This is Mary’s (biological, maternal) grandpa:
His name was Gene Fritchie, and he was an engineer at Conoco Phillips.
Mary adores him, and he spoils her, and they were very close. She often lived with him, and credits him for “saving my life every time my mom mad bad choices.” She loved when he took her shopping for new dresses and shoes, and it delighted her to surprise him with new braid designs we found (before she cut off all her braids). They had a tradition of making cookies when she visited, and she always came home with new gifts and bags full of sweets.
Although we had a challenging start due to the circumstances by which we met, he has been supportive of Mary, our faith, and our family. As time passed during our first year with Mary, and he got to know us better, he grew to care for all of our children. He was one of our regular stops during our monthly caroling adventures, and he always spoiled our kids with cookies and candy when we visited. He was supportive of her adoption, gave his blessing on her new name, and loved to follow her updates on the private page for family. We had invited him to her adoption, and he came to her school and church activities. When he found out she was taking violin lessons from Nathan, he gave her the viola her mother played when her mother was young. He lived just down the street from us, and was an important part of our family. Mary was quite the missionary for that Methodist, who was very tolerant of our Mormon family.
About a month ago, he was on the riding mower on the hill, and tipped over. The lawn mower rolled over him several times, and he was hospitalized with broken ribs and internal bleeding they couldn’t find. Our family went to visit him of there often, especially the first graders. They liked to crawl up on his hospital bed and watch tv with him, sing to him, and ask him way too many intrusive questions about his hospital stay. He was patient with them, and kind, and would laugh at their questions until we had to go because he couldn’t laugh and breathe.
Unfortunately, he developed pnuemonia, and was transferred to Tulsa, where he continued to deteriorate and was ventilated. He passed away early this morning, and will be very missed. She has already asked if we can take him to the temple next year, and I love that she knows this.