After nearly 87 years of life in which my dad served in the United States Air Force and Marines, was a tenured educator, and also excelled at being one hell of a grandparent to both of my children, he passed away at St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center one week ago. The six days proceeding his death are a blur right now, but I have to acknowledge some of the actions by some southern Idaho professionals that helped my family and I get through the early stages of grieving.

I knew when I read the missed calls from that familiar St. Luke's phone number what had happened. The voice message left by one of the doctors confirmed my fear. My dad died from cardiac arrest in the early hours of President's Day while being prepared to have an ambulance transport him to Boise to have a permanent pacemaker put in.

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My father served his country in both the U.S. Air Force and Marines for nearly a decade, including a long stint in Vietnam. He was a Purple Heart recipient and suffered 60 percent hearing loss after an explosion that killed a few of his comrades. He never considered himself a hero of any kind.

Parke's Magic Valley Funeral Home handled his service Thursday evening. They presented the flag to my daughter and fired rifles from the parking lot. I couldn't have asked for a more respectable, professionally executed memorial. One of the St. Luke's staffers even delivered the possessions my dad had on him at the hospital when he passed away to the funeral home as the snow fell.

My father was laid to rest at the Snake River National Cemetary in Buhl. His plot will receive a specially engraved, military headstone in the coming weeks.

I want to also thank the care staff at Bridgeview Estates in Twin Falls. Several of their employees showed up at the service to offer their condolences and say goodbye to my dad. He was a resident in the independent living wing of the facility for about four years.

Thank you to the nurses and doctors at St. Luke's Magic Valley for doing everything in their power to comfort my dad in his final hours and minutes, and to the staff at Parke's Magic Valley Funeral Home for the amazing send-off into the afterlife. May God bless you all.

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