Obituary of Michael Vernon Pardue
On the one hand, I could tell you the rote and mundane facts of Michael Pardue’s life. He was born in Johnson City, Tennessee on July 31st, 1955. Sixty-three years later, on Saturday, February 23rd of 2019, he left us to be with the lord. He served twenty years in the Navy. He had seven children. He became an electrician after he was honorably discharged and eventually started his own fitness business called Frogman Fitness shortly before his fight with cancer.
On the other hand, I could also tell you the embellished and enigmatic sea-stories of Mr. Pardue’s life. Stories of grandeur world travel. Stories of crashing motorcycles on highways and rolling a VW bus. We could dive into his military adventures and talk about the time he swam amongst circling sharks. The time he jumped out of an airplane and his parachute had a tear in it. The time he was on an inflatable boat that was attached to a diving submarine.
I wouldn’t be lying if I decided to tell his story from either perspective. He lived what was at times, a very exciting life. Yet he also lived the bleaker reality that affects us all. With the understanding that I am tasked to choose the perspective with which to tell his story, I wish to present to you the way he wanted to be viewed; to show you the way he wanted to be remembered and the way he wanted to be understood.
My dad was a funny guy. He wasn’t always funny with his words and his humor wasn’t always appropriate for the occasion, but he always tried to make people laugh. He wanted people to enjoy themselves, to laugh with him and see the brighter side of all circumstances. He loved to tell the same cheesy jokes over and over again and he mastered the art of telling a few good sea-stories. He could be rightly called a “glass half-full” type of person.
My dad was an extreme extrovert. He loved the opportunity to meet new people and to learn more about them. He loved to share stories, ideas, plans, and aspirations and could spend an hour outside of a store talking to someone he had never met before and may never see again. It was not unusual for him to be approached by seemingly total strangers around San Diego to say hi. He always seemed to remember everyone’s name, though he could barely remember where he left his eyeglasses.
My dad was a jack-of-all-trades. If you had a problem, he had an idea on how to fix it. Though his ideas weren’t always the professional solution, they almost always worked well enough to fix your immediate issue. For the times that he was absolutely stumped, he took time and invented answers. Sometimes his gadgets would be wacky or strange work-arounds, but they worked well for what they were intended to be.
My dad was a very well-intentioned man. He always tried to be there if anyone needed him. He never liked to brag or boast about his accomplishments. He never put anyone down to try to get himself ahead and he didn’t hold grudges.
My dad was a good man who would have wanted to be remembered for the happy moments he shared with you. He wouldn’t want this to be understood as a time of loss but rather as a time to appreciate all that we’ve gained. He would have asked that we, for him, take a moment to laugh at a corny joke, to smile in a desperate time, and to let go of our worries and appreciate the life that we have.
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To him I say, thank you dad for all the stories you’ve told and the memories you’ve given me. Thank you for the opportunities you’ve provided and the sacrifices you’ve made. Thank you for being there when you weren’t always appreciated. I love you and I miss you.