My father, Courtney A. Metzger, was a self-made man. I feel deep love, admiration, and respect for him. He earned much success and many awards, but what I remember most about him was the way he lived his life. He cared about people and about their worries, their needs, and their concerns. He remained humble throughout his life. His family, his spiritual life, his community, and those less fortunate were the things that were important to him.
Dad never forgot where he came from and how difficult life could be. His father died when he was fourteen years old. It was a challenging time for his mother and him. There was little money so he got a paper route. When he was paid, he brought all the money home and gave it to his mother. He dropped out of school to help, but in spite of that, he became a very prominent aerospace engineer at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.* What he gained, he earned by hard work.
He and my mother raised eight children. Early in their marriage, they bought a small farm because Dad loved animals and wanted to raise his family in the country. He gave us the opportunity to receive an education because he valued education. His work ethic taught all of us how to be successful. He served diligently on the local school board for twenty-five years with the intent of improving the schools in our neighborhood.
Dad daily felt concern for anyone less fortunate. He worried about the homeless and those who didn't have decent homes. That is why he served on the housing board for HUD for many years.
What I loved most about my Dad was how well he cared for his mother and Great-Gran, (my mother's mother). Great-Gran lived for twenty-five years after Grandpa died. Dad made her a part of our family. He helped her with her money and was responsible for it growing and supporting her until she died at age ninety-five. Great-Gran confided in me several times about how good Dad was to her, bringing her coffee and the newspaper every morning, asking her how she felt, and did she need anything. He valued her!
Dad accomplished so much in his life. He was an aerospace engineer, a farmer, a businessman, a community leader, an inventor, and a caring, giving, thoughtful husband, father, and grandfather. He always thought of the needs of others. He was very special. Dad taught his family, not by words but by actions, how important it is to live a life filled with empathy for others.
Claire Block- Daughter, Mother, Grandmother
There are a couple of details we wanted to point out from Claire’s beautiful blog. First, she submitted her blog handwritten (see picture above). In an age of email, text, shares, and faxes her delivery was a breath of fresh air for us! We loved seeing her words and thoughts in such a personal way. Thank you Claire, your pages will go down in P2E history!
Second, Claire’s father, Courtney A. Metzger, was a pioneer for empathy. He took his gifts as an inventor and put them to practical use. In 1967, he submitted a report/proposal of his invention: (see below) a device that could turn human urine into drinking water in space. He even spent a week in a simulation space capsule to aid in the research. Talk about putting yourself in another’s shoes!! We couldn’t help but point this out to our readers. And as Claire said it best, ”Dad taught his family, not by words but by actions, how important it is to live a life filled with empathy for others.”