“There are very few people who don’t become more interesting when they stop talking.” ~ Mary Lowry

This quote is one my father strongly believed in. He was well-read, intelligent, and a great storyteller, and he listened to learn. My dad was born 100 years ago on February 3, 1921, in Miner County, South Dakota. 

Known to all as Buck Schwader, he lived his entire life within 10 miles from where he was born. He traveled throughout the U.S. and, through books, traveled the world. I returned from a safari in Africa, and he knew more about where I had been through National Geographic than I did, having traveled there. He had a photographic memory.

What I want to share today is that my father lived his legacy. His values were family, learning, loyalty, and perseverance. When I was ten years old, he had surgery at the Mayo Clinic and was in a full-body cast from under his arms to his ankles for nine months. The doctors told him he would never be able to farm again. He was disabled but persisted and continued farming. 

At 52 years of age, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and lived with it for 26 years, continually declining in health. He never wavered in constantly learning and living life to the best he could. Even though his body failed him, his mind never did. The day before he died, and he could not move, he wanted us to read the newspaper and was curious to know who had won the World Series the previous night. My parents were married two months short of 50 years when he passed away. 

Much of who I am today, I learned from my father. I hope my life will have as much meaning and purpose when my descendants celebrate my 100th birthday as my fathers did for his family and community.

Thank you for allowing me to celebrate Dad’s 100th birthday with you.

This three 1/2-minute video is of a father who began writing honest life notes to his young daughter every school morning. Three years later, he has penned over 600 notes and has even turned them into a book called #DadLunchNotes. Yippee for reminding us of the power of words and what a legacy they are for those we love! 


Be kind, open, and curious.