A Man called Pap

For nearly forty-three years, I called this man Jess, Dad and Pap.....he was Jess or honey until Joy and Jessica came along, then it was Daddy, later it was just Dad...but when the two grandsons, Michael Lee and Jesse Caleb were born, it was Pap.....and oh what wonderful memories that name holds for all our family.

Jess was born in a little coal-mining camp to a coal-miner father and a young mother, who gave birth to him at home one day before her twentieth birtday....he was the firtstborn son of Roy Otis and Lecil Frances (Tate) Lockhart. He was named for his two grandfathers, Jesse Lockhart and Oliver Lee Tate.  He was the second child, little brother to big sister Janice Sue.  Other siblings arrived every couple of years until he had a brother, Larry Otis and four more sisters, Bonnie Lou, Ella Faye, Judy Lynn and Marsha Elaine.  He was "Jet" to all of them, and a brother could not have been more loved than he was.

Jess and I met in 1968 and married that year and moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan where he worked for General Motors.....but after a year, I was so homesick for Kentucky, and he wanted to come home also......and it was our home for the next forty years.  During that time, we were blessed with and raised two daughters and had the joy of being near our grandsons.  As great a father as he was to our daughters, our grandsons were the reason he lived and breathed.  He loved his two sons-in-law, Wayne Ward and Lyle Britton

We watched our younger sisters and brothers grow up, marry and have children of their own.  Our families were so merged that there was no such thing as in-law.  We were there for each other when we each lost our remaining grandmother, our parents, his only brother and my oldest brother, a niece and nephew, two brothers-in-law and most recently his two sisters, the oldest and youngest, Janice and Marsha.  We shed a lot of tears and shared a lot of grief through those years.

However, we shared a lot of happiness, all of which are just memories now.

Jess worked in the mines for a few years but went to work at the Kentucky Department of Transportation, or as he called it, the state highway department.  He retired at almost age sixty due to heart problems, later he would defeat colon cancer but would lose his battle to lung cancer shortly before his seventieth birthday.

Why is it that you never truly realize the measure of a person's worth until they are gone?  I think Jess knew how much his family loved him and depended on him.....he is a part of us.......he will live on in our hearts for as long as each of us are alive....we will remember his laughter, the funny things he said and done, and the common sense that he taught each of us.....but most of all, we will always feel the love he had for each of us.....his family.  We love and honor this wonderful man........PAP.