Father's Day: A Message from CEO Loria Yeadon
Last updated: March 22, 2023, at 5:00 a.m. PT
Originally published: June 19, 2020, at 8:28 a.m. PT
Dear Y Family and Friends,
Today, we celebrate the incredible impact that Dads have in our lives. Fathers are some of our first teachers, sports coaches, "Uber drivers," spiritual leaders and heroes. My Dad, Eugene Baskerville, was the rock of our family and community and the smartest businessman I have ever known. Yes, I had a deep adoration for my Dad.
Sadly, I lost my Dad when he was 49 years old to lung cancer just after I graduated with a master's in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Having only achieved a sixth-grade education, his dream for me was to be a bank teller, one of the more accomplished jobs for women in my rural, factory home town in Kenbridge, VA. When he watched me cross the stage at GA Tech and saw me draped with my golden chords at graduation, I could see the pride in his eyes. I had accomplished his wildest dreams for me.
With his sixth grade education, my dad worked hard to build a better life for our family. He had worked for the Parham family's logging company since he was a teenager, and he worked his way up in the business and purchased it in his early 40s.
I was in awe of his physical and mental strength. Once, I saw him cut down a tree in the forest, put it on his left shoulder, and carry it to our back yard where he planted it in the ground and stood up a basketball hoop just so that my sisters and me could play. He would come home after working sun up to sun down and still have energy for a pick-up basketball game with me.
I also witnessed my Dad's mental strength when he held his tongue during encounters with blatant racism and attacks to his humanity to protect himself and his family. It's been more than 30 years since he passed away, and my adoration and inspiration to fight on remain.
It's because of strong men, like my Dad, on whose shoulders we stand, that we remain hopeful and grateful for the opportunity to press forward every day for the humanity of all people and equity and justice for all.
Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of my Dad and all Fathers, and Father figures, past and present, in the Y Community who inspire us every day to build on their legacy, model their strength, achieve their wildest dreams, and strive for a better us.
Happy Father's Day!
In gratitude and community,
Loria B. Yeadon
President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Seattle