Guy Everingham - Following in their footsteps
For me, Father’s Day is the perfect occasion to remember numerous father figures in my life who encouraged me with advice and support when I was growing into adulthood and beyond.
I make it a point each day, and especially on Father’s Day, to spend some time thinking and talking privately with the two fathers who taught and stood beside me during some of the most important and difficult lessons of my life; my late father, Donald Everingham, and my late father-in-law, Victor Evoniuk.
Long ago, Victor told me that when you think of someone, they are with you.
Always taking the responsibility of fatherhood very seriously, I’m proud the three fathers in the next generation of my family — Victor, Don and Kevin — have the same philosophy. All three are committed to their wives, their children, and a family structure that supports their immediate families in times of need.
My biological father, Donald Lyle Everingham, was born in Glenwood, Minn., in 1916. He never knew his father, who was killed in a train accident the following year. Dad was raised by his mother during difficult times. A school teacher, she stressed education, putting Dad in school at age 5. He graduated from grammar school at 11, high school at age 15 and junior college at 17.
Dad was born with wanderlust, and his spirit of adventure drove him to travel to all corners of the globe. At age 20 in 1937, his first around-the-world voyage was on the steamship President Wilson, the first of eight circumnavigations by steamship. Each took three months and 20 days.
In 1946, Dad left his employer, American President Lines — now called APL and known as the world’s seventh-largest container and shipping company. With a partner, he opened Don-Em Travel in downtown San Francisco, specializing in group tours to exotic locations.
In 1949, he married my mother, and together they raised four boys. Never having known his father, Dad was not always comfortable in the fatherhood role, but he was always there to support and stand by his family even while working six days a week and traveling extensively. He continued to travel into his 80s. In 1999, Dad passed away in McMinnville from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
My other father, by marriage, became my Oregon father for nearly 35 years. Victor was born in 1924 on the Plains in Fayette, N.D. .
His parents were first-generation emigrants from Ukraine, who arrived in America through Ellis Island, eventually moved to Oregon and settled in the Eugene-Springfield area.
Victor’s father was a “powder monkey,” working on roads and blasting tunnels throughout western Oregon. They raised four sons, Victor being the oldest. At a very young age, he shined shoes outside Lucky’s Club Cigar in Eugene to earn money for the family. His customers quickly taught him his first words of English.
After serving in the Army, Victor married Wilma Ewing at the Presidio in San Francisco in 1944. They were married for 62 years.
Victor, a devout Catholic, attended Mass almost daily. He was earnestly dedicated to his family of five children, and was a builder and RV-repair shop owner in addition to a master at “horse trading.” Victor passed away from congestive heart failure in 2006.
Vickie and I met while we were working for U.S. Bank in Eugene, and I first met Victor in 1972. Like most fathers, Victor was quite protective of his daughters. The night I first met him, Victor had trouble pronouncing my surname, not an unusual experience for all of us Everinghams. After a few tries, he said, “How about I call you Abraham?”
That worked for me, and I felt an immediate bond with the man. He continued to call me either Abraham or Harry his entire life.
When his grandchildren were young, he asked everyone to start calling him Cy. He thought it was easier for the grandchildren to say Cy instead of Grandpa Vic. To this day, all members of his family refer to him as Cy, not Victor. Our eighth grandchild, Jackson Cy Thurman, now carries on with the tradition in memory of Cy Evoniuk.
When my first grandchild arrived in 2003, my oldest son, Victor, followed in Victor Evoniuk’s footsteps and anointed me Pops. I have been Pops ever since, and I thank my father-in-law for helping show me the way to relate to my grandchildren. Now, I have 10 grandchildren spread across three families, and I doubt more than two or three of them know my actual birth name.
Both my fathers were family men who worked hard to create a better life for their children. They set great examples for me, and I am proud to follow their tradition of hard work and consistent loyalty to family.
They left me with a number of assignments to perform on a daily basis:
- Tell your children you love them as often as you can.
- You need to work at being a better father every day.
- The best thing you can do for your children and family is to love their mother.
I am very fortunate to have had so much fatherly guidance. Many fathers influenced me, and I will never forget their devotion to their families, their children and the community as a whole.
Guest writer Guest writer Guy Everingham is chief operating officer of the News-Register and Oregon Lithoprint, where he has worked since moving to McMinnville in 1990. He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Oregon in 1969 to attend the University of Oregon, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising journalism in 1973. He and Vickie have been married 39 years and have three sons.