saying goodbye...

A Tribute to My Grandpa

I am honored to pay tribute to a man, a son, a brother, a husband, a Dad and a Grandpa. Chad Robert Chesnut was a son to George and Eleanor Chesnut. He was a brother who had eight brothers and sisters that he loved very much. 

Chad was a man who served his country in honor and was proud of his service. A man who spent his career working hard for the railroad as a civil engineer. A man who honored his priesthood and served in many capacities within the church. A man who was constantly serving his friends and family. A man who loved working on his genealogy and family history. A man who was honest, full of integrity and had an amazing work ethic. 

Chad was also a loving husband to his wife Dorothy. He was a husband who honored his wife during their 62 years of marriage. He was constantly serving her and making sure she was well taken care of. In his last months, days and hours he was still concerned about making sure that his wife would be taken care of after he was gone. 

Chad was also a Dad to two beautiful children; Les and Patty. He loved his children so much and would do anything to make them happy. Every activity they were involved in, he supported; any accomplishment they achieved made him proud. He provided a wonderful home and future for both of his children. He was proud to be their Dad and they were proud to call him Dad.

Chad was all of these things; a man, a son, a brother, a husband, a dad, but to me, he was my Grandpa. He was a Grandpa that loved his grandchildren so much. He always made us feel so loved with his huge, body crushing, bear hugs, with kisses and “I love Yous.” He even showed us he loved us by pulling our hair or our toes. He was never short on sharing his love for us. He never missed a birthday party, graduation, performance or anything that we might be involved in. My family has been lucky to live close to my Grandparents our whole life. For many years we lived next door to them. We have been blessed to spend so much time with our Grandpa. My brother, sisters and I over the past few days have been reminiscing about some of our favorite memories of our Grandpa.

We recall watching my Grandpa spend endless amounts of time fixing things or working on a home improvement project. He was the ultimate handy man. If we ever needed anything fixed, we didn’t even have to ask my Grandpa, he would show up with his toolbox and all of his tools and begin fixing anything that he found was not working properly or to his liking. It was not uncommon to see our Grandpa checking our tire pressure while we were visiting his home. He got so good at that, he could eyeball the tire and tell us how low it was on air. Our Grandpa always had his pocketknife handy and ready to peel an apple, cut a loose string, or open a package for us. 

Anyone that knows my Grandpa knows that he could always be found out in his yard or in his shed. We loved seeing our Grandpa in his coveralls, with his hat and bandana on, riding around on his lawn mower. In our younger years, he let us ride with him. We always felt it a privilege to help my Grandpa with anything he might be working on. 

My Grandpa had a talent that many of you may not have been aware of. He was the ultimate professional at rolling up sleeping bags. Although we had our own sleeping bags at home, we would always borrow sleeping bags from my Grandpa when we went camping. He was able to roll them up so tight and tie them with my Grandma’s old nylons in a knot system that even the scouts have never even heard of. It was an amazing talent. We would always return the sleeping bags to him, so sloppy, not even close to the way he gave them to us. He loved the opportunity to show us how he rolled them up. However, we have never learned the secret or developed the talent. His amazing sleeping bag rolling skills could never be duplicated.

One of our favorite things to do with our Grandpa was to go camping. Every year, My Grandpa’s family had a reunion. Growing up it was always a weekend camping trip in the mountains. These reunions were one of the most fond memories I have of my childhood. In addition to the reunions, my Grandpa also took us camping many other times during our childhood summers. We would leave our parents at home and my brother, sisters and I would go with just my Grandparents. We loved riding in the back of their fifth-wheel playing games, coloring and snacking, while my Grandpa drove us to our destination. We feel so lucky that our Grandpa wanted to spend so much time with us and worked hard to make sure we had a good time. 

Along with having fun, our Grandpa also made sure that we learned respect and manners. He was always reminding us when we weren’t minding our manners. Because of his example, we have learned to have a great deal of respect, and hopefully, we have remembered a few of those manners he taught us. 

My Grandpa always loved to remind me about a promise that I made him when I was just a little girl. I told my Grandparents that when they got older and couldn’t drive anymore, I would come over to their house and pick them up, and drive them around. Fortunately, for my Grandparents, they both had been in such great health, until recently, that I never had to do this. I am so grateful that I was able to make good on the promise I made to my Grandpa over 20-years-ago. I had a few opportunities in the past months to drive my Grandpa around. I felt it an honor and a privilege. I’m grateful that my Grandparents reminded me of this promise and let me fulfill it.

My Grandpa has also been the most amazing Great Grandpa to my three boys. He loved spending time with each of them. My Grandparents have watched my boys at least once a week since my first boy was born almost 7-years ago. My Grandpa would always let my boys play on his riding lawn mower, help him out in the yard or with a home improvement project. They would watch “The Price is Right” together. Whenever it comes on at our house, my boys remind me, “That’s Grandpa’s show.” Because of my Grandpa, Payton asks me to cut all the skin off his apples and wants to put salt on them like Grandpa does. Parker’s favorite lunch at my Grandparents house was noodles that he always shared with his Grandpa. My Grandpa spent so much time “holding the baby,” as my Grandma would say, while she took care of something else. My Grandpa held and nurtured all three of my babies and they were so lucky to know him. 

As you can tell, our Grandpa was a huge part of our lives. We will miss seeing him in his western shirts, with his handkerchief in his pocket, his hands casually tucked into his pants pockets, as he always stood and watched us pull out of his driveway and drive down the road out of his neighborhood before he’d go back in his house and shut the door. We know that his mortal life is over, but we also know that we will see him again. Our lives will not be the same without him, but our lives have forever been changed because of him. We are proud to call him our Grandpa and are so grateful for the legacy that this man, son, brother, husband, dad and Grandpa has left us.


heather n said...

Sorry to hear about your grandpa.
It has been a while since I checked blogs and even updated my own.

Dani said...

You have a gift with words, Britt. It was so fun to read your memories of your grandpa and think of my own. He always had a pocket knife, spent time in the shed, loved his family with all his heart. Thanks for making me reflect. Sounds like you were lucky enough to know one amazing man.

Reeses Pieces said...

What a beautiful tribute. Great job!