A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Daddy Debrief:  Father, Teacher, Farmer, Jokester

By David DeWitt

My Dad passed suddenly and peacefully four days after Christmas at the age of 91. Though his health had been declining over the last few years, I agree with the numerous people who have said “One is never prepared for the passing of a parent.”

My early childhood memories came rushing back first, many of them bold and clear as if they happened yesterday. It could be because he was the most patient teacher with me when I was around Finn’s age. He showed the same patience with his many grandchildren. I try to be that patient with Finn now.

He was a man who loved humor. He consistently called our friends by anything other than their given names, leaving them a little confused until they eventually “got him”. And he often shared jokes he had written at meal times. We always laughed, not because they were always funny, but he had a way with the delivery.

Animals loved my Dad and, at home, he almost always had a dog at his side for which he would provide a speaking voice. Many mornings I woke to the ongoing “dialogue” between my Dad and our pet.

And my Dad loved the weather. He had a rain gauge, barometer, and a few other things which he checked regularly, recording daily totals on his calendar. When conversations with him turned to talking about the weather, that’s when he had plenty to say. In one of my early memories of our farm, I remember my Dad standing at the edge of a field as rain began to pour. Relieved that a long dry period was ending he said, “Ahh. Finally getting some rain. I’m the happiest man alive!”

My oldest brother Wyatt wrote my Dad’s obituary and with his permission I’m sharing it here:

Mr. James Wyatt DeWitt, 91 of Dadeville, passed away Saturday, December 29, 2018 at Russell Medical Center in Alexander City, AL.

James DeWitt was born May 23, 1927 in Greensboro, AL. He joined the Navy out of high school and after discharge returned to attend Auburn University earning a Masters Degree in Vocational Agriculture. Over the next 39 years he taught high school Vocational Agriculture and Construction inspiring students, some who have continued to visit him. He was a member of the United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday School Class and participating in activities including mission trips, some internationally. Through the years he also owned and operated a farm and nursery. His love for construction, farming and growing plants continued into retirement. He contracted the building of a house on Lake Martin that included a wood shop, conservatory for plants and vegetable garden.

His greatest love was for his surviving wife of 64 years Roselyn DeWitt and six children Wyatt DeWitt, Carol Txipama, Tim DeWitt, David DeWitt, Andy DeWitt and Lyn Allen, 12 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

He is also survived by siblings Oscar DeWitt, Tom DeWitt, Robbie Jones and Bill DeWitt.

He is predeceased by his brother Sam DeWitt.

Memorial Service will be held, Friday, January 11, 2019, 2:00 PM at Auburn United Methodist Church Founders Chapel. Visitation will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to the AUMC Mission Fund P.O. Box 31356 Auburn, AL 36831.