I haven’t often seen someone write the official newspaper obituary for a relative, but Richard Dawkins has just produced one in The Independent for his father, Clinton John Dawkins, who died December 8. (Richard’s own official first name is also “Clinton”). Dead at 95, father John had a varied life that took him from Mandalay to Kenya (where his son was born) and finally to a family farm, Over Norton, in the UK:
They turned the big house into flats, specialising in colonial servants sent “home” on leave. Tractors didn’t have compulsory cabs in those days, and Farmer John, wearing his old KAR hat (think Australian bushwhacker) could be heard across two fields bellowing psalms at the top of his voice (“Moab was my washpot”) on his diminutive Ferguson tractor (diminutive was just as well, since he once contrived to run himself over with it).
There’s a shorter but more heartfelt piece on Dawkins’s website, as well as a reprint of the The Independent piece with two photographs.
Condolonces to Richard on the loss of his father.
Clinton Richard (l.) and Clinton John (r.), from the Dawkins website
10 thoughts on “Dawkins writes his father’s obituary”
He lived to see his son become famous and successful. I hope he was happy and proud.
A fascinating man who left a brilliant legacy. Rest in peace.
You could tell, that his father a dearly inspiration for Prof. Dawkins. The photograph hints of the very interesting life they must have shared!
Condolences to prof. Dawkins and everyone who knew Clinton John Dawkins.
(I can’t read the obituary, because since my mother’s death almost exactly two years ago, I get all … what is it you say … verklempt? when reading things like that. Good parents are greatly missed when they leave, but our lives are all the better because of them)
Choked perhaps?… yes, my poor pa died two years ago today – I will always feel guilty as I was out carousing that night getting drunk, as he, the sober fellow, lay dying.
(Guilt is not a good thing. I’m sure he would not have wanted you to feel that, no?)
I lost my dad a few years ago; it’s always tough. At least there’s no hell in which some awful god tortures them. 95 isn’t a bad run.
Sounds like he was a great father and will surely be missed. His wonderful son has brighten my days.
‘now I lack him’.
I’m pretty easy to bring to tears, and that line did it.
For what it counts, the reminiscences made me smile (a bit). May Mr. Dawkins rest for long, and the family remember him fondly. If it’s proper, my condolences.