In 1978, at the age of 63, when most people are planning for their retirement, my father began studying a course for locksmithing.
He successfully completed the program the following year and joined both The Association of Ontario Locksmiths and the Associated Locksmiths of America, being accredited as an active member in both organizations in 1983.
His enthusiasm for this new career was soon shown by his eagerness to broaden his knowledge.
In the years that followed, he continued to develop his locksmithing skills, taking over twenty-five additional training seminars and courses offered through both Associations as well as manufacturers and distributors.
He enjoyed the challenge of the work, taking pride in being able to pick a stubborn lock, open a car with the latest security devices, or fit a key to an unusual or old lock.
He also felt that he was providing a needed service to the community. This was confirmed by the loyalty of his clients who dealt with him over the years.
One client aptly described him as a “true scholar of locksmithing”, pursuing knowledge and learning how things worked purely because he enjoyed doing so.
He never intended to impress someone down the road with what he had gleaned – although that would often happen anyway – nor would he learn simply to improve his resume or hone his job skills.
He just had a desire to understand those things around him, whether they be cars or safes or our clients’ door hardware.
Many people were surprised to learn his age, but it was the work that kept him active.
In the summer of 2001, he was bedridden and diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I know he was deeply frustrated that he was unable to go out on service calls but, even to the end, he was able to offer advice to me and my brother when a job presented a problem.
He passed quietly at home, on September 22, 2001 in the embrace of his family.