Just got off the phone with mine, and made very sure to thank him for teaching me things every feller should know: basic automotive, basic plumbing, basic carpentry, basic electrical. How to change an alternator and master brake cylinder, redo the house plumbing, build furniture and doorframes, the value of breaker boxes and how to wire an outlet.
And to me, he'll always be a hero. You don't get the Silver Star, Air Medal, Distinguished Service Cross, and Bronze Star with clusters for sittin on yer butt. Not to mention raising four lil independent minded hellions. You don't get medals for that, though you should.