January 27, 2015, Prescott- Pop would have been 91 today. That he made it to 90 years, 4 months and 10 days, before returning to the Spirit Realm, last year, was the prime force of his indomitable will. He showed his Nazi captors, various other bullies throughout his life, and all of us who came to be his trusted circle of family and friends just how adversity ought to be handled.
The Universe gave that man’s man three girls to raise. He gave that task his all, as any father worthy of the name, would have. All three, two of whom are twins, were unique individuals, and Pop played to their strengths, challenged their weaknesses and gave them a secure framework for growing into women of achievement. His eldest, my late wife, Penny, achieved three Master’s Degrees, a thirty-year career as a classroom teacher and showed her own triumph in dealing with a lifelong illness, which only brought her down after she had made her mark and touched the lives of hundreds of young people, across the globe. Her sisters have worked hard and proven themselves indispensable in their respective businesses- which have run the gamut from telecommunications to equestrian training.
Horses were, in fact, central to the Fellman family’s life. Riding, both English and Western, was a family trademark, and was one of the endeavours that brought Norm back from his end-of-war near-death status. That, and the equally indomitable will of his wife of 65 years, gave him the lease on life that made his influence on so many of us, such a force of nature. He was a pilot and a motorcyclist, which the ladies respectfully declined to take up for themselves. Horses, dogs and cats, though, remain essential- and Pop was never without at least one of the three within calling distance. He imparted that love of animals to his daughters, and none of their houses have been without pets.
Men are indispensable to their girls. Both parents are indispensable to all of their children. I never had the honour of raising a daughter, but as a proud parent of a an American sailor, I would be fully engaged in the lives of any grandchildren he may sire, in the future. Norman David Fellman set that mold, both as a father and grandfather. His pride in each of his girls was infectious, in the best of ways. The mold will not be broken.