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Lessons of Our Fathers

Father is supposed to know best. But does he? Are his enduring lessons taught by determination as he strives to pass along life-guiding values? Or by accident, as a man doing the best he can — and some not even that. By words? Or by example?    
    Hence our question in this year’s edition of our annual effort to understand that great life role: What lesson did your father teach you — intentionally or otherwise — that guides you to this day?
    To add some spice, this Father’s Day we sought out yin-yang pairings, both timely and enduring: ­opposing candidates in the June 24 Primary Election … actors in dramatic conflict … sister and brother … husband and wife.
    With one exception, each son and daughter spoke spontaneously in conversation with a Bay Weekly ­interviewer; Anthony Brown replied with a prepared statement by email.

Competing Democratic candidates for Governor

Anthony Brown, Maryland Lieutenant Governor

My father, Roy H. Brown, rose out of poverty in Kingston, Jamaica, and overcame incredible odds to become a doctor. As a loving husband and father, he worked tirelessly to provide every opportunity for his children. As a family physician, he donated his services to those in need of care. He taught me that it is our responsibility in life to serve our community and help others before helping ourselves.
  

 
This is my first Father’s Day since my father passed away, so it will be difficult, but I remain thankful for the lessons of commitment to family and service he instilled in me.

Doug Gansler: Maryland ­Attorney General

This is what comes to mind: I was a second semester high school senior, a fun year when you’re very self-absorbed, wrapped up in friends and thoughts of going to college. My father told me we had a long-lost cousin in Montevideo, Uruguay, and that he thought it would be a good idea for me to go there, live and work with him in a leather belt factory for a couple of months. I vividly remember that conversation.
    So there I am, going to live in a two-room house next to a factory and working every day. It was
 


probably one of the most influential times in my life and a very positive experience, being with the workers, drinking yerba mate tea at night sitting on cowhides, making friends.
    The lesson? You can get out of your comfort zone and not only survive but thrive.
    My father, Jacques Gansler, was in public service, Under Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration, so that I grew up understanding public service as a calling and that there are currencies other than pursuit of the dollar.
 

Heather Mizeur, State Delegate

    My father, Dale Mizeur, a 32-year-member of the United Auto Workers, gave me these words of wisdom that have guided me for a lifetime: “Have an opinion, stand up for it and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t — especially a boy,” he’d say, which has come in handy in this campaign.
    My first memory of testing those rules was in junior high, when I went to try out for the basketball team and the coach ejected me from the gym saying there’d be no girl on his team. My father and I split up roles in a campaign to get a girls’ team by the time I went into high school. I’d watch Dad come home sometimes after double shifts and work the phone
  


with people in a position to make that decision. I worked with boosters on funding uniforms, trying with a survey to show interest in fielding a team and teaching classmates to play. We didn’t have a family full of warriors to advise us about our legal rights, but we did come to know about Title IX and use the law to correct athletic injustice.

We got the team started, and though my freshman year we didn’t win a lot of games, we left a legacy. My oldest niece, Gracie, played on that team, and they won big. It was wonderful to see what came from stepping forward, having a vision, being dedicated, rallying others and never taking no for an answer.

Competing Republican candidates for Anne Arundel County Executive

Laura Neuman

From my father, I learned that I should work hard. He was a hard worker but challenged to stay with a job, so building financial security became very important to me.
    Choosing a father for my children, it was important to me that he was reliable, that he enjoyed spending time with his children and that he could express love and emotional support for them, as my parents could not. I got that in Paul Volkman.
 

Steve Schuh

    My father passed away two years ago. He was a great man and unquestionably the most important influence in my life. He taught me the importance of family, of putting family first. He taught me the value of hard work; and he taught me the value of leading a straight and ethical life. I miss my father, and I love him very much.

Brothers in Theater

Jim Reiter

    Jim Reiter plays Gordon in Colonial Players’ Dead Man’s Cell Phone, which opens Friday, June 13, and closes the theatre’s 65th season. Gordon is the older brother and “mover and shaker,” beloved by his mother — but not so much by his younger brother Dwight, played by Nick Beschen.
    Walter H. Reiter “taught me a whole lot about music, just because he was always playing it,” says Jim ­Reiter. “My father was pretty classic in his taste. He liked stuff that moved — classical music and bebop jazz — and he was a hell of a piano player. We still have an old piano that was his parents’,