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Cornelius News

Father’s Day remembrance from NC Sen. Jeff Tarte


Father’s Day 2017. By Jeff Tarte. My dad, William (Bill) Edward Tarte was born during the Great Depression, the third of eight children, in Aynor, S.C. He served in the Air Force during Korea and attended 2 1/2 years at the University of Illinois on the GI Bill. He met my mom, opened a television repair shop, and never left central Illinois. He served as an elected town official.

My dad was of significant stature in our small rural community despite standing 5’9″ and weighing only 135 pounds. As one of the “town patriarchs” my father spent hours in our living room with friends and neighbors who were seeking his help and advice.

Dad taught me the importance of a solid work ethic, completing accepted responsibilities, and keeping your word. All of this was instilled in me at an early age. We did not have much material wealth, but I never knew it. Wealth was garnered in relationships through family and friends. Respect and honesty were the highest rewards one could earn.

One of my dad’s favorite sayings, “no one can ever take away your integrity or character, you can only give them away.” You could call my dad every curse word in the book and they would roll off him like rain on a duck. However, there was no worse insult than to call him a liar.

The single most important thing my father gave me was responsibility and the insight to understand the associated expectations. Increased responsibilities under his watchful eye and patient hand prepared me for appreciating the successes and handling the failures I have experienced in life.

At age 49 (I was 26) my father drowned in a boating accident. To understand how my dad affected people, there was one man who came from three states away to attend my dad’s funeral. He had met my dad one time and talked to him for only one hour.

My father is my role model.

—NC Sen. Jeff Tarte is the former mayor of Cornelius, a long-time resident and the father of three. He lives on Belle Isle Drive with his wife Dr. Nancy Tarte