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For My Father

Posted on August 16th, 2007 by Matt Brattin

On Sunday, August 5, 2007 my father, Tom Brattin, passed away. The following was his obituary as it appeared in one of the papers:


Thomas M. Brattin, 53, formerly of San Luis Obispo County passed away Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007, in Fresno, Calif.Tom graduated from San Luis Obispo High School in 1972 and quickly began his career in maintenance mechanics at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. His most recent position was as maintenance supervisor for California State University, Fresno Association. Tom loved building and flying radio controlled airplanes and was a member of the Fresno Radio Modelers Club for many years.He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Patty; children April (Josh), Matthew (Blanca) and Ashlynn; granddaughter, Cailyn; grandson due in September, Calvin Thomas; brothers Ken (Leslie) Brattin and Bob Brattin; sister, Sara (Burt) Johnson; father in-law Bill (Gloria) Smith; nephews Jason Smith and Burt Johnson, Jr.; nieces Rebecca Pallmann, Angela Smalley, Hailey Johnson, and Shawna Johnson.He was preceeded in death by his father, Melvin Haile Brattin; mother, Edith Anne Brattin-Nervo; mother in-law, Frances Smith; brother in-law, Barry Smith.

In the last two years it seems I’ve lost a number of loved ones in my life. Just over a year ago while I was in New York I lost my uncle, Barry Smith, to a mindless act of violence. The best way I could describe my relationship with him was always kinda like a second father. He is the reason I got into martial arts and he was always the one I loved to discuss my training with. I looked up to him in many ways and it was, until just recently, the most painful news I ever received when I learned that his life had been taken …just three months after retiring from the CHP with over 30 years of service and just six months from receiving his degree in criminal justice. I think about him often and will never forget him.Now, my own father, has also been taken from me unexpectedly. We never really saw any signs that he had any health problems, so when I learned of his heart attack it came as a great shock. We were all extremely hopeful that he would be able to make some sort of recovery, but after being deprived of oxygen for an unknown amount of time and later suffering seizures, he was left essentially with very little brain function in only his cerebral cortex. After over a week of emotionally draining observation and praying, he was taken off life support and passed peacefully Sunday morning…My dad was a loving, caring, hard-working, funny, and very smart man and I should be so lucky to have not only known him for 25 years, but to have been raised by him and to have had him as a role model throughout my life. He treated my mother so well, and I can only hope to be half the husband to Blanca that he was to my mom. Additionally, his work ethic and common sense approach to problem solving is something I also aspire to develop even more within myself as I continue to mature.He had a tool for everything, as I often used to say to friends, and if something presented itself where it didn’t seem as though he had the right tool…he would just make his own.  It never ceased to amaze me the number of times I would begin working on something on one of my old cars where his mechanical prowess would just put my efforts to shame.For instance, the time I spent nearly two hours trying to replace a damaged hose from under the hood of my old ’79 Ranchero. After finally convincing myself there was no way to get the job done, I awoke my dad from his nap and said I needed his help. He followed me to the garage and as I handed him the tools I’d been using he simply walked back to his toolbox and returned with a screwdriver. A tad confused, I kept watching and just before he made his move he said to me, “you’re replacing that one right?” Still unsure what his plans were, I said, “yeah…got the new one right over there.” With that, he jabbed the hose with the screwdriver and gave it a yank and what-do-ya-know, he accomplished in about 1.3 seconds what I had been working on for nearly two hours.That’s just how he operated, and I like to think I picked up some of his creativity over the years, but I know I’ll never, ever reach the levels he was at. I don’t really know what else to say, other than I loved my father greatly…still do…He will be missed, but absolutely never forgotten.Rest in peace dad…until we meet again…

2 Responses to “For My Father”

  1. April Davidson Says:

    I really like the story about the hose, I can see and hear that little scene playing out in my head. I love you brother!

  2. Matt Brattin Says:

    Love you too sister! Looking forward to hearing when Calvin Thomas is going to make his debut!

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