First and foremost, he was a lover of all things aeronautical.
He also wrote and edited guidebooks, not just about planes, but also about historical automobiles.
While in hindsight, my childhood was quite dysfunctional, I don't remember it being horrible. On the contrary, I think we had fun, for the most part. Dad was kind of like a big kid, which, of course, must have been hard for my mom. And, yes, I was a "Daddy's Girl."
Sadly, in the mid to late 1970s, he turned to alcohol for his psychiatric medication because not as much was known about mental illness, and it certainly wasn't talked about in polite company. Or even not so polite company. I'm pretty sure the #1 rule in our dysfunctional family was do not talk about the bad stuff. To anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. Perhaps if we didn't talk about it, it wasn't happening. At any rate, Dad was never formally diagnosed, but since one often, post-suicide, tries to figure out what happened, that all the events of his life were put together and analyzed.
Could his suicide have been prevented? Boy, people agonize over this question about every suicide, I imagine. They ask themselves what they could have done. Specifically, I believe he was on a suicidal trajectory at least most of his adult life, spiraling faster and faster downward (not unlike an airplane shot out of the sky). One of his heroes, after all, was Ernest Hemingway. When I got the call from my aunt, I was understandably shocked and devastated, but not actually surprised. Well, after I got over the shock, I was not surprised.
So the big question... could it have been prevented? It was not pre-meditated or planned. He was backed into a corner, so to speak, and apparently saw no way out. It's my belief that had he gotten help decades before, perhaps he would not have met with such a violent end. And that's why I have such hope today.
The more people talk about it, share their stories and struggles, both for themselves and their loved ones, perhaps the stigma of mental illness can be chipped away at and lives can be saved.
Help is out there.