Memories from his daughters
Howard L. Aslinger June 20, 1940 – June 16, 2009
Howard never talked much about having polio, he always felt like he was one of the lucky ones. But we are all the lucky ones just to have had the pleasure of knowing him. He would always say it is not a handicap just an inconvenience and there was always someone worse off than him. Life wasn’t easy coping with polio or the hard, big, bulky braces, large wheelchairs and numerous surgeries he endured but you would never know.
He never was much of an ice cream eater and he always thought it was due to the fact that everyone would bring ice cream to the hospital for the children, like that would make them forget the horrible illness that they had.
His mom was like most moms at that time, wondering what she did wrong that her son contracted polio. She was great’ she taught him he could still do anything he wanted. With her help he was able to do a lot of what other children did, she would lift him and carry him when she needed to which allowed him to accomplish a lot. He was able to learn how to drive with hand controls made by his brother-in-law Charles Smith.
He was an inspiration to a lot of people and a hero to his family. He didn’t let not being able to walk keep him from having a home, a family, a job and a life full of activities. He did so much despite his inconvenience when a lot of people would have quit. He taught his daughters and many others that quitting was not an option; you always finish what you start.
He was a leader, I know that all three of his daughters would follow him to the end of the earth and back if he asked.
He was a coach; he might have been a tough coach but was a damn good one and was one the joys of his life to be able to coach so many young people.
He was a businessman; he was an American Family Insurance Agent for 32 years and retired in July of 2007.
He was a husband, strong, loving, caring, protective, wonderful husband who gave mom everything she ever wanted or asked for and being loved by dad and 3 children and will be dearly missed.
He was a father, he was outnumbered with 3 daughters, but he taught all of us girls to be strong and independent and be the best we could be no matter what it was. In addition to the 3 of us girls, he welcomed our Aunt Pam, foster children, foreign exchange students, and many friends into our home and naturally treated them as his very own. He will always be our HERO!
Some of our best life lessons we as his daughters remember learning are:
Always check your oil in your car even if it means checking it daily and to take pride in your car and keep it clean especially the wheels and tires, if there were whitewalls they had to be white even if the rest of the car was dirty.
If someone hits you, you have full range to go back at them, with his permission, don’t start the fight but finish it.
If any boy picks on you just kick him in the shins that will knock him down.
If you are smaller than someone especially in soccer the ref can’t see you throw elbows.
When playing with the boys you may be smaller but that’s ok as long as you’re tougher.
You can do anything you set your mind and heart to.
Believe me we could go on and on but just wanted to touch on some of our favorite memories that will be instilled in us forever.
He was a father in law, he loves his son in laws as his own children, he was especially proud to see Bryan finish his 100 mile race and said he could not have been prouder if he was his own son. He was truly excited and proud when Cory asked for Shelley’s hand in marriage. He loved that John gave him two more granddaughters to love, and his first grandson, considering how outnumbered he was.
He was a grandfather, Maddie thinks of him as her hero and her biggest role model. She says “my pawpaw taught me that as long as you try to do your best anything is possible, you just have to have a little faith in yourself. “ J.D. and Abbie say, “pawpaw helps us catch the ball and hit the ball harder and way farther” He definitely enjoyed watching them play. Pawpaw could make Kenyan smile better than anyone else, all he had to do was say “hey buddy” and Kenyan would give the biggest grin.
He was a brother, as his older sister Bonnie said she thought she ordered him from a Sears Roebuck catalog (I think she ordered well), Anna his younger sister has so many fond memories of being on the farm and wrestling with a pig and getting into so much mischief together.
And he was an uncle; he gave all his nieces and nephews such a hard time but thought the world of them and their children. He used to tease them and threaten to put them with the trash and throw them away and always told them that an alligator got his legs.
We know all of you have many great stories and memories and we hope that you remember all the great times and accomplishments he had as long as we will.
As he would put it “his life was a success.”
Words from Rachel
I usually have a few glasses of wine before I get up in front of a group this size with a microphone. Howard would say that I could get drunk just by sniffing the cork!
My name is Rachel Bertrand, and I've been friends with Kim and the family since we were about 13 or so.
When I think back to the good ole days of playing soccer, I can't help but think of Howard. What a great gift he and Jean gave- their time and devotion- to us girls for so many years. He taught me everything I knew about the sport, including how to be tough so that I wouldn't get pushed around. I would go on to use that "get tough" lesson in more aspects of my life than just soccer. Being only 5 feet tall makes one an easy target for jokes. "Stand up Rachel!" was one that Howard used on me more than once, especially on the soccer field, I'll always remember that. He'd also find other ways to tease me or pick on me, I know that just meant that he liked me, and every now and then I'd give it right back to him and he'd just grin.
This one time I had traveled with the Aslingers to TanTara and Kim and I were in the back seat of the car and she and Howard were mouthing back and forth at each other about something, and we get to our destination, Howard parks the car and just says "Kim, why don't you just stay in the damn car". So she does. I get out and we must have been about 14 or so at the time and I didn't cuss around adults, I was always the sweet innocent one (still am), and so I'm getting out of the car, Howard's out, Jean's out, and Kim ain't movin. We stand there for a few moments, my car door still open, and I said to Howard, "Can Kim get out of the damn car yet?" and we all just laughed, and that's been a story that we like to reminisce about from time to time. I guess that's when I knew I was close enough to the family, when I could cuss in front of them and know I wasn't going to get in trouble.
There was the time that I had needed to get to a wedding reception, I believe I was staying with the Aslinger's at that time b/c my parents had just moved out of town and I didn't have a home anymore. So I needed to get to this reception, but I had sprained my ankle in a soccer game that day (it was the Final Four State Championship), and I needed a ride. Well it had been a long day and we had to get up at 4am to drive to Panama City beach for our Senior Trip (which Kim drove the entire way with only 2 stops!) and Kim was saying that she didn't want to go and didn't want to take me. Well Howard interviened and made her take me. Just like a dad would do when 2 siblings are arguing.
I have lots of good memories with the Aslingers, weekends away at soccer tournements, sometimes in 100 degree heat or in the pouring rain, and once even in the snow. There was lots of time spent just hanging out around their pool, seeing Kari and Kim get into almost a hair-pulling fight, Howard grilling burgers for us, watching movies in their basement, eating a yummy breakfast that Jean cooked up for us after a sleepover, babysitting Maddi and watching her grow up. Shelly was always big-sister-like to me too. The Aslinger's door was always wide open to me anytime, day or night.
Howard will always have a special place in my heart, as I've always felt I had a special place in his.
Happy Birthday and Happy Father's day, may you rest in peace and live a long healthy life in heaven.
And may we keep your memory alive so that your precious grandkids that are so young right now, always know what a great Pa-Paw you were.
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