published Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Mohney: A loving Father's Day tribute to father-in-law

By Nell Mohney

During my 38 years of writing this column, I've often mentioned my father, the late J.W. Webb of Shelby, N.C. On this Father's Day, I'd like to pay tribute to my father-in-law, the late Dr. S.P. Mohney of Lexington, Ky. He was truly "a prince of a man." Being a member of the medical profession, his personal attributes of patience, kindness and skill seemed only to enhance his profession.

Yet he never sought to influence either of his four sons to follow his career path. Two sons were businessmen; one was an ophthalmologist, and one, my husband Ralph, was a Christian minister. Each has had a strong life structure, including religious faith, love of family and commitment to their individual professions. He loved each of his 10 grandchildren and provided appropriate board games, from Monopoly to Scrabble, for their visits. The grandchildren called him the "great game player."

I liked my father-in-law's optimism and his ability to appreciate the feelings of others. He was one of the kindest persons I have ever known. Laughingly, I've often told people that it was my father-in-law who convinced Ralph to propose to me. It was long after we were married that my husband told me the story.

Ralph and I met at a world conference of Christian youth in Oslo, Norway. Following the conference, he was my counselor on a Methodist Youth Caravan to Warsaw, Poland. Upon our return to the States, Ralph and his parents invited me to their home in Lexington for a long weekend. At the end of the first evening, my father-in-law -- "Doc," as we called him -- went to Ralph's room and said, "Son, your mother and I love Nell already, and we hope that you will propose to her."

Ralph said his answer was, "I love her, too, but I can't afford a wife." His Dad had an epic reply, "If God called you to preach, God will take care of the details."

That's exactly what happened, and thus began a long and happy marriage that changed our lives forever. Thanks be to God and my father-in-law.

Contact Nell Mohney at nellwmohney@comcast.net.

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