#weekendcoffeeshare: Celebrating my Father’s Life

If we were having coffee, I’d be sharing anecdotes with you from the remarkable life of my father, Tony Greenfield. I can assure you that you would not be bored and that you would be asking for more.

Tony 9d

Tony Greenfield (1931-2019)

On Thursday of this week, about sixty family members and friends assembled in at the Nightingale Centre in Great Hucklow, North Derbyshire, to celebrate Dad’s life. There was plenty of tea and coffee and more sandwiches and cake than we could consume.

The intention was that it would be a happy event. That was even reflected in the dress code: Colourful and Happy. My personal attire was a light grey suit, pink tie and a Panama hat: a tribute to the way that my father often dressed.

We listened to contributions from seven family members and then seven friends from Tony’s long and distinguished professional career, finishing off with a couple of local friends. All of the contributions were brilliant reminders of Dad’s life. They were personal to the contributors and I was touched by them all.

If there had been time, we could have continued for a few more hours. He certainly packed a lot into his life.

My intention is to produce a booklet containing the notes of all of the contributors and a selection of photographs from the slideshow of Dad’s life that I had put together to play on the wall while people circulated around the room.

I related a couple of memories from my early life with my Dad and followed up with a poem that I had written on Wednesday evening. To put this into context for those of you who were not fortunate enough to know my father, he was always learning and teaching, he was a leading statistician and an excellent mathematician. He loved to travel and to invent. He was born in Chapeltown, on the edge of Sheffield, and died in Broomcroft House Care Home, on the other side of Sheffield.

More information about Tony Greenfield can be found on his Wikipedia Page.

Here is my poem.

The Decamile of Life – the life of Tony Greenfield

From Chapeltown to Broomcroft
Is a mere ten miles:
A decamile, mas o menos.
That’s not a long way,
But it took me almost eighty-eight years. 

I taught you all to estimate,
And to understand the errors.
Fifty-two thousand and eight hundred feet
Sounds like a very long way,
But it took me over thirty-two thousand days. 

That’s less than twenty inches a day!
But consider this:
I went via Bedford and Brocksford,
Healey and Hillsborough,
Grenoside and Millbush,
Lyme Regis, Lake District, Peak District.

I went to Barcelona, Budapest,
Linz, Oslo, Rimini,
Dortmund and Gothenberg,
Copenhagen, Helsinki,
Katmandu, Quito and Marrakesh. 

Skiiing in the Alps . . . AND on the River Tay.
Around the world, along my way.
Fiji, Bangkok and Chang Mai.
Nelson, New Zealand
To see my brother. I’d have liked to stay. 

Sydney and San Francisco,
The Amazon rain forest,
Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru,
Rio Napo and the Andes,
Islas Galápagos too. 

I’ve dined in Turin and Cagliari,
And Venice and in Rome,
In Ljubljana and in London,
Paris, Wroclaw and Stockholm,
In Tel Aviv and Vienna. 

And I’ll tell you this.
Everywhere I dined,
All over the world,
I’d spill gravy down my pink tie,
And I’d ALWAYS check my flies.
. . . THAT’S a lie!

So my life was just a decamile,
A very remarkable decamile,
Thirty-two thousand days.
Every inch and every minute,
For all of us, here today,
Has been full of laughs and smiles. 

Have fun!

© Lance Greenfield 2019


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Eclectic Alli.
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About Lance Greenfield

Blog: lancegreenfield.wordpress.com email: lancegmitchell@outlook.com I published my debut novel in December 2014: Eleven Miles. My second novel went live in February 2016: Knitting Can Walk!
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11 Responses to #weekendcoffeeshare: Celebrating my Father’s Life

  1. trentpmcd says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. I always think it is great when we celebrate a life, particularly when one has lived a good life and touched a lot of people. It sounds like your father lived a very good life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. momshieb says:

    What a lovely tribute! I’m sorry for your sadness, but how lucky your Dad was to have had such a rich and rewarding life. How lucky you were to have had him!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lance, sorry to meet you on such an occasion as this loss to your family, but it does look as a gain to me to get the chance to know you. My writing project is roughly similar but not as ambiguous. I’m writing up my own memories, but with a whole different purpose in mind. I’m capturing what I think are my most entertaining memories and telling them as if we were sitting around as friends, enjoying drinks and laughing – I call it first-person rowdy. I use a quick model of 2000 words or less so I can promise most readers a story in 10 minutes or less.

    I’ve decided to make my collection shareable so on the wisdom of my daughter, use a blog format which I’ve retasked as a story blog. You would be very welcome to check it (and perhaps a few stories) out as one way for you to share the memories of your father. https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/

    I lost my own dad several years ago and still miss him. Shall we lift our mugs and recall both of them with honor and appreciation for lives well lived.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry for your loss! Celebrations of life are such a great way to honour someone’s memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m happy about how you choose to celebrate your father. It is a worthy and very beautiful poem. Just by reading the poem I wished I would of known your father. Thank you for having coffee with us this week. I hope you’ll come back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ruth says:

    Sorry about your dad, Lance – beautiful poem in his memory, thank you for sharing ❤


  7. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    What a beautiful testimony. How lucky were all who knew him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ron Kenett says:

    Tony’s nomination letter to the 2004 Hunter award starts with the following:
    “Tony Greenfield was a journalist, specialising in technical and scientific reporting and feature writing, until he was 34. The managing director of a large stainless steel company asked him to join the OR section of the production control department. The reason was: “The OR section is full of very clever people who write reports that we (the board) don’t understand. I want you to write interpretations for us.” In the course of this work he came across several problems that he tackled himself. One was the ‘job shop problem’ about which there were many papers in academic journals. The problem was to find a solution that could be implemented as a clerical procedure. Praise from management for his solution of this and other problems encouraged him to take a degree in statistics externally from London University. He became committed to facilitating the understanding and application of statistical methods by uninitiated people who could benefit from them.” This combination of a practical perspective with unusual communication skills is what made Tony stand out.
    This energy and capabilities were channeled to ENBIS. He was president of ENBIS (2002-2003), the editor of the ENBIS News and motivator in the establishment of a magazine for ENBIS case studies. In 2009 he was awarded the ENBIS George Box Medal for outstanding contributions to Applied Statistics. In 2007 he was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Israel Statistical Association with a highly appreciated talk titled: The World Needs to Know – Communicating your work. This was also the title of the special session held in his honour at the 2016 ENBIS conference specially held at Sheffield, so that he could attend.
    Tony was a friend and someone looking forward. It is however difficult to embrace this optimistic view and not feel regrets at what could have been done now and in the future with his inputs and critical perspective. So, I do look forward to the future evolution of applied statistics but will miss his friendship and illuminating inputs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A lovely tribute to your father, Lance.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry about the loss of your dad, Lance. That is a lovely poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Considering that I’d been intending to write this poem for the whole of the month between his death and the party and that I only got around to writing it the night before the celebration, I was rather proud that I managed to bash out a decent effort that did him credit. I am sure that he would have enjoyed it.


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