Friday, November 2, 2012


Grandpa Loyd was a grandfather to brag about, and I’ve never hesitated to do so. Heck, for the past decade or so, his age alone was a point of pride.

He was a runner – not just your run-of-the-mill jogging retiree, but a racer, and a winner, with walls full of medals, certificates, trophies, plaques and laminated newspaper write-ups to prove it. When I was young, I was amazed at the sheer quantity of race T-shirts he had accumulated, all stored in a spare bedroom. Whenever our family visited, Amanda and I were allowed to pick out a shirt to take home with us.

I was proud of Grandpa Loyd’s participation in the Senior Olympics, not to mention many local races and countless neighborhood jogs. I remember one time he ran a race while our family was in town and we all went to lunch at Shoney’s afterward. Grandpa skipped the “real food” and went straight to the hot-fudge sundae; he’d certainly earned it.

A few years later, as I hit high school and started to self-identify as a runner, he was a great inspiration. When you know your 80-something grandfather is pounding out a 5k a day, you’re more inclined to stick to your own training schedule. And I’ve always felt like I was in some way carrying on a Loyd family tradition by running. If I’m so blessed as to run for the rest of my life, I know it will always remind me of him.

Something else that immediately comes to mind when I think about Grandpa Loyd is what a great conversationalist he was. He was a mile-a-minute, never-met-a-stranger kind of talker, and I loved that about him. Talking with him was always interesting, and I suspect a large part of his secret was that he was interested – in seemingly everything and everyone. Grandpa Loyd knew numerous neighbors thanks to his running and walking habit – not just a face and a first name, but usually a decent chunk of details. They knew him too, and they watched out for him, and they cared about him. The same goes for those who knew him through church, his military service and his favorite restaurants, where he and Grandma Loyd were regulars. Did we ever eat at the Picadilly without someone stopping by our table to chat with him?

I will never forget the time Grandma and Grandpa Loyd were visiting our family and we were all in line at Hardee’s when, Grandpa being Grandpa, he struck up a conversation with the teenage boy in front of him. When the teenager heard Grandpa was from Atlanta, he exclaimed that he knew someone from Atlanta: Ellis Loyd. Grandpa being Grandpa, he replied, “That’s my son!” (The teenager was a Camp Cherokee alum.)

I have many more memories of Grandpa Loyd, from being awed by his “celebrity” car, to him and Grandma dancing in the living room after Christmas parties, to the cheese toast I always looked forward to him making us on the last morning of a visit. He was thrifty and witty and sharp as a tack. He loved his family, and we loved him. I’m so proud and thankful to be his granddaughter.

Marvin Loyd, May 14, 1914-Nov. 1, 2012


  1. Oh I'm so sorry for your loss, Jenn! I saw this photo on fb yesterday, but didn't know what was up. What a sweet work about your Grandpa. Sounds like he was a terrific fellow.