My grandpa, Harold Bjorklund who we referred to as “Bumpa,” passed away on April 16th, 2019. He was 92 years old when cancer took him. He lived a full life! He grew up the oldest of four siblings, was the son of a preacher, and served as an Army medic during World War II. He later became a general manager/owner of a number of Gambles stores, followed by years as a car salesman.
Bumpa was a simple, moral man who’s priorities were his faith, his family and others—in that order. He almost never missed a week of church, which by today’s standards seems daunting. His dedication to my grandma “Nana,” reminds me of the movie The Notebook (which, for the record, I have seen...twice). Every day for the past 9+ years he went to the assisted living home to see Nana, or as he called her “his sweetheart,” never once making it seem like a burden, but instead an opportunity to be with the one he loved. She is still living at 91, but has been dealing with dementia for the past 10 years.
My grandpa is a role model to me and many others, in so many ways. He was the most outgoing, fun-loving people person I have ever met. He didn't talk about himself, but would turn the conversation back on whoever he was talking to... and that was a lot of people because he didn’t miss opportunities to get to know someone. He made anyone feel welcomed and went out of his way to get to know you. Until his final days, he could recall seemingly everyone he had ever come in contact with. He could remember your name, where you met, your profession, what your significant other did, how many kids you had, the name of your dog, and all other details that no one else would remember.
Even though none of you met him, we can all take a few things from his life and learn from them. He was disciplined and faithful, always doing the right thing but having fun while he did it. He loved life and he loved people, making anyone and everyone—no matter who they were—feel welcomed. In this “me first” life that most of us lead, he was able to put others first while spending as much time as was needed listening.
In the best way, every day of his life looked just like the next. From the positive attitude he carried, to the smile he had on his face, to how much fun he had, he lived a life we could all stand to learn a thing or two from!