It is with a heavy heart that I have the opportunity to speak with you today about the life of my Dad, Dick Baus.
I want to thank family and friends, both old and new, who have been there for support and many rides to Buffalo during this difficult time. Paster Rick. Busti Fire Department. Hospice Chautauqua County.
Also my mom who sat by his side unfailingly throughout this process. Even nights when I myself needed a break.
When I think of my Dad, I remember a man who would not back down from adversity. He confronted it. When faced with one of the most unpopular wars in our country’s history, he did not run. He enlisted. When orders were read alphabetically by last name:
Abrahams .. Saigon
Adams .. Saigon
Anderson .. Saigon
Baus .. Saigon
his fate was determined and he accepted it. He served as an MP for the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
But as fortunate would have it, when he returned from war he was stationed in California, on veteran’s day 1968, he met the love of his life, Kathy.
In the 70s, when faced with financial crisis, a half finished house, a wife and two young kids, he didn’t hand the keys back to the bank, or spend his days in a bar in self pity. He persevered. He did what he had to, to build the best life he could for his family, even if that meant sacrificing his own goals, his desires, and sometimes happiness.
Not everything worked out as he planned, as it rarely does in life, but his family always came first. There was no question in his mind that it was the right thing to do.
I will not use the term ‘battle’ to describe the illness my dad faced late in his life. I don’t think he saw his time with cancer as a battle, but as another one of life’s challenges that he would confront.
When his treatments went awry and sent him into the ICU, the day he was released from the hospital he went to work. To quote our friend Andrew Danielson, ‘The news of Dick Baus’s impending death has been greatly exaggerated. I just saw him mowing the lawn.’
While I personally seek peace from life’s problems in the mountains around my home in the High Sierra, my Dad found solace on a John Deere tractor. If the lawn was freshly mowed everything would be ok.
My father was a forward looking person. At the dawn of the PC era, he didn’t see computers as toys, but as tools that would eventually change the way work is done.
He brought home our first computer and gave it to us with the manual and the belief that we’d somehow figure out. Little could he have known that would lead to the livelihood and many opportunities for both of his children.
Even after his illness had affected his ability to reason, he very rationally decided when his time had come. But he was never scared, and was most concerned that we agreed with his decision, and that we’d be ok. He didn’t give up, he accepted his fate a knew he would never be happy with a life sustained by machines.
I was fortunate to spend more time with my Dad in the past year than I have in the past twenty. Through this experience I’ve learned some life lessons, but none as important as the appreciation of the short, ephemeral nature of life itself.
70 years a brother.
45 years a husband.
41 years a father.
6 years a grandfather.
Many years a friend.
It is never enough time.
While my dad would not appreciate using this knowledge as an excuse to ignore his belief in a honest day’s work, in retrospect I think he would agree to moderation in life. To enjoying everyday. And to not assuming there will be more time.
I thank my dad for instilling a strong moral ethic into myself and my brother Jeremy and for always supporting our endeavors. I only can only wish to be as strong of man as he was. He set an example for self improvement in my own life. I’m proud to call Dick my father. He will be greatly missed.