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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Holyoak

Father's Day is coming . . .

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

I am thankful for the opportunity each year to acknowledge fathers, grandfathers and father figures we have known throughout our lives. Whether our fathers are still living or have passed on, they are not forgotten and Father's Day is a day we should never forget to celebrate.

The first Father's Day celebrations took place over 100 years ago in1908 when a church in West Virginia honored 362 men who were killed the previous year in a coal mining explosion.

Since Mother's Day was already being celebrated, a young woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, decided that fathers should also be honored. Why? At the age of 16, her mother died while giving birth to her sixth child. Her father was devoted to his children and stepped into the role of both parents, raising his children by himself. Any parent would say this was a tremendous feat so Sonora felt if mothers could be honored, why not fathers?

In 1909, Sonoma approached the Spokane YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and it was decided the first Father's Day would be observed June 19, 1910 in the State of Washington. The idea of officially celebrating fatherhood spread quickly across the United States and more and more states adopted the holiday. Through the years, various presidents recognized the third Sunday in June to recognize fathers and in 1956 Congress officially recognized it as a day to be observed.

Sonora Smart Dodd lived to see her idea come to fruition as a national holiday and died in 1978 at the ripe old age of 96.

This year, despite social distancing measures, Father’s Day will be celebrated by families

all around the world on Sunday, June 20.

My father, Sylvan B. Wood, and I were very close. He gave me one of the greatest gifts: he believed in me and because he did, I learned to believe in myself. He taught me the importance of prayer and that if we ask in faith and learn to listen to promptings, we can receive guidance from a loving Father in Heaven. Because of his great faith, I never questioned my own and I learned that I had not only a father on earth but also one in Heaven. My father was known as an honest, hard-working man who was always lending a helping hand to anyone in need. He was still working up to 14 hours each day until his death at age 73, the result of a homicide.

My wonderful father before his death, 1981.

My grandfather, Benjamin J. Wood, also played a very important role in my life. He and my grandmother lived in Cardston, Alberta, Canada and each summer they came to visit us and our extended family in Boise, Idaho. We always looked forward to their visits and from a very young age I learned so much from G'pa Benjamin. The name. Benjamin, comes from the Old Testament of the Bible and in Hebrew means “son of the right hand.” Benjamin we know in the Bible was the youngest of Jacob's twelve sons. I am proud to say that we also have a grandson named Benjamin who will soon turn twelve so I am happy that name carries on in our family.

When I was a teenager, G'pa wrote me a beautiful letter giving me advice about how to live my life as I grew into womanhood. It was inspiring, gave me great comfort and became one of my most prized possessions, especially after he passed. I always smile when I think of him. He was a a gentle, soft-spoken man I adored.

Anne Geddes said, "Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to father."

I respected my father and grandfather so much I wanted to make them proud and tried my best to make them proud as I followed their examples.

Bubba Watson said, "My dad’s not here, but he’s watching in heaven," and I truly believe that.

Many years ago, "Papa Larry" (as I adoringly called him) and I wrote a song for Father's Day entitled "My Wonderful Dad."

Papa Larry Lee

Click the photo below then click the link to listen to the sweet voices of young children.

I am thankful for a wonderful father-in-law, John L Holyoak. I'll always remember his jovial laugh, his loving ways and his hairy thumb where the skin had been grafted from his chest after a farming accident. He made me feel loved and welcomed into the family when I married his son, Garth.

My father-in-law, John Holyoak

Antoine Francois Prevost beautifully expresses that , "The heart of the father is the masterpiece of nature."

My husband, Garth W. Holyoak

I am also thankful for a wonderful husband who has fathered our four daughters. He has been a great example to our family as he has encouraged our daughters to work hard, play hard, appreciate nature and the importance of a good education. Our daughters are married to great husbands whom I/we respect and love.

Garth and our first daughter, Heather. (1973 in Chicago)

This past year has been a challenge as we have social distanced in the effort to stay healthy amidst the pandemic. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who loves me and gives me strength to carry on; this knowledge has buoyed me up throughout my life. Now I would like to share "He Strengthens Me," another song "Papa Larry" and I wrote which has become even more popular during the covid pandemic.

Follow the words as you listen:

When my burdens are heavy and so hard to bear, I pray for help on my knees.

In a part of my heart there's that certain spark that lifts and strengthens me.

When there's no shelter from storms in my life, my mind is clouded with fear.

In part of my heart there's a certain spark and darkness disappears.

The spark in my heart, the light of Christ, opens my eyes to see and

gives me the strength in the One above who lifts and strengthens me.

I know that my Savior has given His light and left me His legacy.

In part of my heart it became the spark to lift and strengthen me.

I live in the light and it fills me with joy to travel the path He has shown.

He cast out the spark with that certain spark so no one walks alone.

The spark in my heart, the light of Christ, opens my eyes to see and

gives me the strength in the One above who lifts and strengthens me.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you are a father and reading this, I wish you the best of all Father's Days. If you are not a father,

please take the time to plan something special for a father you know or do something kind in memory or a father you have loved.

In closing, click the banner below to listen a computerized mp3 file of my piano arrangement of

"O My Father".

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Jean Holyoak
Jean Holyoak

It's beautiful Kathy! We've been in Idaho for the last 3 weeks. I really enjoyed your tributes and your song! You have some very special gifts!!

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