You boys didn’t have the chance to know your dad’s brother because he passed away at the young age of 42.
First, he was 15 years older than your dad. He was the oldest child in your dad’s family. He graduated with a masters from UNT, and spoke 5 languages. He became a teacher and taught in a local high school. He took teaching very seriously, and won the Teacher of the Year Award one year.
He was also a gourmet cook. In some ways your dad got his love of cooking from his mom and dad, but I can also see how his brother had a huge influence on his cooking style. Nan and Pop cooked very traditional hispanic meals. They rarely used sauces or tried new things. Don’t get me wrong, they made some of the best meals I have had, just very traditional. Your uncle was one for trying new recipes, using a lot of sauces, and often times he would try unique ingredients or techniques. He also love to eat out at very nice restaurants.
Every year he would have season tickets to the opera. Going to the opera with him was a big deal. He first would take whomever he was going with to a very nice bruch, and then to the show. During my first pregnancy he took me a few times. He said he wanted the baby to start being exposed to good music.
He loved all types of music. Maybe it was my age, but at the time it seemed like he had more albums than I had ever seen.
He dressed very nicely all the time. I don’t think I ever saw him in a pair of jeans. It was always a pair of slacks and a dress shirt. Although, many of his dress shirts were guayaberas.
I don’t know the name for this, but he wanted everything done in very specific ways. For example, his shirts in his closet were housed by color from light to dark and then alphabetical order by color name (ie. black before blue). Every pair of shoes he had were in a shoe horn. He was also that way with general things in the house. If you moved anything in the house, he would notice it almost immediately, and move it back into place.
Lastly, he loved all his nieces and nephews. Anytime we came by with you kids, he would immediately come to get one of you and take you to feed you candies and play games. One of the things he would give you all the time were these little mints called Andes Candes.
As I said earlier, he passed at the age of 42. He had been a diabetic for a long time and his kidneys had been failing for a year or more. We had seen him the night before and he was in good spirits after a surgery. The surgery had gone very well, and everyone thought he would have a full recovery. He died the next day around noon. It was very quick and unexpected. He was not married and had no children.