The Northwest Florida Daily News asked daughters to share stories of their dads for this Father's Day edition. Here are some of their stories, with slight editing for length:
April Elizabeth Ray-Obemier
My father, Dennis Lynn Ray, just passed away on June 2nd from battling cancer. He won't get to celebrate Father's Day this year. He was an amazing father. He is my hero. He was in the military, and after retiring became an eighth grade history teacher before he passed away. One funny story I love to tell is how he was always afraid of the refrigerator biscuit can and would have us kids come from outside to open it. Then when it popped, he would scream because it scared him.
One thing he always told me is, "If you don't know what it is, then you don't touch it. If you don't know what it is, you don't eat it. And when I hurt myself he would say, 'Did it hurt?' And I would say, 'Yes, it did.' He would say, 'Then don't do that ever again."
My father, Kevin Petri, was in the Air Force for 24 years and he retired eight years ago. When he was active duty, he was deployed a lot but he always made time to spend with my mother, sister and me. I remember one time he was deployed when I was 6 or 7, and my mother made a map for me and my sister to help us understand where he was and why he was gone. And it helped us stay connected to him."
I lost my dad, Marty Henderson, to cancer on Dec. 15, 2018. He was a very hardworking man. He used to wake up around 4 a.m. to drink his coffee and have his morning routine every day, then off to work when he came home and never stopped until it was time to go to bed and it was early, like 7 o'clock or sometimes earlier. I hated that and I could never understand why he went to bed so early, but now I know why.
I cannot name a favorite thing because I loved everything about him.
I remember the day like it was yesterday when they told him he had lung cancer. From that day forward, my dad was a different man. He gave up on life for about three months and then he was OK. But when he went back to the doctor, it had spread and he tried to be strong and fight the cancer, but he got to where anytime I went to see him, he was in bed.
I miss him so much. This will be my first Father's Day without him. I'm not sure how I'm gonna feel. I'm glad that he is no longer sick or hurting, but I miss him so much. It is such an emptiness that can't be filled. So if your father is still here with you, remind him how much he means to you each and every time. You can never know when it will be one minute too late.