For Father’s Day, we present stories of four fathers along with pictures and memories of the children they left behind.
Dani Sofen (left), 27 and Ali Sofen (right), 25
Sofen: While I have tons of amazing experiences with my dad, one of my favorite memories was his last Father’s Day with us. My mom knew it was his last, so at 5 AM she woke me, my brother and sister up and told us to get dressed. She said we were going out to breakfast, which was a big deal because most of our family time was spent at home due to my older brother, who has autism (loud noises and crowds are tough for him to handle). So the five of us piled into our blue Honda Pilot and we went to the diner. We were the only people in there, which was perfect for my brother. The waitstaff even agreed to turn off the music and televisions. That morning, we sat in a restaurant together for the first time in years. It was also our last.
Dennis Heaphy, 30
Dennis: Dad used to wake up at 4 AM for work. He had to walk two miles to the Long Island Railroad with all of his tools – he was a sheet metal worker in New York City. One of the most vivid memories I have was when I was young, probably around 6-years-old. I heard him getting ready in the morning and I came downstairs and watched him tie his boots. I remember him not telling me to go back upstairs. I don’t remember the conversation, or if there was any, but it was a morning I will never forget.
Giovanna Contini, 31
Giovanna: My dad was always really quiet, but when he did speak, it was some weird words of wisdom. One day when I was a kid he asked me to help him clean the garage. The fact that he asked made me feel special, especially since he probably knew I wouldn’t be much help. We didn’t say much that day, but I really enjoyed being there with him.
Tara Dates, 36
Tara: My dad built out the lake house where we are photographing. It used to be his father’s, who used it as primarily as a fishing house/man-cave. Dad turned it into a family vacation home. He expanded it to include a new master bedroom – my grandparents used to sleep in two twin beds in what is now the small guest room. He also added more closet space for my mom. I loved the summers we spent out here as a family.