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My Father Passed Away on May 19, 2013

My father passed away on May 19, 2013 at the age of 68 in Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys. His passing was not a surprise as he was battling advanced skin cancer in his face. But his passing is a big loss in my life that I need to realize and adjust to. 

My father was a humble and simple man that cherished all the little things in life. His main priority other than his kids and responsibilities were to enjoy life to the fullest. He was not selfish and would open his home to others and provide gifts to those he admired and cared for. He was a hard working man that never complained or cheated. 

His cancer first appeared in 2006 and progressively got worse until he literally could not fight anymore in his final months of 2013. For close to 7 years, my father didnt let cancer get in the way of his enjoyment of life except for his final year. If he were around today, I think he would echo this quote from Jim Valvano, a former basketball coach, who was suffering from Bone Cancer at the time that would best describe his situation:
Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all.
You might be wondering what does this have to do with the SFV. The answer is really nothing. My father was an average dude who happened to call the SFV home buying a 50's era Cinderella home in Canoga Park (shown below) in the late 80's. He wasnt a historian buff and didnt really care for the culture and nostalgia of the SFV like I do.

I once tried to talk about SFV history with him and mentioned something that he might find of interest. I showed a picture of the former Busch Gardens at the Van Nuys Budweiser Brewery which he worked directly across from, thinking this might spark some curiosity into the prior past of that area. He simply acknowledged and thought it was cool but the conversation ended there which may have been somewhat related to his declining health. However, that shouldnt be interpreted as a sign of disrespect or ignorance because he was born in another part of the world and the SFV really wasnt his true home although he actually called it home. His personality was not of the type that really cared for history and looking into the past.

On the other hand, I am the complete opposite of my father and I love to learn about history especially when talking about the SFV. The main reason why I started this blog was to remember my past growing up here which I felt was slowly disappearing. Additionally, my childhood was compromised when my mother passed away from breast cancer when I was 12 in the early 90's so remembering that period which coincided with living in the SFV became important for me and hence the start of this blog.

For example, I am remember driving by the old Valley Music Theatre with my mom which now evokes a special feeling in my heart when I pass by that former location that I cant describe. It brings me pain now to see it demolished (especially since it was a great piece of architecture) and under construction for a new apartment complex. This site has been well documented in a Back To The Future series post as a way for me to remember its glorious past and my childhood memories. I never got a chance to see the inside because I wasnt a Jehovah's Witness but the pictures definitely help.

Another strong memory was when my mother would take my brother and I to the Canoga Park National Little League fields in Encino (dont ask my why it was called Canoga Park) for little league games which I remember her cheering me on from the stands. This location was also nearby the historic Encino Velodrome which I also blogged about.

And from there, I would continue to blog about the topics I loved and brought memories like Filming Locations remembering some of the classic 80's and 90's movies like E.T. and Back To The Future filmed on location in the SFV and which would be a part of my childhood. But I didnt stop there and also blogged about other areas of the SFV which I have no memories from but are an integral part of SFV history like the Tower of Wooden Pallets or The Charles Weeks Colony in Winnetka in addition to Real Estate and Celeb R.E.

Which now brings me back to my father and the new memories I developed after my mother's death. I was searching through my father's documents where he kept a box full of expired credit cards, IDs, and health cards. One of those cards happened to be a Malibu Grand Prix license from Northridge (shown below) which was in pristine condition suggesting it was barely used. I vaguely remember that day on April 6, 1994 when he acquired the license but I believe we were just visiting a couple of quick laps because that day happened to be on a Wednesday making any birthday parties unlikely. He obviously joined in on the fun by getting his own license. This card is one of the few memories I have that combines the history of the SFV and my father. After finding this piece of plastic, I was filled with tears of joy and appreciation to know that my father was always there for me and wanted the best for my brother and I.

I love you dad and you will be missed but not forgotten!

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

2 comments to ''My Father Passed Away on May 19, 2013"

  1. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. Your dad sounds like he was an awesome dude, and even though he wasn't into history, I bet he probably got a kick out of reading your blog. I too lost my mom to cancer, and I find that it's really helpful for me to write about it. In fact, I do a post every year on the anniversary of her death:

    Anyway, sending some empathetic blogger healing wishes your way. Grieving ain't fun, but it does get a bit easier with time.

  2. Thanks Valley Blahg. Cancer definitely sucks. Its a good thing you got that final pic of your mom to cherish those final days.


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