In Memorial of my father, David S. Corzilius
December 19, 1935 - February 24, 2003
My father was a military man and that precipitated certain behaviors we knew him by. He was not an emotional person, preferring to work instead in 'facts'. Through his notes on what he needed to accomplish each day as well as his records of our financial agreements (or transgressions), he also taught me the value of record keeping as well as its pitfalls.
He was a competitive person, perhaps again by way of the military creed, or perhaps from his upbringing. This made 'bonding' a difficult task at best, and provided for a somewhat discordant relationship between the members of the family.
Yet he also enjoyed traveling and he endeavored to ensure we saw a little of each place we lived. One cannot help remembering the huge American station wagon we drove, with a camping trailer in tow, through the narrow streets of the European towns we visited. There were many times when it felt like the car wouldn't navigate some narrow entrance to a medieval town, or a narrow country road and its climbing hairpin curves. Yet he persisted.
Dad showed me how to fish and camp at a very young age, and this is something that stayed with us throughout our life. It was also one of the few things we continued sharing together even with the competition that developed between us.
He also taught me to question how things worked, taking things apart and putting them back together; and he also taught me not to question how things are when it comes to those in authority. I am sure he was bemused at how well I learned the first and how adamantly I ignored the latter. In that sense, he taught me the lessons of inquisitiveness as well as independence.
I think my father was proud of my accomplishments, although this is something one could only observe as he rarely showed his affection outright. A good example was his occasional visits when I lived in Ithaca, him bringing by his Barbershop buddies to show them around my house, describing my achievements as if I was not there.
My father was also a 'wanderer', reputedly having several affairs over the years. As we came to learn in later years, the relationship between my mother and he was strained and probably based on the sensibilities and obligations of their upbringing. In the final years of his life, he put aside the parental and marriage restrictions and pursued a relationship and dream of a simpler and relaxed pace in a lakeside cabin with a special woman he had met. I know very little of him from this time but I believe he was truly happy and without the military rigidity for the first time in his adult life. Unfortunately, his body's ailments caught up with him shortly after his new marriage and his transition into a true retirement. Perhaps it was the Viagra, or perhaps it was just old age; but his life was cut short before he could live his dreams.
He fought valiantly until the end. In my conversations with him near that end, he lamented on how he and Bonnie had planned to travel through Europe, revisiting places he remembered and pursuing more of his beloved genealogy. And he so much wanted to show me his new boat and go fishing on the lake together. He hated the idea that Bonnie was having to care for him, after she had given him so much already. That he was so sick hurt him so much. But in the end, my father also found a certain spirituality that helped him accept his fate. Ironically, his passing came on his 2nd anniversary of his new marriage; though I am sure in his mind that this was not meant to be a point of emotional duress for his new wife, but rather that he tried to hold on to celebrate their anniversary one more time. You see, he was a strong man who may not have showed his emotions well, but who loved nevertheless.
I want to go fishing with him once more, even if only in spirit. I hope to see his new boat and to rummage through his old tackle box one more time - perchance finding a piece of tackle we used when I was a boy fishing with Dad and his buddies in the mountains of Arizona. It is my way of remembering that spirit, the one that came out so infrequently for us as a family, but that I remember so fondly.
May Dave rest in peace and may he be with each of us in our hearts as we continue to grow.