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gunn family blog » Memories of Grandpa Doug

Memories of Grandpa Doug

In Lieu of presents, my Grandma asked us instead to write down a few memories of my Grandpa Doug who died of Cancer in 2001.

DOug Gunn and Adam Gunn

Weekend Drives to visit his parents in Evanston Wyoming.
– Shooting BB Guns and 22’s at pop cans on the way
– Wheelbarrow Rides around the yard
– Listening to silly Disney albums

Weekend Sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s
– Watching HeeHaw
– Grandpa eating a big giant slice of watermelon in his chair
– Crossword puzzles
– His pocket protector
– Secret peaks into his “man room”
– Trips to Promontory and Union Station to check out the trains
– Getting spooked when we walked by his chair
– The ketchup container
– Him asleep in his chair
– Helping mow the lawn
– Playing baseball or football in the front yard
– Playing pool in the basement
– Early morning golf at Golf City
– Building model airplanes
– Trips to the Hill Airforce Base museum
– Fixing things

Vacations
– Wrecking the motorhome
– Him teaching me how to play blackjack in the back of the motorhome
– The Grand Canyon
– Snowsnakes
– Old Tuscon
– Golfing in Magical places: Port Ludlow, Semihamoo and Teton Pines

Visits to Seattle
– Weekend roadtrips to Whidby Island, Vancouver, Leavenworth
– Christmas Time visits

Camping
– Flat tires on the tent trailer
– Playing ALOT of yatzzee
– Frisbee
– Looking for Satellites

Special Occasions
– Baptisms
– Priesthood Confirmations
– Soccer and Baseball Games
– Going to the temple for the first time
– Priesthood blessings
– Scouting Advancements

Working Together
– Grandpa pretty much got me an A in my 3D art class since he built all my projects for me.

Grandpa was always such a mythical hero for me. From his super-human strength to his giant sized hands, everything with Grandpa seemed larger than life. He was a special force in shaping who I am today. His love of sports, particularly golf, have made me into who I am today. Some of the moments that standout that are hard to categorize are the times when I saw him go out of his way to help Grandma with something. It always amazed me that Grandpa did the grocery shopping. I also remember two particular instances when I witnessed Grandpa use his priesthood that have always stood out to me. One was when Ben and I came to Utah with Anissa and Hilary. Hilary got really sick the morning we were to fly home. We were staying with my Grandma and Grandpa Oaks that day but my Grandpa and Grandma Gunn were going to drive us to the airport that morning. I remember before we left that Hilary asked for a blessing and she had the opportunity to have one of my Grandpa’s annoint and the other pronounce the blessing. I look back on that moment for two reasons. One, I realize how blessed I have been to have two Grandfathers who were willing and able to use their priesthood to bless others – even someone they really didn’t know. I have also been somewhat jealous of that experience in that I don’t know if I ever had that opportunity to have both my Grandparents give me a blessing.

The other experience was when my Grandpa came to ordain my dad to the office of High Priest. This occured just months before my Grandpa died and in a way it was one of those Lehi or Abraham moments for our family – a sort of passing of the patriarchal torch from one father to another. I remember how sick he was at the time and how much pain and agony he must have been in at the time.

One other memory I have is from when Jami and I were dating right after my mission. We were not serious yet but I remember that I made the decision not to go to Provo and hang out with friends but instead thought I would surprise Jami and take her out that night. I showed up at her house only to find out she was going to the demolition derby with another guy from work. I was both surprised and incredibly jealous. It was then that I came to realize that I was falling in love with her. I did not know what to do with my evening so I just started running to try to deal with my emotions. I ran all the way to my grandparent’s house. They welcomed me in – surprised I had ran that far. It was the first time I talked about my feelings for Jami to anyone and Grandma and Grandpa were good company that night. Luckily Jami spent the evening wishing she had skipped out on her date and gone out with me – and as they say in Hollywood. The rest is history…

Watching someone you love slowly and painfully pass through the veil of this life and into the other, while an experience I don’t necessarily look back on with fondness, was something Grandpa did for us that we may never fully be able to repay him. His death taught me that even the most immortal of individuals, will eventually die and we must prepare for that day. The way he died taught me humility and patience as I watched the disease and the treatment strip away walls and walls of self-respect and force us all to deal with the realities of death. And finally, I learned how much love and power family can possess as together with my dad we exercised our priesthood and asked Grandpa to stop holding on for us and to pass peacefully from this life into another. Those were dark moments in all our lives but they shaped who we are and taught us something for which we would not know or be prepared for otherwise. They don’t call it the refiner’s fire for nothing. . .

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