As many of you have already heard, my father died late on Wednesday night after falling down the stairs in his home. His sudden departure really hurts. I have so many things I want to say about him that I don't know where to start, but I am going to give it a try.
He didn't like the limelight, but seemed to thrive on taking pictures of it. My home and those of many of my friends are filled with his pictures. He captured images of people as they were, not as they wanted to appear for the camera. He wasn't shy about telling people to “get that shit eating grin off your face."
He loved a party, and while there were rare occasions where he would be the life of the party (he never liked being the center of attention) he thrived on being the host. It wasn't unusual for him to have three cocktail parties or fundraisers at his house in a given week.
He cared deeply about people, and that is how he started the Los Gatos Social Club. Pat O’Lauglin was a lifelong friend. Pat was suffering from a very debilitating disease, so my father would get together with him and Michael Kilkenny for cocktails and dinner at The Cats every Wednesday night.
As time went on, more and more people would be invited to join them. While the original purpose was to help a friend in need, it morphed into an excuse for him to have his friends over for cocktails and then trek on up to The Cats for a steak. After several years, Pat passed away, and a new goal emerged, “to make Wednesday the funnest day of the week.”
The Social Club was a huge win for my father. He now had a party every Wednesday, he had a forum for creating a party for every occasion (Halloween, Super Bowl, etc.), and it gave him an opportunity to show off his writing skills. His biweekly emails about upcoming social club events were fun, witty reads, littered with inappropriate humor and pictures of everyone having fun. He loved writing them.
My Father enjoyed politics, and while he wasn't shy about blasting the Democratic Party for this or that, it never stopped him from supporting the candidate that he thought was going to do the most good for the community.
He told me that he and Representative Eshoo closed Chicago Steak and Fish that night, talking long past everyone else’s departure.
He cared deeply about his family. His grandchildren were the apple of his eye. Grandpa’s house was filled with candy, all of it bowls that can be reached by any child old enough to walk. While he was always a happy person, the joy on his face as he was spoiling the girls was unmatched. As much as he loved throwing a party, I know that he loved taking them to Powell’s and giving them presents even more.
His love for Dennise was obvious to us all. A woman who shares his passion for giving to others and caring for the community, she has dedicated most of her life to starting and growing nonprofits. She is probably the only person on the planet willing and capable of being the hostess as often as he wanted to be the host. She brought tremendous joy to my father’s life, and words will never express the feelings of gratitude and love that I feel for her.
My father believed that the essence of a good party was good food and libation. I was not. His food was fantastic, and he did it for years in a kitchen that didn’t seem big enough to cook for eight, never mind the 60 plus people that were a regular event at 45 Broadway.
Libation was never in short supply, his Famous Manhattans were the hit of so many parties. The recipe can be found here.
I know he would love it if everyone reading this would invite their friends and neighbors over and make themselves a big batch of Manhattans. I know I will be having many of them in his name over the coming years.
My family truly appreciates the outpouring of love from the community.
There will be a service in his honor in the Mission Church at Santa Clara University at 11 a.m. April 6.