Breakfast with Dad: Fathers are special at Bethany Village

Frank Armstrong has nine children and yet, “Dad made us all feel special,” said Gindy Schneller.

So she joined her sister and several other families at Bethany Village Saturday for a breakfast to honor their fathers. Families reflected on what it means to be a father.

Bill Clark said he feels privileged when his children call him “Dad.”

“My daughter told me any man can become a father, but only a man with the right qualifications can be a Dad. So they called me Dad.”

His daughter, Molly Zimmerman, visits her Dad in the Bethany Village senior living community every day for a cup of coffee and a game of checkers.

“He still calls me Princess Golden Hair. I always tell him he’s the first man I ever loved.”

It felt natural for the Armstrongs to have breakfast together June 15. They enjoyed breakfasts together on Saturdays and dinners together every day of the week. “That came from my mother and father,” said Frank, who was one of nine children himself. “My children were raised the same way my father and mother raised me.”

Bill’s son, Scott, said the same. “I give credit to my father for teaching me how to be a father. And my parents were good examples for future relationships. We children always knew they loved each other.”

The Armstrong marriage was central to family relationships.

“My Dad always honored Mom,” said Gindy. Her sister, Sheilah Apple, noted how their parents’ love and support of each other filled the household with love.

“When he came home from work, the TV went off and we all got up to give him a kiss,” she said. She recalled how he took the children out for an ice cream ride on many evenings. “We just thought he was the best! Now I realize it was also for Mom to get a little time to herself.”

Bill said he and his wife complemented each other. “She was an ideal mother. She taught them all the right things and I spoiled them with whatever they wanted if I could afford it.

“If they continue to live up to the standards their mother set for them, they will be successful human beings.”

Scott said his Dad set a standard for him. “He’s an incredible example of how to conduct your life, how to raise your children.”

Scott’s brother, Tom, agreed. “In raisinging four daughters, now ages 17 to 25, I attempted to emulate many of the things he taught me.  My Dad always listened to me; whether I was upset, scheming and dreaming or pontificating about what I thought I knew about politics and the world. His active listening started when I was a very young age, and has never stopped.”

The best thing about being a father?

“Having a family like this!” said Frank, beaming, with daughters by his side.

“It gives you more important things to do than taking care of yourself,” said Bill.