My Favorite Aunt

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. (Desmond Tutu)

This past week, while I was in the middle of recovering from surgery, and the day after my family celebrated my daughter's 2nd birthday, I learned of the death of my Aunt Mary, the eldest of my Mom's sisters.

Maryanne Newman / Hafner

Aunt Mary and her family have hosted almost every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas family gathering at their house, and were always gracious and loving hosts. Through these parties I grew in my bond with the rest of my extended family. But our bonds are deeper than most; starting with Grandpa Charlie and his beautiful wife (who's still with us!), then passed on through their wonderful daughters, the connection and love that my extended family shares is extraordinary.

Farewell, Grandpa Charlie

Less than two years ago, my family said farewell to Grandpa Geerling. Just a few days ago, my Grandfather on my mother's side passed away.

Grandpa Charlie

He was a humble man. Grandpa won't be mentioned in history books. He didn't do anything incredible in the world's eyes, but he was a great family man and role model.

Grandpa helped my Grandma (who is a saintly woman in her own right, and still with us, thanks be to God!) raise six girls in a modest home, with a modest sheet metal worker's salary. I can only imagine what it must've been like to come home to a wife and six lively daughters every day!

He also helped care for Nana, my great grandmother, for many years. She was another beautiful woman, though I only knew her for a short time (mostly through baking chocolate chip cookies with her!).

This Bud's for You, Grandpa

My Grandpa Geerling was a very ordinary man. He lived in a simple split-level with a loving wife, and raised nine children while working at a union job.

He loved golf, he loved tools, he loved his children, grandchildren, and more recently, great grandchildren. He had a strong faith that he proclaimed in word and deed throughout his life to all his friends and family—even especially when they needed it most.

He drank Bud Light, and always had golf, racing, football, baseball, or hockey on the TV—unless his team was losing.

His name won't be in any songs, nor will he have a page remembering him on Wikipedia. The world won't remember him—but he didn't have his eyes set on worldly recognition.

My grandparents, dancing


As many of my colleagues mourn the death of a great tech icon, Steve Jobs, I pray for his soul, and hope (sincerely) that he makes it to Heaven. For all his flaws, he was a good neighbor, an optimist, a great strategist, an opponent of pornography, and he built up the tech industry in ways the future history books will show.

Steve Jobs

Much of my life has been lived along with products created or conceived by Steve himself (see my ongoing computing history here), and my current profession would be nowhere near as interesting as it is without his continual push towards extending the reach of technology into my life.

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