In Kids & Family

Joseph and Mark Attanasio (PHOTO: Allen Fredrickson)

In Kids & Family

John and John Steinmiller (PHOTO: Allen Fredrickson)

Fathers know best: Famous Milwaukeeans discuss their dads

From Homer Simpson to Al Bundy to deadbeat dads and the guy in "The Great Santini," fathers have gotten a bad rap in the media for years. With Father's Day weekend approaching, we decided to ask some prominent Milwaukeeans (and one San Diegoan) about their fathers and half-expected to hear horror stories of black socks, sandals and backyard barbecues gone awry.

Instead, we heard tales of admiration, appreciation, love and respect.

Enjoy the following conversations with prominent Milwaukeeans talking about their fathers and feel free to use the Talkback feature to add comments about your own.

Mark Attanasio, principal owner of the Brewers
Father: Joseph Attanasio

I always thought my dad was pretty smart. He taught me the value of family. He taught me the value of being a strong father and always being there for your kids. He's always been enormously supportive of me in anything I wanted to do. That was a good role model for me. I try to do that for my kids.

This past weekend, of all things, my older son who is in a rock band has been studying piano. I found myself at a piano recital. There were 6-year-olds there. My son, the rock and roller who is studying piano to aid his songwriting was playing a few Beatles songs. It was great. We'll always be there to support our kids.

My dad always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He went into a series of businesses and he was always open to trying new things and that's one of the reasons I very quickly after being in a Wall Street law firm for two years veered off and started doing things differently.

It's more just the fun and excitement of starting your own business and developing something from scratch.

My father has sung the National Anthem at the home opener the past two years, and it's a great highlight. I have to say, my dad is blessed with this great voice. At a minimum, it skipped a generation. None of us have it.

He did it this year and we won again, so Ned (Yost, the Brewers' manager) came to me and said, 'We've got to have him again next year.'

Bud Selig, Major League Baseball Commissioner
Father: Ben Selig, who was in the automobile business

My father was easily one of the kindest, gentlest human beings I've ever known. Only other person I've known like that was Lee MacPhail, who was the president of the American League and the father of Andy (the current president of the Chicago Cubs). They had the same kind of personality. My dad liked to kid people a lot. I inherited that from him. He was very smart, very wise. I still quote my dad to this day.

My kids would tell you that he was just a wonderful human being.

My favorite quote from my dad, I'd hear it 100 times a day. 'Buddy, nothing is either good or bad, except by comparison.' That's so true. There were a lot of things he used to say to me. The other one that he used was, sometimes life would be perplexing and he'd say 'Buddy, the longer you live, the less you're going to understand about life.' He was right about that, too.

We had a wonderful relationship. I can't remember in all the years we were together -- in business or even before – ever really having a disagreement with my father. We got along beautifully. He was wonderful. He taught me a lot about business and a lot about life.

He influenced me in a myriad of ways, so many I don't know if I can describe them. My dad taught me patience. He got along with people great. He was great to watch. My father was my mentor in almost every way. Whether it was a passion for doing what I was doing, because he had a passion for what he was doing. He was able to bring the most out of the people around him.

My trait of perseverance came from both my parents, but certainly my father.

I'm one of those people, I can tell you my parents played a dominat influence on my thinking and what I became.

I kidded a lot with my dad. We spent a lot of time together. Someone once said to me that I was very secure, that I seemed very confident in what I was doing. That came from my parents. From the day I can remember, my parents had confidence in me and instilled that in me. It was almost in-bred.

I raised my kids virtually the same way I had been raised, never hollering, no screaming, always trying to explain and understand. As a result, I've had a great relationship with my kids, much like I had with my parents.

I think of my parents so often. I quote my father all the time.

My dad would go to games with me. My mother was the baseball fan, but my dad would go to Chicago a lot, just so we could spend time together. We'd go especially when the Yankees were there before the Braves came to town. My father wasn't really a great fan. He'd have Time Magazine there with him and he'd be reading the magazine. Once, he dozed off in the middle of the second game and we had Whitey Ford was pitching against Billy Pierce. I was probably 15 and I was stunned.

First, I wanted to be a history professor. My father said to me at one time, 'Just give me one year.' In those days, you just did what they asked. He turned out to be right, just like always. When I first got into baseball, my dad was very concerned that I wasn't going to spend the time on the family business that he wanted me to. In the end, he knew that's what I wanted to do. I kept the lease company. People have asked, 'Why did you do that?' it was out of respect to my father. That was his favorite part of the automobile business. He was one of the first two or three people in America in that business.

My father was the ultimate in entrepreneurship. All the patience, I learned from him. He influenced me in so many ways.

Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Father: Eugene Albert Kane, Sr., construction worker

My father was a real strong, no-nonsense kind of guy. He was very outspoken about his life and what he'd seen in his life. It's not surprising he was interested in black history and race relations in America.

He had those John Henry forearms. He wasn't all that tall. But, he was a solidly-built guy. In his later years, he carried a gun all the time. No one would mess with him.

What I learned from him was about work ethic. He wasn't about anybody just laying around and not working. Also, the fact that he didn't put up with a lot of people complaining about stuff. He always used to say, 'Rather than complain, you should just go ahead and do what you can do to change it. Nobody wants to hear you complain, anyway.'

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Talkbacks

OMCreader | June 15, 2006 at 4:17 p.m. (report)

Cozen Beguile said: My dad is so cool, he is taking me to the Admirals game tonight! PEACE!

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