Bond, cooking, and golf. He made the best spaghetti with meat sauce, and really amazing poached pears.

My father walked all 4 of his kids down the aisle at our weddings. He met 5 of his 8 grandchildren. When my son was little they would wear matching shirts. Whatever color my dad wore, my son insisted on the same color. My son loved his Grandpa Bob and he wanted him to live with us and share his room. He copied everything my dad did.

Even when my father was very sick and dying, he could beat us at Scrabble. He placed great value on grammar. His favorite book was Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy and he read it once a year.  He loved Star Trek. He always wore suspenders. He loved Johnny Carson and never liked Leno. His favorite TV shows were Benny Hill and Dave Allen at Large.

All of his children share his dry English sense of humor. He told us a million times that nobody can ever make us feel inferior without our consent. I think Eleanor Roosevelt said that. He was an avid reader and liked to learn. He learned all he could, and taught all he knew. He would be in awe of the technology available today and would want it all.

My father was only 64 when his died. Cancer. I have a lock of his hair in a pendant and I wear it most days. On the days I don’t wear it, I carry it with me. He knew everything. There was no problem I would bring to him that he could not solve. For as far back I can remember my father would tell me I was a wonderful person. I believed him then, as I do now.

He would be in love with the man his grandson has become and be thrilled he loves England so much and wants to study there. He believed this boy hung the moon and he would convince him of it too. I try to instill in my son what my father instilled in me. I want him to know he is a wonderful person so he knows he is worthy of wonderful things.

My father loved me. We may not have agreed on everything, but we loved each other deeply. He was my cheerleader, mentor, friend, teacher, and the man I could always count on. He is missed and speaking of him keeps his memory alive. I love you Dad. Knowing you are watching over all of us allows me to keep the faith.

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