† Tage Christian Johansen †
December 16, 1900 - February 10, 2004
Hvil i fred

Tage was my grandfather-in-law. He was an old-fashioned blacksmith and all-around handyman for most of his life, and remarkably spry for his years. When I met him, he was in his early 90s, and he was still climbing the plum trees in his yard to prune them.

He also had a grip that could bend steel - and years of hammering away at solid metal had left him with very little feeling in those strong hands, so he really had no idea of how hard he was squeezing. It was sort of a family in-joke that nobody would warn new arrivals in the family about this unfortunate combination. I have a strong grip, but when I first shook hands with him, that vise-like grip brought me to my knees. Ouch.

Tage shared a birthdate with my oldest son, and when we attended Tage's 100th birthday, just over three years ago, we also celebrated Lucas' 4th birthday. It was amusing to see Lucas looking at Tage's cake - yes, there were a hundred candles on it - and comparing it with his own.

Though any death is an occasion for sadness, I am glad that Tage managed to live a long and full life, and that his last years were not marred by any sickness or disability. He was lucid to the last. A nurse at the retirement home gave him a drink of water at 3 AM this morning, and chatted briefly with him, and Tage was as sharp as ever. When she came back to check on him half an hour later, he had died in his sleep.

It was a privilege to know him.