Last of a Kind
Peter Domelle 1915-2015
by: Allen Domelle
This past Monday, Peter Domelle, my grandfather, went home to be with the LORD. He was one of the people who greatly influenced my life. He lived to the golden age of 100, and was part of the generation that is called the greatest generation.
His generation was a last of a kind. His generation faced both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and both wars in the Middle East. They knew what it meant to bury their loved ones and care for those who came back with scars from each war. They endured the Great Depression and learned the importance of saving for a rainy day. They lived simply, and most of that generation never had their hand out expecting their nation to do something for them; rather, they asked what they could do for their nation. My grandfather was a part of the last of a kind generation.
If you were to ask every one of my grandfather’s grandkids about one memory, each would bring up a 1937 Farmall tractor that he kept in their barn. Whenever any of the grandchildren would go to visit them at their farm house, he would eventually take us out to the old red tractor, literally crank it to start it, and then have the grandkids sit on his lap as we rode around the farm enjoying the ride. That Farmall tractor was just like my grandfather, a last of a kind. Just like that ride on the Farmall tractor will always be remembered and missed, so will my grandfather be fondly remembered and greatly missed.
The Bible says in Romans 13:7, “…honour to whom honour…” In other words, those who deserve the honor should be honored. The Scriptures also ask in Proverbs 20:6, “…but a faithful man who can find?” My grandfather certainly is worthy of both of those verses being dedicated to his life. A few things stand out to me about my grandfather that I believe this generation desperately needs to remember and copy.
First, he understood the words, “Till death do us part.” He and my grandmother were married for 72 years before she passed. He told me on several occasions that they made a vow to each other and to God, and that no matter what they faced, they determined to stay married until death. In a day when people look to divorce as the easy way out, my grandfather and his generation understood the importance of marriage. They knew that marriage was between a man and a woman, and never questioned that definition for anything else was absurd. They understood the impact that marriage has on the family unit, and they understood the importance that the family unit has on the society. I’m thankful that I had grandparents who loved each other enough to be faithful to each other, and forsake all others so that future generations could look back and see the importance of the marriage vow and institution.
Second, my grandfather gave me a heritage of hard work. He not only worked in the steel mills in the Chicagoland region for 40 years, but he also farmed his land to pay the bills. In a day when hard work is rare, I’m thankful for my grandfather who gave me an example of hard work. His generation didn’t look for an easier way, they just found a way to make it work. Instead of running to the government with hand out, they lived simply, pinched pennies, worked hard and found ways to make money so the bills could be paid. They never complained about the simplicity of their lifestyle, it was just how they lived. It was that hard working mentality that paved the way for the generations to come to enjoy the pleasantries we enjoy today.
Third, my grandfather also gave me an example of enjoying family. We live in times when people get so busy that they often times forget to spend time with those nearest to them. One of my memories of my grandparents is always seeing them together. They were busy, but they were not too busy for each other. They loved their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. They often traveled to wherever we lived so they could spend time with us. They truly enjoyed the life that God had given to them. Instead of getting busy with extra-curricular activities that pulled them away from family, they always found time to spend time with their family, and they always did things together as husband and wife.
My grandfather will be sorely missed, as he is that last of a kind generation that I could always go to for a reminder of what America used to be when she was that one nation under God. I’m thankful that the Lord allowed me to enjoy him for so long, but would you let his life influence you in these three areas? You only have one life to live, and if you will follow these three things you will find that you will leave behind a great example for future generations to live up to just as my grandfather did.