|Happy Father’s Day|
Philip C. Galanis
Published: Jun 18, 2012
“And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?” – Khalil Gibran.
Yesterday was Father’s Day, a day we normally set aside to honor our fathers, perhaps the single most important person who, after our mothers, represent the most significant, pivotal and inspiring person in our lives.
In the early hours of Wednesday, June 6, 2012, the ICU bedside of my father, and the father of my other eight siblings, was surrounded by those siblings, my mother, his loving wife of 58 years, most of his grand-children and Fr. Glen Nixon. At 12:18 a.m., in the words of my loving spouse, Tonya, my father “was carried from time to eternity by sweetly uttered assurances that his labor had not been, nor would be, in vain”.
Therefore this week, we would like to dedicate this installment of Consider This… to our father, Clifford Neville Galanis.
He was born in Staniard Creek, Andros on March 15, 1934 to the late Zelma Mae Antonio of Andros, and the late Drosos Galanos of Kalimnos, Greece.
As an infant, he and his mother moved to Nassau, where he grew up and spent the remainder of his life. Because of the hardships of the Great Depression, his mother was forced to move to the United States for several years to work on “The Contract,” leaving him in the care of his maternal “Aunt Ross” with whom he maintained a close bond until her death.
He was educated at Western Prep, Western Junior, and Eastern Senior Schools, but, financial constraints prevented him from attending high school. Instead, he worked to help his mother pay rent, put food on the table, and make ends meet. At age 13, he found his first job at The Nassau Hobby Horse Race Track where he initially fed and walked horses, eventually becoming a jockey. Thus began his lifelong love of horses and horse racing.
Although he loved the race track and established many lifelong friendships there, he realized that this work was seasonal, and that it did not provide prospects for much advancement, or for a long-term career.
Dad therefore pursued his education, which he saw as key to achieving his goals. He enrolled in evening classes under the tutelage of the late great educator, Donald Davis, and eventually completed a high school equivalency. Years later, after sending many of his children to college, he finally went back to school to continue his formal education, enrolling at Florida International University. In 1984, at the age of 50, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering, with Honors.
When he was 17, he met Zoë Neely of the Bluff, Eleuthera, and immediately fell in love with her. After pursuing her, dad eventually won her heart and her hand in marriage. They got married in 1954 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and honeymooned at a beach house in Adelaide.
His young wife bore him nine children, most of whom he personally delivered. Dad was an excellent provider, serving as the family’s sole breadwinner for most of their marriage. By the age of 25, he purchased a piece of property in Oakes Field, and built a home for his family with his own hands.
In 1956, he joined the maintenance staff at the now defunct Emerald Beach Hotel, repairing the electrical, refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.
Three years later, he accepted the position of assistant chief engineer at Nassau Beach Hotel. By 1965, he had passed both the Single-Phase, and the Triple-Phase Electrical Contractor’s Examinations, making him a licensed three-phase electrical contractor. In 1967, he was promoted to chief engineer at Nassau Beach Hotel, and held that position for the next 13 years.
After 20 years at Nassau Beach Hotel, he accepted a position as director of engineering of Resorts International on Paradise Island, thus becoming the first Bahamian to occupy that position. In 1992, at the request of George Myers, president of the Myers Group, dad moved to the Radisson Cable Beach Hotel, where he served as director of engineering until his retirement in 2000 due to ill health.
Dad was an attentive and meticulous husband who absolutely adored and was extremely protective and affectionate toward mom, constantly complimenting her beauty, her goodness, her warm and generous spirit, and her cooking skills.
He often spoke of her total dedication to him, especially in the last few years when his physical disability demanded her constant care, effort, and attention. He truly appreciated her, and sang her praises to whoever would listen, even up to the last few minutes that he spoke.
Dad was a hands-on father, who often rushed home to wash diapers or help with homework, even after working an extremely long and hard day. He set very high standards for his children and led by example.
He emphasized education, and ensured that all nine of his children either went to college, flight school or both. He and mom insisted that their children be given constant spiritual nourishment. Growing up, the family never missed Sunday Mass, and, after retirement, he and mom often attended Daily Mass until he was no longer physically able to do so.
On Saturday past, we buried our father at St. Francis and in the funeral booklet many of his children and grand-children offered tributes to dad. Although each tribute bore similar themes of his goodness as a man, a husband and father, perhaps the one that most poignantly captures his spirit was written by his third child, Stephen, and we wanted to share it with you:
The Lion Sleeps
Stand aside! Please! Mighty angels, Give us room that we might grieve,
Make way! Make way, you sons of God, our father’s spirit takes its leave
Mournful tears so deep and many for this Old Lion called away
But with our laughter we will greet him on his resurrection day.
Tall he stood, proudly he walked, this mighty leader of the pride.
In open battle, faced his challenge, he would neither flinch nor hide.
“And like a lion, who dares rouse him?” This old Judah in his time,
Mighty fearsome, maned young lion, fought and won when in his prime.
Now rest Old Lion from your warfare, know your pride is safe, secure
All your cubs are grown and able; all their steps are firm and sure.
Know your Queen is well-protected, all your cubs, their strength they lend
To protect, comfort and keep her, her support and her defend.
Rest Old Lion, rest in peace now, you have fought your final fight
Your brave spirit lives in us now, all your wisdom, all your might.
We who issued from your belly, bow our heads and here we weep
Not too long, and not too loudly. Let the mighty Lion sleep.
We love you Dad!
And so, as we celebrated his life on Saturday past and remembered him yesterday on Father’s Day, we wanted to honor him today by paying tribute to our dad, who lovingly sacrificed so much for so many during his short 78 years sojourn.
Sometime before he died, dad wrote his own obituary which was included in the funeral booklet, as well as a loving letter to mom in which he concluded, “So you see my darling wife – I believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – His promise to keep. I did not die, I have only fallen asleep. With Love, dad.”
Because of dad’s time spent with us and the love he showered on his family, for each of us, every day will be a Happy Father’s Day.
• Author’s note: You can access his entire funeral booklet on Facebook at “In loving memory of Clifford Galanis”. Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
|Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 15:14|