My Dad Turns 90

Category: Family

Dad and JimMy Dad, James F. Carey, turned 90 on August 6th, 2012. It was the

following Labor Day weekend, September 1st, before we could get the family together for a celebration.

We got together at Dad's place in Greensboro, NC. We started the celebration by reading and presenting a Proclamation of Recognition from the City of Troy, MI, for the contributions that Dad made to the city master zoning plan, back when he was on the city and county commissions during the 1950's and 60's.

It was the zoning plans that Dad envisioned and helped put in place that made Troy the "Silicon Valley of the Midwest" today, and the 22nd most desirable place to live in the US.

Reading the Proclamation 

That's me reading the Proclamation aloud. That's my brother Mark taping the ceremony - his video is below.

Yes, I've gained a lot of weight in the past year. <<sigh>>


You can download all of the photos and videos on this page, in their original high-res versions, at




Dad's Proclamation

This is the Proclamation. You can click on it to get a PDF version of it.

The city motto of Troy is, "The City of Tomorrow, Today." Has been since it incorporated into a city in 1955. Dad had a lot to do with making that come true.


More about Troy:,_Michigan



Jim reading the Proclamation 

Here's Dad listening, incredulous. This was arranged primarily by my sister Cheryl; Dad was totally surprised at what he was hearing me read.

The honor was so unexpected that it brought tears to his eyes. I know because I saw him surreptitiously wipe them away.

Inez put the framed Proclamation on the middle of the living room wall, in a prominent place of honor.

Dad told me the next day that he got up in the middle of the night and read it again, he was so honored and surprised...



Jim and Dad


Presenting the Proclamation to Dad, the "incredible shrinking man." When I was a kid Dad was 6'2" tall. I'm 5'10", and look how much shorter than me he is now! That's what aging will do to you. Take note, young family members...







Dad, Jim and Inex 

Me, Dad and my dear Step-Mom, Inez.









Mark and Dad 

My brother Mark and my Dad, talking about the things that brought this all to pass, most of which happened before Mark was born.









Dad in a quiet moment, reading it again. Incredulous, surprised and very honored.

After the family ceremony we spent some time with my brother and his family, but they had to get back home to Charlotte. His daughters are 1 and 3 years old, and it's a long trip from Greensboro to Charlotte.





  Dad at the Pub

At the Pub. When the girls heard that it was his 90th birthday they went all out to make it a big celebration.

Here's what I learned from Dad about getting old: when you get to be his age, you'll suffer any indignity in the name of fun, even if the girls want to decorate you with balloons!

Well, yeah, the Tam-O'-Shanter hat Dad chose to wear says something, too. LOL - with love.


After a great supper at the pub, Jason and Devlin took me and Dad to a strip club. I don't have any pictures because they took our cell phones/cameras away. Oh, well!

I'll just say this about the evening: Bring a three-generation party to a strip club and the girls give you LOTS of attention. Showing up in a couple of $70,000 convertibles didn't hurt, either.

After two hours Dad said to me, "Son, please tell the boys I said 'thank you,' and that I've had a great time. I haven't done this in years. I didn't even know this place was here. But I've had enough sex for this year. Can we go home now?

"Oh, by the way, can you show me how to find my way back here?"


So home we went at midnight, but with plans for Sunday morning...

Sunday - The Party Continues

Dad and Devlin

Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. - Jason, Devlin and I showed up at Dad's to pick him up and go play golf. We wanted to beat the crowds so we could take our time and have the course to ourselves.

He was up and ready to go.


Here's Dad and Devlin in my '12 Shelby Cobra Mustang convertible. I was driving my son's new Jaguar convertible when I took this photo at a traffic light.

Cigars for everyone, compliments of Dad! Guys day out.

Whose car is faster? We'll have to take both cars to the Waterford Raceway the next time I go to Michigan, and find out.

Until then, Devlin says my car is definitely cooler. My son's car, however, sounds much cooler. Of course, that's because he's removed four of the five mufflers on it. Dern hot-rodding kids! <<LOL - Jason's 39>>

Dad at the golf course

Dad drove the golf cart but didn't play.

Background information: When I was a kid, Dad shot in the 80's, 10 to 12 over par. This, despite having an artificial leg.

Huh? An artificial leg?


During WW2, at the age of 22, at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, Dad was hit by a mortar shell during day three. The battlefield hospital did what they could to save his leg, but gangrene set in, and after several weeks and three operations he ended up losing his left leg above the knee.

Dad spent almost two years in the US Army hospital in Austin, TX, recuperating physically and emotionally, and learning to swim, dance, bowl, golf, ride horses and drive a car with a wooden leg (there were no automatic transmissions back then).


So I grew up with this one-legged man I call Dad, a man who would hop around the house on weekends as if he didn't have a disability at all. Indeed, he used to joke that the VA considered him 60% disabled, but he figured it only slowed him down by 5%.

When I was a kid Dad would golf, go horseback riding, jump out of the hay loft on my Uncle's farm with us kids, take us rowing, fishing and white-water canoeing. In addition to playing golf and other athletic activities, Dad was a great dancer.  He could even Jitterbug and Samba.  In fact he and Mom went dancing one night when she was 9 months pregnant with me, and had all their friends concerned when they saw them doing the Samba--Mom only smiled and said she was fine - I was born 3 days later.

Dad taught me to sail, taught me to kick a football like a champ (Dad was the star of his high school football team at Holy Redeemer in Detroit), coached me to my Eagle Scout badge at the age of 14, and - most important of all - taught me that disability is a frame of mind, not a physical condition.


He's a great guy, and was a great father to me.


However, a few years ago Dad's doctor convinced him to have his right knee - his good knee - replaced, because of the pain it was giving him.

The knee replacement did not go well. Some do, some don't, and Dad's didn't.

So now, as Dad says, he's got a bad knee and no knee. Because of that he had to give up golf, and doesn't get around well. Thus the cane that you see in some of the photos.


Devlin on the fairwaySo no golf for Dad this day. Still, he really enjoyed being out on the course, watching his grandsons play.

I think it was the companionship, combined with the emotion we feel as we see our legacies - and our lives - continuing through our children, and their children, and then their children.

The four of us had a wonderful day together - we were outside with fresh air, sunshine, birds singing, crickets chirping, beautiful scenery and great companionship. Golf was incidental to the experience.


I present the following videos for the pure entertainment that they are; Jason took a one credit course in golf at Oakland University (MI) a few years ago. Devlin, former star of his high school football team, is learning golf from Jason, his cousin.

I, JAMES E. CAREY, DO HEREBY RESOLVE that I will not make fun of their golf games.

Please enjoy the videos, listen to the birds singing, listen to the clink of the driver against the golf ball, and listen to the near-immediate secondary thuds as the ball hits trees, benches, trash cans and other obstacles (clink!, clank!, crunch!, bang!, boom!).


By the time Jason and Devlin had gotten off the first tee I saw why they wanted to get out on the course before church got out and the links got crowded.

<<stifled LOL>>

Enjoy the videos! I sure do! I especially love the ones that go "clink.... clunk!"



You can download all of the photos and videos on this page, in their original high-res versions, at


Comments from Friends and Family:


Oh my, what a wonderful family you have! I just loved reading about your Dad and his contributions. He seems like a really sweet guy. So great that you and your brother and offspring were there to celebrate his 90th birthday. And such a nice tribute to write it all down on the web site. Or should it be write it all up on the web site? I’m never sure. In any case, you are surely a gifted writer. You even got me to watch all those golf videos, just to hear the clinks and clunks. I can’t wait for the book!!

- Loretta


Hi, Jim!

GOSH!!! I am so honored that you shared this very special event with me.  Gosh!  That is so awesome.  I loved reading all about your dad.

I have not watched the golf videos, however.  How amazing that you still have your dad at age 90, even after all he has been through!  What a blessing!  (I lost both of my parents when they were 72.  They would have been 95 this year!)

I was interested in the Proclamation that you read to your dad.  I worked for SIX YEARS in Troy, MI!  It was on Maple Road (15 Mile, between Coolidge and Crooks).  I sure miss Michigan this time of year! It was my "happy place" in the fall, but I have not returned in 17 years, alas.

You are blessed and can be truly honored to have your dad!  I am so sorry about his failed knee replacement.  I know very few people who have successful knee replacements, my mom included (twice), but that was years ago.  I assume they do a better job, now.

Thank you, again, for sharing your family celebration with me!



Yuppers!  I LOVED Troy!  I just love Michigan, period.  I worked right around the corner from the Somerset Mall, where I went every day at lunch to "walk the mall" for exercise!  I used to arrange for business meetings at Sebastian's Fish restaurant.  Did you know that one?

I also worked part-time for 3 years  at a vegetarian restaurant, "Pure 'n Simple" on Rochester Road! I spent a lot of time enjoying Birmingham and especially Franklin. 

When my children were very young, I lived 9 years in West Bloomfield (Orchard Lake and Square Lake Roads) and 6 years in Bloomfield Hills (Square Lake and Woodward).  :-)  Michigan was truly my "happy place!"  But I cannot go back because I cannot recreate the happiness, joy and fulfillment I knew in Michigan.  (Sadly, I no longer have any happiness, joy or fulfillment in my life in Arizona.)

I live with some very awesome memories of my life in Michigan, though.  One of my favorites was driving down the streets in Birmingham when there were 3' of colored leaves in the fall or fluffy snow in early winter.  Or the "canopy trees" there that reached across the roads and touched.  What a yummy place Michigan is.  I think I will pray to return there for my next life's journey.  :-)



You said, "Yes, I've gained a lot of weight in the past year. <<sigh>>"
Well, welcome aboard! You did NOT think you were going to escape that, did you?


Jim, loved it, especially the golf videos.  Can't wait to see Marks videos.  I loved the part when you said " I hereby proclaim" in honor of the proclamation.  My memory might be wrong, and it might not fit in the story, but I believe the first time Dad took Mark golfing, he just drove the cart, and drove it into a tree!  "Rookie!" 

I am sorry I could not be there, but I think it was the perfect decision to present his gift with his sons & grandsons.  I am glad you were able to make it an experience for him. 

Tim & I went to see him on his 88th and Inez even came with us to the "pub" he hangs out at.  Everyone knew it was his b'day, took great care of him, and all was "on the house" when we departed.
Great golf videos, did they play that bad all day?  Embarrassing!  But hilarious!

- Sister #3


Just another thought, how Dad was the commentator at St. Thomas More, and also in the choir, and every Sunday I remember we had to sit in the front pew because Dad wanted to sit with his family.  Before Mark got married there, we went to a mass and Dad was given recognition from the current priest for his diligent past contributions during the service.  He got to stand up and take a bow.  As you can imagine, he loved that!

- Sister #3





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