Loss of a Loved One

Jack Jungroth and daughter Cathryn Peters 2011
Dad and Me June 1, 2011

As some of you know, my father, Jack Jungroth from Oklahoma City, OK passed away on Tuesday, June 7th around 10 p.m. He died peacefully at the age of 81, sitting in front of his computer watching a slideshow of family pictures I had just downloaded to his computer.

Thankfully I was able to be there visiting with him from May 28th until June 7th. I had just flown home that afternoon, landing in Minneapolis around 7 p.m. and was planning a visit with our son, daughter-in-law and the two grandsons before driving the rest of the way home to Angora, a four-hour drive.

Then at 11 p.m. one of my brothers that lives near Mom and Dad, called to say dad had passed. We were all very, very surprised and shocked with the news. He requested there be no funeral or memorial service, but that he be remembered at the next Jungroth Family reunion!

I am so grateful that I was able to be with him and visit for one last time and also solve some computer problems he had. I also downloaded and organized some pictures on the computer and visited with him and an old friend of his that I had only communicated with by email. My oldest brother from California was also able to spend about a week there in OKC last month, so that was good too.

On that Tuesday morning, Mom, Dad, one of my brothers and myself had been to Dad’s doctor appointment, where everything seemed alright. He was not in the best of health with congestive heart disease, kidney failure, thyroid problems, pneumonia and high blood pressure. But even the doctors were shocked when they heard about Dad’s death, not expecting him to die so soon, especially since the GP just saw him that morning.

After the appointment we all went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a really nice meal, then they took me to the airport to see me off to Minnesota and went home themselves. Dad and I had been sitting in the back seat during the ride to the airport so he was telling me about all the new construction going on all over Oklahoma City, pointing out some of the familiar places that I frequented while living there in the late 1960s.

Dad’s normal evening routine was to check his emails and surf around a bit on the Net before watching the evening news and then going to bed. So at around 10 mom went into the computer room to tell him to come watch the news. But dad had already passed away sitting in front of the computer in the chair with his hands folded in his lap, looking like he was simply sleeping.

This was exactly the way he wanted to leave this earth, quickly, quietly and peacefully without lingering in a hospital or nursing home and without enduring pain. I like to think that it was simply his chosen time to depart, especially since he had tied up all loose ends financially and health-wise, had visited with old friends and had seen all his four kids within the last few days of his life.

His cardiologist was suggesting aortic valve replacement surgery once the pneumonia was cleared up, but Dad didn’t want any part of more surgery, especially after quintuple bypass in the 1990s. So this was a good way for him to go.

My dad’s passing was very similar to the way his own father passed away, sitting in a beach chair while salmon fishing from shore. Fishermen down the shoreline thought Grandpa was just tired and went to sit down in the chair, it wasn’t until later on that they realized he had died. But he was doing something he really loved, fishing–what a nice way to go, don’t you think?

God bless you and keep you Dad, you will be sorely missed by your family and friends. There’s no one that can take your place, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the lessons learned, good and bad.

You always encouraged me to be the best at whatever I loved and to follow my heart. You instilled in me a love and confidence to perform in front of an audience, no matter how big or how small, whether through singing, teaching or speaking engagements.

It’s also because of you and the “tricks of the trade” lessons you taught me that I enjoy public relations and promotion as much as I do. Knowing that I can do anything I set my mind to and to go after it, is a wonderful quality to pass on to your children.

I sure will miss the almost daily early morning phone calls from him asking, “Anything new up there?” and in the winter, “What’s the weather like, is it cold enough for you yet?” and on Sundays, “Are you watching Sunday Morning, they have a really great segment coming up?”

Big highlights in my father’s life were his love for and performances in barbershop quartet singing, the Scottish Clans of Shaw and Campbell, border collies, horses, Oklahoma Horse Council, the OKC computer club and genealogy. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, but these are the really big ones I remember him enjoying for years.

Thank you, thank you, thank you dad I’m eternally grateful to have chosen you as my father! Please greet all those family members that have gone before you, we will all be reunited soon for another round!

25 thoughts on “Loss of a Loved One”

  1. Jack was a great man and a really good friend. I met Jack in 2007 when we put our tower by his house. He was always letting me know of anything that seemed wrong. What a great Man he was.
    Dennis Orcutt

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read the “obituary” for my dad here on my blog and to leave your comment. Have to relate a kinda funny thing regarding that tower you guys put up. He would call me every day from OK to MN and give me blow-by-blow accounts of your progress! It was just too funny to listen to him go on about that tower! Think he was driving mom crazy! Take care and thanks again for writing.

  2. Cathryn and friends/family of Jack,
    Jack was a great barbershopper friend and apparently had a LOT of barbershop history that I did not know about, which is just like Jack not to brag or boast.
    He could NOT tolerate quartet or chorus singing that was even slightly out of tune and I believe he passed on to me his habit of raising one shoulder during a performance or rehearsal to signify that someone (leads?) needed to push their pitch up a bit to get the chords to ring like they are supposed to!!!
    The best parting tribute for Jack was the fact that the quartet he coached for the Music Central show sang VERY well AND in tune and did a great job.
    If there is a barbershop chorus in heaven, it just got a lot better down there in the baritone section!

    1. Thanks so much for posting those very kind words about my father, Del, I’m sure he’s hearing every word from above! He’d be honored to know that he was of such help to all you guys and especially the quartet he coached. May you all continue to spread the joy of barbershop quartet singing in America!

  3. Cathryn, so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing.What a wonderful tribute to your Dad. I lost my Dad 10 years ago to cancer. Our fathers have such an influence on us, they are the first man in our lives. I am so glad you had an awesome one too! My prayers for comfort and peace for you and your family. Let your memories comfort you.Ruth

  4. Cathryn, I am sorry to hear about your loss. Your tribute shows how much you have gained from your father in your life. I’m glad for you that you had him and that you had just spent time with him. Thank you for sharing it with all of us, even those of us who haven’t met you personally yet. I pray you keep finding comfort and support.

  5. Dolores (Lola) Coleman

    Thank you again for letting me know about your Dad. We’re so sorry to hear of his passing. I was there when he had his surgery in Calif. He and your Mom came to my husband Ray’s military retirement here in San Antonio. His memory lives on, he was a wonderful man. Ray and Dolores Coleman

  6. Your Dad was very much responsible for the fate of the Gotland Ponies in North America-he was a wonderful man and will be sorely missed.Our deepest condolences to all of your family. Sincerly,
    Gloria Piluso
    Gotlandruss Pony Preservation
    Society, Glen Saint Mary, Fl

    1. Gloria,

      How nice of you to send your condolences for my dad’s passing. He was very proud to have been so instrumental in establishing the Gotland Pony group going here in the States, and was always showing me pictures, articles and telling me about the members and their horses. If you ever make a note of his passing in your newsletters, please send a copy to either me or my mom for our scrapbook. I will pass on your message to my mother and brothers. Cathryn

  7. Larry & Connie Whisler

    We are sorry to hear of Jack’s passing. I had just forwarded an eamail before I got the this one with the new. Please tell Phylis that all of you are in our prayers and I will miss trading emails with Jack………………….

  8. Oh, Cathryn, I am so sorry for your loss. I can feel you love for him expressed through your words. Sounds like he was a wonderful man. I am very thankful, though, that you were able to be with him during his final days.

  9. Both Jack & Phyllis and I go back over seventy years.I’m writing this in the mountains of Idaho and don’t know if I can send this.

    I will write much more later when we return of vacation but Jack was one of the best friends a man could have. I truly loved the guy. Much more later.

    Carl

  10. Cathryn, I am so sorry for your loss. The picture of the two of you is precious, and I am sure you will hold that dear to your heart. I am so glad that you got to spend those days with him. God bless you and all of your family.
    Jan

  11. Great Memorial for your Dad sorry to hear about his passing You can bet he will be remembered at any Jungroth reunion. His memory will always be with me

    1. Tom,

      Dad sure did love the family genealogy work that he did over the years and was happy to get the updates in person at the last reunion. He was really sorry your mom and dad weren’t there though. He was really close to his cousins, Bun and Dorothy.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful last days with your father. What a fantastic memory you will have until you meet again.

  13. Emilie Springer

    Cathryn,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your beautiful words for your father touched me deeply. You’re a lucky person to have had him in your life. Take care.
    Emilie

  14. sandy and vance

    I’m so sad to hear abourt your Dad
    He will be missed alot. We will
    make the family reunion a day for
    him. Do you think your brothers
    and Mother would beable to come?

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