He was 77 or 78, I'm not sure which.
I talked with my stepmother Betty, and he had been declining, but it was still not completely expected. (She's doing ok, mostly numb a bit, but glad in a way that he isn't suffering now. He wouldn't complain that much to me when I called, though.)
For the last too-many years he was too sick to move around a lot. He spent far more time than he wanted to, in hospitals. He was on oxygen for quite a while, thank you Phillip Morris, and he had a bum heart thanks to unrecognized sleep apnea.
I lost touch with him from time to time; my plan to call him on Labor Day fell thru because the line was busy and I hadn't gotten back to it, but it wasn't urgent. Mostly we'd chat a bit until one of us got tired of talking then hang up.
There won't be a funeral; he didn't want one and wasn't a fan of religion, organized or otherwise. Not sure what he believed in that regard, as we didn't really talk about it often; he was raised in the old-time Montana racist tradition of ignorance and I wasn't going to break what relationship we had by poking too hard at it, too often. He wasn't stupid, not at all. He was, however, limited in/by what he'd learned, especially some rather toxic lies common to the time and place he grew up.
I never knew him to actually hate another person, nor to try to do anyone harm from malice. He fought with my stepmom from time to time, but everyone did; she has the power to shred the bark off trees with her scolding. She's gotten a lot more mellow over time.
I talked a bit with my stepmother; she told me he'd been given a six-months warning the previous week, and they had talked about the things that two people talk about who've been together for along time, and that he was at peace with the idea that he'd die in a short time, but wasn't especially eager to... that he'd go when "The Man Upstairs" called.
He did believe on God, but not necessarily any of the dogma and doctrine; I figure that given how very thoroughly the moralists and religious judges rejected my Mom, and him by association, when she became pregnant with me (at a very young age, and he was 21) ... he figured that whatever they said they believed it didn't have much value, and it wasn't about love or forgiveness like they said.
So, instead of six months he had six or so days; God doesn't always seem to use the same measure for time that we do.
I'll miss you, Dad. I'll miss our talks, but maybe, God being merciful and loving, we can talk again later.
There's a coffee hour on the 8th; Dad didn't want a fancy funeral. And on his birthday, I'll have one glass of beer in his honor.
note, comments are possibly disabled as I've been getting annoying anonymous spam and I'm trying to filter.
Edit to add some things I've learned and to fix a few typos.