Rightfully so, Tom Brokaw would have called Darragh H. McFaddan Jr. a member of “The Greatest Generation.”
I was privileged to call “Mac” my friend.
Mac, who would have been 100 next August, passed away in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day. He had been in the ICU and was failing in health but not in strength of mind or spirit. Dorothy Brandt spent the afternoon before his death sitting beside his bed in the ICU. When she called on Thursday to let me know he was gone she said that Mac wouldn’t let go of her hand.
Dorothy and Mac, both great examples of “The Greatest Generation,” shared a common bond as World War II veterans, and they and other veterans would share coffee on Thursday mornings at the SLV Museum. I’m sure those morning coffees will never be the same without Mac.
Mac was also well known in the “water world” of the San Luis Valley. The Scotsman from Texas came to the San Luis Valley to serve as our division engineer for Colorado Division of Water Resources Division 3 (the Rio Grande Basin, or San Luis Valley.) Everyone who has worked in the water office for any length of time has known Mac as an expert, a mentor, a father figure and a friend.
Even to the end, Mac was attending water meetings. He knew more about this basin than I would ever hope to learn.
He knew about a lot of subjects, and when he said something, I listened to his words, because they were worth listening to.
I enjoyed the visits to our office from Mac and daughter Anne who stayed with her father the last few years and had cared for her mother Dottie before her passing. No one could ask for a better and more dedicated caregiver than Anne, who called every day with her father a blessing.
They would come by to talk water, politics and faith, and of course Mac would get a piece of chocolate from my candy basket to satisfy his sweet tooth.
I will greatly miss those visits.
I know Mac needed to rest. I know he had a long life that was well lived and productive, a life that enriched and blessed so many of us. I know at age 99 it was time for this member of The Greatest Generation to be laid to rest with military honors, as he will be tomorrow in the Alamosa Cemetery.
I still selfishly cried, though, when I heard that he was gone. I cried not for him, but for me, because I will miss him.
I do plan on seeing him again, though, and I know I will have to stand in line to get a hug because his will be a popular reunion party.
It will be worth the wait.