Lawrence Beller – My Father
Those We’ve Lost
Losing my father was one of my greatest fears since childhood. My biggest fear came true on March 24, 2014. It is still difficult to believe dad is gone. My life was more secure with him in this world. It was a much brighter place with his perpetual smile and friendly demeanor. A simple man, he never boasted or drew attention to himself. I’ll miss his laughter until the day that I die.
I lost a close uncle the year before. There were ten children in both my mother and father’s family, so I grew up with lots of relatives. The law of averages caught up with both the Beller and Campbell families in recent years. Letting go is difficult, but something Bellers and Campbells have been forced to do repeatedly. It is the price for having a large family. Even if you are fortunate for a decade or two, Mother Time is always creeping up from behind.
Those We’ve Lost is a phrase I never thought much about when young. Now I can’t stop thinking about the term and its significance. Several deaths have hit me hard, but none as hard as my father’s death. Lawrence Beller was a good and decent man who worked hard and stayed out of trouble. It was his code of life, and he stuck to it until the day he died. My father never had a drug or alcohol problem. My dad didn’t need laws to do the right thing. He did what he thought was right, even when it inconvenienced him. He earned what he got out of life, and was thankful for a roof over his family’s head and food on the table.
Growing up in the Great Depression in the middle of ten children, my father knew firsthand what it was like to struggle. His family scraped to get by farming on that red clay in Oklahoma. Dad quit school when he was in the sixth grade to work on the farm, and worked on that farm every day until he went into the service during the Korean Conflict. Dad sent most of his earnings back to the family in Oklahoma. He married my mother, Frances Beller, not long after getting out of the military, and he worked two and three jobs at a time to see that my mom, my brothers and I had everything we needed. Dad took us on great vacations and worked his way up to a top position in the Norman City Government. He retired from the City of Norman and went to work for B&H, a thriving business that his brother, Robert, formed in 1981.
My father was a good old boy with a farming background. I, on the other hand, grew up in a college town in a different generation. We were close as father and son could be until I became a free spirited and sometimes rebellious teenager. Our contrast outlooks of the world often collided when I was a teen. Lawrence Beller, however, never gave up on me. I can’t begin to describe now much I miss him. I dedicate myself to becoming the best man possible in my father’s honor.
My father, Lawrence Beller
May 14, 1932 – April 2, 2014