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Let’s Recognize a 100 Year Old Advocate of the Best Kind | DDadvocates.com

Mom and Dad on 70th Anniversary October 2010

In keeping with the ddAdvocates initiative to recognize exceptional, programs and people that make a difference in the life or lives of persons with Developmental Disabilities, I’d like to recognize my Dad who will be 100 years old next week.  Dad is a strong, quiet man, not afraid of work, always ready to pitch in, who has made and continues to make a real difference in our daughter Deb’s life.

Over Deb’s 44 years, Dad and Mom were always there to help. When things got difficult dealing with physical issues and uncertainty, Kathy and I never felt that we were completely alone or without back-up.

  • In the early years, during Deb’s many medical emergencies, Dad and Mom were there to take in Deb’s sisters and brother (and sometimes even the dog)!
  • As Deb grew older, Dad would help with her ‘social service’ and other  projects
    • First collecting aluminum can tabs by the bagful from the KofC bar which Deb would donate for cancer research
    • Then it was greeting cards by the boxful from the KofC Bingo ladies; these she cut off the facing pages and sent them off to St Jude Hospital for decorations and craft projects
    • And finally, as her shredding business grew over the years, Dad landed the largest job in the history of DJ Shredding – 12,500 pounds from his friend and internist
    • When Deb showed an interest, Dad was there to encourage and help
  • Deb would take ‘vacations’ at Mom and Dad’s during long week ends and lazy summer weeks giving both her and us respite; and until just last year,  Mom and Dad  would take a week long summer vacation with us. (Kayaking at 90 + is not a bad life goal).
  • Dad has spent hours with Deb
    • Playing basic card games
    • Laughing at conversation and stories
    • Finding jobs she could do from a short beach chair in the garden
      • Pulling weeds from between the cracks of the driveway
      • Picking tomatoes and raspberries
      • Picking up apples that had fallen from the huge tree in their yard (this job required Deb wearing a helmet to protect her from the falling apples).
    • Casting fishing lines. watching bobbers, and winding  in hook after hook of weeds and an occasional fish
    • Watching baseball games

Dad continues to enjoy good health; he was always there to help me move equipment, put the wheelchair together, pull  the tri cart out of the car. At about age 80 Dad pushed Deb in a wheel chair up the hill to the Mackinac Hotel on the island.! That’s real aerobics (and stubbornness)!!

When I think of Dad and Deb, I often remember one year while Deb was on vacation with Mom and Dad. At the end of the week, we drove to the east side to pick her up. She proudly showed us a painting. It was a 1,000 Paint-by-Number picture of the clown, Emmitt Kelley. Knowing Dad, he was there for the whole process, helping Deb find the right color, helping her find each of the 1,000 shapes, telling her nice job, cleaning the brush, asking what shape and color she wanted to do next.

Dad is a strong, caring man who Deb feels at complete ease with as much today as in the past. The loving attention (common sense, care and compassion) she has received from him and our mother has contributed significantly to her well being and full life. Not surprisingly, each of his other grandchildren and great grandchildren feel the same way.

When talking about how to celebrate his birthday, Dad said “Heck, I don’t know, I’ve out lasted every body including the toaster we had for 50 years!!”  I think he would be surprised how many people would like to send him a card to congratulate him on this great day and thank him for being such a good example to us all.  If you are so inclined, please send the card to

Mr Diegel

40698 Brecken Ridge Lane

Plymouth, Mi 48170

One of the time warp things that Dad can’t get over is the price of a daily paper — $1.00 versus the penny papers when he was a kid. If you put one dollar in the card, I can guarantee that he will whistle all the way down the hall on the way to buy his ‘free’ paper!!!

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5 Responses to “Let’s Recognize a 100 Year Old Advocate of the Best Kind”

  1. Frank says:

    Great article — my cards is on the way

  2. Emma says:

    Happy Birthday Grandpa!!! Our card is on the way too =)

  3. maxine joseph says:

    Congratulations Grandpa Diegel,
    We've never known anybody that reached 100 years old,but now we do.
    Hope you and Grandma Diegel are doing well and God Bless you both.
    Love,
    Moolie and Maxine

  4. Ed Diegel says:

    Dad has asked me to pass on this message:

    "Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate my 100th Birthday.
    Thanks for the cards, prayers and the notes and the Newspaper Dollars!."
    Sylvester Diegel

    Our family appreciates the thoughtfulness of each of you. We were especially impressed with the number of cards that came from our friends at ddAdvocates. God Bless you all.

  5. Happy father's Day.,

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