Thursday, January 27, 2011

10 Things About Denver

Today is the ten year anniversary of the plane crash that killed my Uncle Denver as well as nine other men. Denver was the pilot of the plane that went down in Colorado that cold January night. He was flying members of the Oklahoma State University men's basketball team, staff, and local news media back home after a game. It was a shock not only to our family, but to the entire state and even the nation. I will never forget that night or the days that followed. I have so many cherished memories of my uncle and his family. Christmases, Thanksgiving meals, and numerous summers spent swimming in the pool in his backyard with my cousins, just to name a few.

Denver married my mom's sister, Lindell, in 1967. He and my aunt had three children, my cousins Kathryn, Deborah and David. In birth order, I came along in between Deborah and David, so the four of us are pretty close. Growing up our families vacationed together, celebrated every holiday together and spent plenty of time just hanging out with each other. Since I don't have any siblings, I always saw my cousins as such. We always had a great time together.

In honor of the tenth anniversary of that fateful night, here are ten things/memories I have about my uncle:

1. He loved to fly. Denver was a CPA, but his passion was flying. He took me and my family up in an airplane numerous times over the years. One time, when my parents and I were living in Texas, our small town experienced a major flood. Before the flood waters were too bad, Denver flew down to pick us up and take us to safety.

2. He and I (and my other uncle John) always celebrated our birthdays together. My uncle John's birthday is January 30th, Denver's is the 31st and mine is February 3rd. I have several pictures of the three of us blowing out candles together at our family dinners.

3. He was very generous. Beyond being financially generous, he was generous with his time. When I was in high school, I went to start my car one morning only to find that the battery was dead. My parents were already gone for the day, and I was a sophomore and didn't know how to give it a jump. So I called my uncle and he came right over. He was always willing to help.

4. He (like my own dad) was smart. He knew a lot about a lot of things.

5. He was funny. I remember that he usually had a joke on hand or a funny story. He always seemed to have a smile on his face.

6. He was a hard worker and always provided for his family.

7. When my cousins and I were younger, he would always get down on the floor and play with us or chase us. I thought he was pretty cool for that.

8. One of my earliest memories is from when I stayed with my aunt and uncle during the week that my dad ran the Boston Marathon. I was five, and as much as I missed my parents, it felt like I was right at home with them.

9. Denver loved his family. It was incredibly obvious. He loved his wife, and he beamed with pride when he spoke of his three children. He was a very loving father to them.

10. He loved God, and his life reflected it in all areas. He and my aunt both spent many hours volunteering at our church and hosting the youth group at their home. His faith was important to him.

It was neat to see Denver and the rest of the "OSU TEN" remembered at last night's basketball game. They truly will never be forgotten.


affectioknit said...

What a sweet post about your beloved uncle...Requiesce in pace...

Jacquelyn said...

Very sweet post, sister.

Maria Rose said...

Lovely way to honor a special man.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Em for your sweet thoughts about my dad. Love you, K