My Father was a legend. And now that he has passed I am starting to understand this even more each day.
As you go through the grieving process you start conjuring up memories and thoughts that you haven't recalled in many many years. And I am blessed to be able to conjure up so many awesome memories of times we spent, lessons he shared and challenges he presented to each of the boys.
His style was unique and with great passion he forged four strong boys each with honourable characteristics. His sons are all driven and engaged family men with a desire to carry on the family name with pride.
Flight Lieutenant Frederick Byron Button was cut from a cloth so unique that there is no way it will ever be replicated. Of course each one of his sons carries some of his patterns, but neither of us has a chance of replicating the patchwork that made up my Dad's personality and life.
He lived his life on his terms. He was a passionate, creative, caring man, husband, father and grandfather. He identified most with being a military man and truly appreciated order and regimentation. This is what made him a very successful navigator of many planes including Lancaster bombers, it allowed him to be a very calm and orderly air traffic controller and it also gave him his blueprint for how he should raise four sons.
He was a measure four times, cut once kinda guy. And he accepted nothing less from those around him.
Unfortunately, four sons are a natural recipe for chaos, and while my Dad seemed to relish in the ever changing landscape, he always had a difficult time when the lads didn't see things his way. And right to the end of his life he was trying to get us to see things from his perspective. Regardless of whether he felt we were listening we always know his life's mission was to direct his boys and to ensure their success.
And in that respect my father was a true success story. He not only has four successful sons that have great families and careers, but he has four sons that are inseparable. We love each other and have been very very supportive of each other throughout our lives. We compete, we cajole and we mock each other as only siblings can do. But we do it with the deepest of respect for each other. And I believe that is my Fathers strongest and most lasting legacy.
He believed in family first. As my Dad said very often when we were growing up "The most important thing I have given you son is your last name. Treat it with respect and with honour, it is the most powerful thing you have in your life and I have given it to you as clean as I possibly can. Keep it that way."
My ability to manage the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur come from my Dad. He built many companies after he retired, and they were quite varied from housing development to pre-pasted disposable tooth brushes, video games (coolest kid in school) and graphic design to just name a few.
My Dad was a bit of a joker and didn't necessarily like the rules. I think I have a bit of that in me as well.
The day you write a story about the passing of your father is always a tough one. What's even tougher is that my father passed away while I was on a flight on my way back to see him. He was battling bladder cancer for over a year and very quickly the week prior to him passing he found out it had metasticized in his lungs and then his liver.
It was liver cancer that took my mom's life as well. You can only imagine what goes through my mind as I digest these details. But that's for a future post.
We thought we had a bit more time, but alas it was days and while we all rallied quickly only Dave and Pat were there when dad passed in his sleep, and I will forever appreciate that they were there for him. Sadly Hal and I were both on flights out to Ottawa. I found out when I was transferring flights and will always remember the Winnipeg Airport as the place I found out my father had passed.
My last conversation with my Dad however was a very positive one and I enjoyed talking to him about a few things. He actually seemed like he was ok with where he was. He actually seemed at peace. We talked, as we often did, about his challenges and rarely talked about my health issues, and I was completely comfortable with this as I knew he was struggling. But, as our conversation was ending he said 'Sorry we keep talking about my stuff, I promise next time we'll talk about you. I love you Jim."
We'll never get to talk about my stuff, but you know what I never really wanted to talk to him about it anyways....we always had more interesting things to talk about. I'm just happy I was able to be there in that conversation for him.
That was three days before he passed.
Rest in Peace Dad. I love you too.
Our Country is in mourning, an Airforce guy died today.
F/L FB Button, SSM, CD
He was getting old and forgetful
And his hair was whitening fast,
And he sat around the Casino,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a cold war that he once thrived in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.
And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbours
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
For the ol’ Captain has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer
For a Lancaster navigator died today.
He won’t be mourned by many,
Just his family, not even his deceased wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held his rank and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing,
‘Tho a navigator died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From time the they were young,
But the passing of the military man
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
If we could not do him honour
While he was here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
“OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
AN AIRFORCE GUY DIED TODAY.”
Byron Button passed on August 31, 2017 at the age of 85 after a valiant battle with cancer. He was predeceased by his loving wife Barbara Mae Button (Nee McGuire). They were married in Port Mouton, N.S. on November 28, 1953. Byron is survived by his 4 sons, Hal (Constance) of Calgary, Dave (Gene) of Regina, Jim (Tracey) of Calgary and Pat (Kathy) of Waterloo. Cherished Grandpa of Kyle; Jil (Ryan), Patrick, Jessica; Jack, Amanda; Abby, Conner, Britney and Great Grandson BenJimin . Byron’s wishes were to have his ashes spread in a quiet ceremony in the family cemetery plot in Bridgewater NS that he will now share with Barbara.
Byron was a proud military man, a proud family man, an innovator and creative soul. This poem was his self penned adaptation of “A soldier died today’ by A. Lawrence Vaincourt. Of this there can be no doubt, his passing is of great note and he will be more than missed today by many.