Edward H

My grandfather is a "foundation Hero" in my life and my family’s lives. He told me many, many truths and two of these I will share with you.

He said, "The most valuable gift anyone can give you is an introduction to a truly good person."

He said, "The most valuable material thing you will ever own is your name."

My grandfather dressed for dinner, forgave with grace, owned his mistakes, loved his family, his friends, his neighbors, his colleagues and his country.

He was the last of eight children. The first four of his siblings were born in Germany. The next three siblings and my grandfather were born in America. His father and mother (my great-grandfather and great-grandmother) were German immigrants who settled in Akron, Ohio. My grandfather was not a hyphenated German-American or European-American. He was an American who served his country as a soldier and, after years of study and sacrifice, as a circuit judge.

He enjoyed smoking fine cigars for years. An ash from his cigar accidentally dropped once too close to one of his four grandchildren. He never smoked again.

He was an honest practitioner of law in Akron and welcomed his son, Edward, to his practice after Edward, Jr. had spent years in night school to finish his law degree. Edward, Jr. passed his Ohio State Bar Exam with the second highest score.

My grandfather was called to the judicial bench and left his lucrative practice to serve.

His son, Edward Jr., now well into his eighties, still practices law, and mediates issues for the Ohio State Universities.

My grandfather was a thirty-second degree mason who helped countless people in countless ways. He was a prodigal (lavish) giver to the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. He was a registered republican but did not judge people for their political party affiliation. He realized that bad apples find their way to both parties and it is always the good apples in either party that expose them. He swore by our Constitution and its founders. He had a relationship with God that many people aspired to copy. He was a man at peace. He is my Hero because all of the threads of his goodness clothed him in a way that was contagious and so very positive – certainly to me.

His words echo in my ear wherever I live. California, New York, Georgia, Italy, - U.C. Berkeley, Columbia University, San Francisco, NYC’s upper west side, Atlanta, Florence – were all very different places and cultures. I stayed the same. I honored my grandfather and I honored my name. I honored all of the introductions to truly good people. Sometimes I refused to fit in and by doing so I have looked back with gratitude for having been given such sound and gracious direction. I served as treasurer and then president of my college at Columbia, worked for Morgan Stanley, founded three companies, taught English in high school and have been blessed with the opportunity to be a wife to a husband with whom I fall in love every day and a mother to children whom I love every day. Without my grandfather’s example I might not understand how to appreciate such profound blessings.

His words echo in my daughter's ear, his great-granddaughter, Campbell. I told her exactly what my grandfather told me. In fact it was our yearbook tribute to her when she graduated from eighth grade. She is a graduating senior this year. We enthusiastically moved from San Francisco because Campbell’s first choice was a wonderful school in Atlanta, GA. A straight A student all her life and a person who is “normal” and funny to boot, Campbell now has a 98.7 GPA, she is president of her class of 2010, captain of her rowing team, editor in chief of the school magazine, “Embryo,” and managed to achieve scores of 800 on her SATs. I tell you this because she is the legacy of my grandfather’s heroic life, his work and his words.

My husband and I live like my grandfather did, she and her siblings live like we do. I give God and then my grandfather the praise.

Dunwreath Swanson
Atlanta, Georgia

Submitted by Anonymous


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