Many of you have been fortunate enough to know and hear the countless stories of Dad's life...how he was born to John and Marianna (Amaral) Pavoa, brother to Arthur, Alsuino, Ezaltina and Joe, a farming family in San Miguel, Portugal, who didn't have much in life other then each other. He was a man with only a fourth grade education but he was always a man of dreams and ambition. You heard how he married my Mom and came to this country with nothing more than the shirt on his back and a few dollars in his pocket.
The generation of immigrants who came to this country from Europe years ago were a generation of people who made this country great...my dad was one of those people.
I loved listening to him tell stories of not speaking english and having to take jobs miles away from home. On snowy days he would walk miles to the bus stop and then take the bus to work only to be paid 25 cents an hour. As I said he didn't speak English but insisted that his co-workers speak to him in English so that he would be forced to learn himself.
Another story he and my Mom would tell was when Jerry was born--they lived in a tiny apartment and the only furniture they had was one rocking chair that they paid $5 for-- who ever gave Jerry his bottle would be the one who got to sit in the chair that night (that rocking chair is still in their house in Florida). These are only a couple of stories that remind me how difficult their lives were and what they would go through in years later to try and make life better, not only for themselves but for my brother Jerry, my sister Marianne and I (Dorothy). He often worked many diferent jobs to make ends meet and he would at times think of many creative ways to make a dollar- but those are stories for another time.
They say a heart is not judged by how much you love but by how you are loved by others...well, my dad was loved and respected by many, many people who knew him throughout his life. I know where ever they are -- they are thinking of him fondly.
My Dad was one of those people who would help anyone...whether it was to plant a tree in their yard, or sponser them to come to this country to have a better life for themselves...he would do it. He would do it because he didn't want anyone to have it as hard as he did and because that's just the way he was.
Dad was a good man...he was a good husband, a good father and a good grandfather, a good brother, a good uncle and a good friend.
He did a lot of good things in his life but the best thing he did was marry my mom... in my mind that's how it started and that's how it ended. Sixty years of marriage...Mom took wonderful care of Dad especially in the end.
They worked hard all their lives and were blessed with 25 plus years of retirement filled with essentially good health and fun! They spent wonderful vacations with their friends and family visiting places they could only dream of when they were young. Mom would endure the countless trips to the beach house week after week where Dad could fish and be on his boat because it made him happy. We weren't a family to go to dinner and take fancy vacations when we were kids because they always felt that they needed to save their money for a rainy day.
They were blessed... that rainy day came many, many years later. In the end, Dad had only one request... he wanted to spend his final days at home and as always Mom made sure that she gave him exactly what he wanted.
Last but not least, Dad was a great teacher...he taught us how to live, to love, to work, to play and in the end, he taught us how to be strong and accept death with dignity. I know how much we will all miss him but we have our memories and they will keep us until we are with him again.
written and given to us with love by Dorothy Amaral