It is with an extremely heavy heart that I share the news of the death of the founder of The Spice House, my father. Our loss is magnified in that we have also lost a much loved parent, but also our mentor, the man who taught my husband Tom and I our craft. His teaching was an evolving process, and sadly one that we did not see coming to an end so soon. My Dad never stopped reaching out to us, pushing us to go further, look harder, re-examine our dedication to quality, to our customers, to our staff. He constantly challenged us to explore other vendors, new countries of origin, different connections, a twist in flavors, novel combinations. Yet his teachings were not just contained to the spice world, he also had some strong feelings and connections to, the inner spiritual world, and his tendencies toward philosophical teachings were perhaps the place where we struggled the hardest as his students. He believed that the spices had music in them, if you just knew how to listen. Our thoughts are that his spice work continues on through our stores, this gives us great comfort, and something to strive for.
On any given day, we start out with some sort of organized plan of how the day will go. (well okay, semi-organized in my case.) We always have more work to be done than could actually be achieved in our set period of time. Hence when someone yelled from downstairs up to my office announcing, “Patty, your Dad is on the phone” this usually meant a serious derailment of our plans! On any given day, a call from my Dad could be close to an hour of things he wanted to share. I feel pretty good about the fact that we just about always took those calls, no matter how busy we were. If my husband and I were both in the office, we would point at each other in a Mexican standoff until one of us took the phone! We did listen. Right now, I would give anything to have more of these calls. My Dad’s death was unexpected, although 78, he was in good physical shape, other than his eyesight; he was in full control of his facilities, and his mind was razor sharp. We just don’t feel that our work together was done. Perhaps my Dad’s work with us was done, but we suspect, knowing the full strength passion of my Dad for the spice-work, there will be a path down which the work will continue with his input.
This is a very hard time. We are holding a viewing tomorrow, September 26, at a beautiful historic venue in Milwaukee, The Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, at 901 Juneau Ave , from 2-6. Lots of street parking and a large parking lot across the street to the North. We welcome all, and would love to hear your customer stories in person, it would help the grieving process. Of all the phone calls we have taken, everyone says, let me know if there is anything they can do to help. Here is something. If your father is still alive, call him, and tell him you love him, if you can. You never know when that chance will be gone forever. My Dad and I were able to say that many, many times to each other, and I am so very thankful for that now. I know you are still listening now, Dad. Tom and I love you so much. We are listening back.