This last Wednesday 7/18 I lost my Grandfather to pancreatic cancer. His condition was previously undiagnosed and until recently he was in good heath (for someone 91 years young).
My Grandparents retired to the Island of Kauai back in the early 80's and I have been making an annual trek each year since. There were a number of times when I was young that I would just end up staying for a while. I even went to school on Kauai for semester so I didn't have to leave. My grandfather and I are kindered spirits alike in almost every way. He inspired my love of all things mechanical and we always had a project when I went to visit.
My grandfather was a big fan of my RV-6 project, so much so that he provided the engine for it. In May, I took the family out to visit him and my parents (they also retired to Kauai so they could keep an eye on Pete, my grandmother passed not too many years after they moved). He was doing great, still loading his bike on the back on the truck each day and driving down to the beach for his regular 2-mile bike ride. He got to meet his great granddaughter for the first time also. He told me that he would be willing to fly back to the mainland once the RV was done so we could go flying together.
Towards the end of June he went to the hospital with a little shortness of breath and that is when they found the cancer. I made plans and flew out to Kauai last Saturday to see him. We got to spend some time talking, but his healt was rapidly deteriorating. He Passed while I was there ealry Wednesday morning. My mom told me he had been waiting for me to get there before he let go.
It is impossible to sum up someones life is a few paragraphs, so I didn't try. Pete made the best of every minute of his life. From being in WWII and a Japanese POW for 3 years, working as a salvage diver and general jack-of-all-trades, a hydralics enginner for Douglas. He traveled around the world on more than one occassion. Even the hard times didn't phase him. Kind to the core while still being one tough SOB.
A hui hou kakou kupunakane Pete.