Local fathers share advice for families

BELPRE – Today is the day set aside to celebrate fathers and two area fathers shared some of their thoughts on what it is to be a father.

Isaac Cogar of Belpre, 90, is a World War II veteran and the father of 10 children.

Cogar said his advice to today’s parents would be to have a spiritual base for the family.

“We all go to church, our family all went and they are all Christians,” he said. “Church is a good way to keep families together.”

Cogar said with 10 children he has a hard time counting all the grandchildren.

“There are around 30, I imagine,” he said.

Cogar said he has no regrets on how he raised his children.

“I have no regrets because I’ve got a good family,” he said. “Two of them are preachers and one is a sheriff.”

During WWII, Cogar was in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the forerunner of the U.S. Air Force. After the war he went into business on his own in Guysville where his children were raised.

“I had a truck stop at Guysville,” he said. “After that I went into the trucking business and I also drove a tour bus for five years, across the United States, Canada and Mexico,” retiring after the bus driving stint.

Cogar said he does not see the need to offer a lot of advice to his children, saying they are all doing quite well.

“They are getting along really good,” he said. “They are all educated children and they are getting along really good.”

Fred Flemming, also of Belpre, is a father of three. He said his work caused him to be away from his family but he was involved in the upbringing of three children.

“I was working most of the time, but as long I was there if the children needed me for something my wife couldn’t answer, I was able to do that,” he said. ” My wife took care of a lot since I wasn’t there all the time.”

Flemming said for a time he was unemployed and voluntarily joined the U.S. Army and was discharged in 1966. He moved his family to the Mid-Ohio Valley from Delaware, Ohio, after he was discharged.

As a result of his time away Flemming said he has one piece of advice for others in regard to children.

“They (fathers) should be more involved with their children,” he said. “I think they should be involved with their children’s lives and give them the best information even if they don’t want to follow it later on.”

Flemming said his children were born between 1961 and 1967. When his sons got married, Flemming said, he had one piece of advice.

“I told them to love their wives and make sure they didn’t let that romance fall by the wayside,” he said.

Flemming said he has 12 grandsons and three great-grandchildren, two boys and one girl.

There are two theories as to how Father’s Day was created.

One theory is the first Father’s Day church service was held in West Virginia in 1908. Some historians honor Mrs. Charles Clayton of Fairmont, W.Va., for an observance on July 5, 1908.

West Virginia is also believed by some to be the home of Mother’s Day, with the first service taking place in Grafton.

While a church service was going on at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Fairmont, Grace Golden Clayton reportedly suggested the service to the pastor, who is said to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after a mine explosion, a few months before, in the nearby community of Monongah. This explosion ended 361 lives, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the U.S. from Italy.

Another theory attributes the celebration to Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, from Spokane, Wash.

Celebrating Father’s Day originated in her mind as she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 and pondered if there is a day to honor mothers then why not for fathers.

Sonora felt strongly for fathers because of the affection she received from her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran. Sonora’s mother died while in childbirth when she was just 16. Mr. Smart raised the newborn and five other children with love and care.

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, there were an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available. Of those, 24.4 million are fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2012, with 21 percent raising three or more children younger than 18 and three percent were a subfamily living in someone else’s home.

There were 1.96 million single fathers in 2012; 16 percent of single parents. Of those, nine percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 and about 44 percent were divorced, 31 percent were never married, 20 percent were separated, and five percent were widowed; 42 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

In 2012 there were an estimated 189,000 stay-at-home dads. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wife works outside the home.

These fathers cared for upward of 369,000 children, according to the bureau. During the spring of 2011, 18 percent of preschoolers were regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours.