My Father’s Legacy How Dad Shaped My Priorities and Influenced My Career www.LeRoyPetersonLaw.com 402-718-8888 November 2019
It’s amazing the amount of clarity you have when confronted with the reality of losing someone you love. This November marks 20 years since my father passed away. My dad exemplified diligence and hard work and was a huge advocate for education. And luckily, before he passed, my dad gave his family some valuable life lessons. It was on Christmas Day of 1998 when we found out my dad was sick. To make the most of our time, we went back to Kearney to visit my dad as often as we could in hopes of creating memories of my dad for my daughters. At the time, my daughters were 5 and 2, so it was a stretch, but we made the most of those moments. It meant the world to me to see my dad interact with his granddaughters, since family was everything to him. Throughout his life, my father taught us the importance of family and lived by those lessons. Dad would do anything to take care of us and make our lives easier. He grew up during The Great Depression and only had the opportunity to graduate high school. He appreciated the value of education, but with the slim resources available to him at the time, high school was the highest level of education he gained. He knew knowledge meant opportunity, so a good education was nonnegotiable for his family. After my brothers and I were old enough, Dad encouraged my mother to go back to school to gain her bachelor’s degree in education and teaching certificate. This may not sound unusual today, but back in 1975, there weren’t any farm wives (with a family at home) who were going back to college, but we did things differently in my family. Our mother did in fact graduate with her bachelor’s degree and enjoyed a nice career as school teacher. My older brother, Larry, attained his Ph.D. in computer science and spent a good portion of his career as a professor at Princeton University. My younger brother, Les, received his business administration degree and an advanced banking degree from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and is the senior vice president and chief lending officer for a bank in Kansas City. I had the opportunity to gain my law degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Everyone has a legacy of some sort that they leave behind; teaching us the value of education and encouraging us to pursue it was definitely my dad’s legacy. Many doors have opened for us because of it, and we will forever be grateful to him. My dad has been a driving influence in my life, and his last instructions were to make sure our mom was taken care of. It’s ironic how his desire to make sure Mom was protected was, in a way, the foundation for the work I do — to help my clients plan for their futures and take whatever steps necessary to protect their families. In a sense, I pursue this career and
business in honor of my dad, because I know the root of my desire to help my clients plan and protect their families’ futures comes from him. “Dad would do anything to take care of us and make our lives easier.” Through my dad’s last year with us, he also taught us one last thing: to appreciate the special moments. In that final year, he was determined to make it to his 80th birthday and his 45th wedding anniversary with Mom,
and we were fortunate enough to celebrate both milestones as a family. So, when you can, appreciate the special moments with your family, especially this Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
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