The year was 1919, exactly a hundred years ago. My father was 14 and lived in Logan County where 14-year-olds completed the eighth grade. And that was it. No ninth grade in Logan.

Fourteen-year-old boys were expected to get a job. Girls of that age were expected to learn how to be housewives or perhaps get married and become a housewife.

My father, Creath Alden Peyton, had two options for work. He could go to work in the mines or work for the railroad.

There was no work on the railroad where my grandfather worked. So he found himself a "trapper boy" in a Logan County mine on Big Buffalo Creek - at the age of 14.

Trapper boys opened and closed the doors in the mines through which mules hauling coal passed. The doors were supposed to limit the amount of damage and death if there was an explosion. And explosions were frequent.

My father didn't know he suffered from claustrophobia (fear of tight places) until that day.

When he left his first day of work in the mine he went to his father, Bill Peyton, and told him "Dad, I can't go back in that mine. I smother while I am in there."

His father told him there was no other work for him in Logan and threw him out of the house. No work, no place to live, he was told.

He left and came to Huntington to live with his grandmother, Priscilla Reynolds, who took him in and loved him.

What a way to begin an adult life.

But that was the only the first of many events that would drag the average man down in this modern era and transform him into a welfare case.

He worked here and there for a few years until he found a job with the International Nickel Company (the Nickel Plant) in Huntington. But about the time he got the job, the bottom dropped out of the economy. They called it the Great Depression. And his work at the plant was cut to a few hours a week.

He had just married Lois Genevieve Duncan and started a family. The only way he survived was by living with his in-laws.

The war came and his work increased. At the end of the war, he moved the family to the country. Then, in 1952, his wife, my mother, died. He was left to raise his youngest son - me.

But none of this stopped him from being a success. He bought an old crane from the Nickel Plant at scrap prices and converted it into a bridge across Four Pole Creek to our house. It remains in perfect condition today and will last for a few more generations.

A few years later, he woke up one morning and couldn't get out of bed. Rheumatoid arthritis struck him with a vengeance overnight.

He had to retire from the Nickel Plant, but he didn't retire from life. He pursued his lifelong woodworking hobby and created everything from a chess board to a huge china cabinet.

His inability to walk didn't even stop him from gardening. He bought a Cub Cadet riding lawnmower, widened the rows in his garden and sat on the tractor as he worked his garden with a hoe.

He died one winter day in the late 1960s. I suspect his crippling arthritis had something to do with his heart attack.

There's no other way to say it: He was a hell of a man and a model for me and everyone else on this Father's Day and every other day of the year.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address