Just in time for Father’s Day, Catamaran Media caught up with a number of community members, contributors and those featured in our publications recently. We asked, what was something your Father taught you about life, love, work or something significant that they continue to use, believe and share with others in their lives. 

Here is what they said:

Tom Thornton, engineer, Mott MacDonald

Father William Clyde Thornton

My father was an Eagle Scout, World War II veteran, career missionary in Japan, machinist and a lover of nature.  He taught me many things, but, most importantly, he demonstrated through his life that the rewards of a lifetime of humility, service, love and faith are greater than those that come from the pursuit of personal advancement or wealth.  I hope to pass this lesson on to my own children.

Frank Albano, hospitality industry professional

Father: Frank Albano

My father left us many lessons in the areas of life, love and work. His compassion and understanding for all people. His approach to his relationship with people was to be all inclusive. He looked at people from the inside out. I have used his guidance to this day to see all the different perspectives of people as a fascinating kaleidoscope.

Cindy Pitts, owner of Lucky Dog Custom Apparel

Father: Sid Weinberg

I owe my sense of humor and joy of laughter to my dad.  He taught me not to take things too seriously (unless of course they were serious) and to find ways to make people laugh.  My dad is the original dad joke, and I’m so glad he taught me how to laugh at myself first, and make others laugh with me.

Andy Parker, owner of Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning

Father: Andrew Parker Sr.

My dad taught me many valuable lessons about life and dealing with people. The most valuable is not being a follower and finding my own path. Develop a plan and work your plan. Don’t worry about things you don’t have control of. Keep moving.

Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber

Father: Archie Thornton

My father was a simple man and the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd comes to mind when I think of him, but you asked for one word that sums up what he taught me so I am going to say "loyalty." He was a man of his word who always kept it, did what he said he would do, loved and took care of his family and endeared everyone around him to be loyal to others, their country, their jobs, neighbors, community, faith, themselves.

Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, president Suasion Communications

Father: Richard Adelizzi 

The one thing that he taught me is that success is never final. My dad's influence on my life is immeasurable. He's a brilliant businessman, devoted to his family, and one heck of a tennis player. He has instilled in me the importance of hard work, that success is never final and to always raise the bar a notch higher to achieve the next goal.

Brian Pruitt, superintendent, Linwood schools

Father: William Patrick Pruitt

One thing he taught me is that my relationships with my family and friends can never be replaced. He taught me how to be a husband, a dad and a best friend.

John Davidson, Republic Bank

Father: Clyde Michael Davidson.

Sometimes life is going to be hard and there is nothing you can do about it, but it is always your choice to be happy or not. My dad only made it through the seventh grade, because he was the oldest and had to help raise money to support the family. He was pretty much always happy.

Joe Craddock, owner of Rock Solid Home Inspection

Father: Jewell Craddock

My father taught me a saying as a teenager that has stuck with me throughout my life. It has applied to both my personal and business endeavors. That saying was “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” I’ve always kept that saying in the back of my mind whether I was cutting a lawn, building a house, running a car wash or doing a home inspection. I’ve also tried to instill that same sentiment to my daughters.

John G. Emge, president, Trusted Path Consulting

Father: Jim Emge

My earliest inspiration to help others came from my father; he was an usher at our church. We would be walking in a parking lot and my dad would notice a piece of trash on the ground — sure enough, he’d pick it up and put it in a trash can. It seemed like every time we were out with him he would be courteous, considerate and almost chivalrous to others — all the time.  It wasn’t long before I began trying to practice these instincts in my own life, and as a father of three, hopefully that behavior will continue to be emulated for generations to come.

Todd Gordon, general manager, South Jersey Gas

Father: Ed Gordon

My father was a man of few words.  He taught and led by example. He approached life in a simple way. He loved and provided for his family and he gave back to his community.  He would say "a job worth doing is a job worth doing right." He reminded use to always help your neighbors and give back to your community anyway you can.  And never lose your sense of humor.

Jeff Vassar, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism

Father: Mark Vasser

I’ve been thinking about my father’s life lessons to me, and he was always making jokes.  The only serious thing I remember was him telling me not to be a lawyer- which he was for 50 years!  He wanted me to be an orthodontist- which I dismissed. 

Cynthia Kelly, Small Business Development Center at Stockton University

Father: Walter Evans

My father taught me that if something is worth doing it’s worth doing right. Also the true meaning of unconditional love.

Scott Cronick, director of entertainment publications for The Press of Atlantic City

Father: Joseph Cronick

My dad came from nothing. He had a big family and was very poor. He reminded me to never forget where you came from and to always remember what it was like when you had nothing, because in a blink of an eye, you can have nothing again. He taught me to work hard and have multiple jobs until you can't do it anymore.

Michael Brennan, chef, Cardinal Bistro

Father: Thomas Brennan

One thing he taught me was to understand your limits but also realizing your potential. Whenever dealing with a large project or if things just kept piling up, he would always say to me “How does a man eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So no matter how monumental something might seem, as long as you take things in a progressive step-by-step approach you can achieve almost everything. The scariest part is that first bite.

Pete Bretones, superintendent, Northfield schools

Father: Reynaldo Bretones

My father showed me how to be a man.  One thing that sticks out is: You only get one name in life, so don't do anything to ruin it.

Donna Michael-Ziereis, Esq. vice president and general counsel, AtlantiCare Health System

Father: Jerry Michael

My father taught me about devotion.  Soon after my younger brother was born my mom was diagnosed with MS. He was devoted to her while that awful disease progressed over 40 years. He lovingly cared for her and set an incredible example for our family.

Michelle CarneyRay-Yoder, Ed.D., superintendent, Somers Point schools

Father: Jim Carney

My father has always taught me to follow my heart and fight for what I believe in, regardless of how difficult the road.

Alisa Cooper, vice chair, Casino Control Commission

Father: Dr. David Cooper

My father was a wonderful man and an extraordinary role model.  He always emphasized the importance of a good education, a strong work ethic and to be kind and charitable — traits that I still respect and follow today and proudly pass those attributes to my son, David Cooper Little.

Mark Ganter, owner, Little Water Distillery

Dad:  Frank (born Franz) Ewald Ganter

My dad taught me how to cut firewood; how to split it and how to stack it. And I would haul it in a wheelbarrow and carry it down to the basement where we would heat the house with the wood-burning furnace. I would stack it on the porch for the living room fireplace. Not normal chores like “clean your room.”  Today I can’t as much as smell sawdust or the smoke of a fire without feeling this deep sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the home he built us and the man he taught me to be.

Mike Zubrzycki, senior liaison for communication studies, Stockton University

Father: Raymond Zubrzycki. 

My father taught me that honest work is hard work.

Eric Reich, Reich Asset Management

Father: Thomas Warren Reich III.

My dad always said “nobody on their deathbed wished they spent more time at the office.“ It’s really stuck with me since I had kids. I always make time for them no matter what. Even if it means going back to the office for a few hours after they are asleep.

Chuck Ireland and Sue Ireland

Dad: Sonny Ireland

My dad always taught me that honesty is always the best policy. — Chuck Ireland

Dad taught me that it's better to be kind than to be right. — Sue Ireland

Carmen Marotta, music promoter, Aronberg & Kouser, P.A.

Father: Anthony “Tony Mart” Marotta

My father taught me by example to work hard and to give generously of your time and make people around you happy. He always tried to stay on the cutting edge and do things a little differently. He succeeded in touching so many people’s lives.

Jen Pierce, owner, Clay’s Climate Control

Father: Jim Cascardi

My father taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, organization and attention to details.

Jimmy Ziereis, vice president, hotel sales, Tropicana Atlantic City

Father: Robert Joseph Ziereis

My father always reminded us to not sweat the little stuff but sweat the big stuff.

Kelly Batz, CPA, Cape Resorts

Father: Walter Edwards

The lesson he taught me and legacy that I continue to share is short and sweet. Three words: "Do your best!”  Those three little words were repeated over and over while we were growing up — and sometimes made me question if I really know if what I thought was “my best” really was “my best”.

I carry on his legacy and repeat those simple words to my kids constantly.

John Wray, account executive, Edmunds GovTech

Father: John James Wray

My father shared and lived, his view was always that “the glass is half full, so I see the same thing”

Tom Renzulli, electrician / South Jersey Beer Scene writer

Father: Lou Renzulli

Although my father passed away when I was just seven, he taught me some valuable life lessons. I definitely got my sense of humor from him. I also got my strong work ethic and understood quality work from my father. He would say "Quality cries once, but cheap cries forever" and "Good ain't cheap, and cheap ain't good.

Kim Petrella, art teacher, Seaview School Linwood

Father: Carlo deMarco

"Don’t forget to pray.” That’s my dad’s mantra. He can and does apply it to everything in life. Although he doesn’t need to, I’m grateful for the reminder as life has taught me that you can never underestimate the power of prayer.

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