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Writers Against Racism: A Father’s Day Tribute – Jean Leroy Gratia

Here’s another Father’s Day tribute/story from Gina Gratia.

I have an AWESOME dad to share with you.

My father’s name is Jean Leroy Gratia and he’s from the island of Haiti. He was and still is the head of the Gratia household. My father was strict when my two older sisters and I were little girls. He didn’t play when it came to schoolwork, chores and obeying his rules.

Many thought that he was mean by his demeanor but those who knew him well knew the real deal. He had an agenda to raise three secure, intelligent, confident girls.  He didn’t want any of us to become a statistic by becoming an unwed teen mother or hooked on drugs or to become any man’s plaything. He witnessed many young girls in the neighborhood become just that and that wasn’t going to be the case with us.

My father showed me real love everyday by going to work and placing us in catholic school at an early age. He thought it would be a better education so he along with my mother worked hard to make certain it would happen.

My father also has a tender side. As long as I can remember my father would wake up early and prepare coffee and bring it to my mother in bed. This practice STILL continues today.  I saw real love first hand and I’m grateful for it.

A little tidbit about my father is his birthday is on January 6, 1936 which is on Epiphany (3 Kings Day a Christian holiday). My grandmother named him Leroy which means the king in french (le roi) since he was born on the day of kings. We used to joke that my father is the king, my mother is the queen and us girls had to be the princesses. Which means there must be servants to do all the housework, he would say “who need servants? Your mother & I have you now get to work!” That’s Pop! I LOVE that man!

The attached picture is my father in his late twenties.

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  1. B Herrera says:

    Such love is rare and to be treasured. Your father showed his love each day and your love for him shines through every word you write, Gina. Give your father and mother a big hug for me. My father also raised us to be useful and confident and accepting of others. I lost him last July, but he is in my mind every time I make a decision. Early teachings last a lifetime. Your dad sounds like a true gentleman and a great father.