Ahead Of His Time
Photograph - Photograph
A portrait of my most beloved "Bop" who truly was a man "Ahead Of His Time." He ran away from home at the age of 13 when his widowed father remarried a woman who did not want him in the house. He survived his early years fighting as a featherweight boxer, pretending to be older than he was in order to enter pursed matches. He lived through the great depression, supporting his wife (my "Nonnie"), by personally contacting the local police and fire departments in his city and showing them his own designs and samples for a more cost effective, quality alternative to the uniforms they wore at that time. Then he set up his own manufacturing plant to produce them in quantity! Later in his career, as an executive supervisor in the garment industry, Bop was the first to hire African Americans at a time when it was still a very controversial act. He met the ensuing criticism for his actions with his usual evenness and good temper, finally neutralizing the objections of others. He met my grandmother at a dance hall, went home to meet her parents that first night, and their marriage of 68 years commenced when they married 3 weeks later. The son and grandson of inventors, Bop invented a machine that could measure the stretch in stretch fabrics while working for the White Stag Company. This device saved thousands and thousands of dollars by allowing manufacturers to correctly assess how much fabric was needed in sportswear designs made from stretch fabrics for items such as ski wear. Bop was one of the most honorable, kind, and loving men I have ever known. He traveled the world and was not only admired for his fabulous problem solving skills, but was truly loved for his amazing ability to treat others with unfailing respect and good will. He showered me and the rest of our family with a love that never faltered and had an uncanny ability to calm both people and animals in stressful circumstances. Bop passed away when he was nearly 98 years old...three weeks after my grandmother died. Like the gentle and courteous man that he always had been, he waited for her to go first, but did not want to live in a world that was without her.
September 15th, 2012
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