Dwight Herman Halfaker
...OH, how he is missed!!!!!!!!
Dad at 1 year old--1933
Dwight Herman Halfaker was born on September 19, 1932. He was the first child of Charles Daniel and Alma Lillian Jones Halfaker. Dwight was born in Bourbon, Crawford Co., Missouri and lived there most of his life. Alma was only 15 years old when she gave birth to Dwight. She always said that they "grew up" together.
Dwight was a happy little boy. Always curious about the world around him. He loved animals and had a little dog named Laddie that he talked about most of his life.
He never ceased to "wonder" at nature and the world around him...he loved being outdoors and usually played and worked outside.
Dwight at 2 years old.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Always a student, he was a devoted reader. He liked school and did very well, however when he was about 16 years old he quit school to work with his dad. Grandpa Charlie Halfaker owned a scrap metal business and had to make trips into St. Louis almost daily. Dwight learned to drive when he was about 10 years old and because he matured very early, by age 12 he grew a beard so that he could drive into St. Louis for his father.
Dwight grew up quickly, but was not prepared for going to war. He was drafted into the Army at the age of 19 and served his country in Korea as an ambulance driver. His experiences there would 'haunt' him the rest of his life. He told me many stories about picking up young men in body bags while the war was on. He actually worked in a MASH unit. When the movie and then the television show, M*A*S*H came out, I remember him saying that the guys he served with were just like the show with the exception of NO women where he was. He told me a story about a young black doctor who had just received his license to practice medicine before he was called to war.
Dad in Korea--circa 1954>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
This young doctor really impressed my dad and they spent time talking around the camp. Dad said it was one of the hardest jobs of his life when he had to retrieve that young man's body. The doctor had stepped on a land mine and been killed. Dwight saw a lot of horror in Korea and always said that with his experience there, it was NOT a conflict but rather a WAR!! Dwight caught pneumonia during a very cold winter and was shipped to an Army hospital in Japan, then finally released to return to his home.
When Dwight returned home, he started taking flying lessons as he had always dreamed of being a pilot. He was just hours short of getting his license when he stopped flying. Dwight worked for his dad for awhile after moving back to Bourbon, but soon wanted to start his own business.
He had always enjoyed watching people using "heavy equipment" so, he took some money that he had saved during the war and bought the newest equipment on the market. He taught himself to use the huge machinery for digging and excavating. He started his own business shortly after he got married. He called his business, "Halfaker Earth Moving". Dwight loved this kind of work, but the good people of Bourbon and the surrounding area did not pay on time and sometimes not at all. He decided in order to support his wife and "soon to be" family, he must find something that was a little more steady. Dwight had several jobs throughout the years, from a factory worker making piston rings for cars to owning his own scrap metal business as his dad had done. He worked for the Bourbon School District for over almost ten years as a bus driver before he became too ill to work. I always called him a "jack of all trades" and I truly believe that he had so many interests, he wanted to do it all!!
<<Wedding Day, 1956
Dwight had known who Dorothea Crawford was before he went off to war. Her father, Charles Crawford had asked him to dinner...knowing that his daughter thought Dwight to be a handsome and polite young man. He had Thanksgiving dinner with the Crawford family and started dating Dotty. They were married on February 17, 1956.
Heidi Alyce was born on January 28, 1957. Dwight, unlike other men, had said all through Dotty's pregnancy that HE wanted a girl!! Well, he got one and I ALWAYS felt very wanted and loved by my dad. He spent hours playing with me. He was a very demonstrative father, hugging and kissing me throughout his entire life. Dad was never afraid to show his wife and children how much he loved and cherished us!
Dad and Heidi-"Goofing Around"--1957>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
My dad loved nature. We used to spend his entire summer vacation on the beautiful tributaries of the Meramec River near Bourbon, where I grew up. Dad would swim with us and we could spend the entire day in the water. He loved to bow-hunt and was really a great aim...but, he was almost too 'tender-hearted' to kill any animal.
Dwight had a FABULOUS 'arm' and excellent vision. He could point out a target and hit it on the spot--really far away. He actually tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals when he was a young man, but when he made the trip to Peoria, Illinois they told him he needed special shoes to try out. Well, he tried out for third base instead. He said one young man out of probably 300 actually got a shot on the team.
Dwight was an extremely healthy person most of his life. He did mostly manual labor so he had a really strong body. We couldn't believe when he got sick in about 1992. When we finally talked him into seeing a doctor, the tests showed that he had had kidney disease and was in renal failure!! He lived for two years on peritoneal dialysis and finally in 1994 he went on hemodialysis. He was also diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes.
<<<Dwight and Dotty with their three oldest grandchildren: Shea, Cole and Kallie (baby)...1985
His health continued to fail once he started the dialysis and I believe that it was because he just "gave up." He was so active his whole life that the thought of being tied down to dialysis and illness made him more weak and sick. His eyesight was destroyed, he couldn't even read! Dwight had always been an avid reader and had never even needed glasses, until he got sick!! He became weaker and weaker and on September 20, 1998, exactly one day after his 66th birthday....we lost him.
My life will never be the same, but it is better because he raised me!! Dwight Halfaker was MY HERO!! He was a gentle loving man who read the bible all his life. I always felt that he knew the bible better than any preacher I have ever met. He was truly a "faithful disciple." On his tombstone, my brother and I had them put the old Russian proverb, "As Long as I am remembered, I will never die!" I can tell you--DWIGHT HALFAKER WILL LIVE FOREVER!!