Published June 17, 2012
This Father’s Day will mark two and a half years that we lost my father, Konstantinos Tantaros. But there is no chance anyone who knew him could forget him.
My dad was the second youngest of 14 kids. He left Greece when he was 16 and with only 38 dollars to his name started working in diners for little or no money around the clock, but it paid off. When most people would have folded, he pressed on because he optimistically believed that he’d triumph through hard work. That tendency to accept a challenge and run a risk, was enhanced by the decisive way that he made decisions – in business, and in every other sphere of life.
My dad projected an overwhelming assuredness about anything and everything to do with the business of getting life going. His certitude never wavered, no matter the challenge.
He was full of good advice and always offered comments and constructive criticism—often unsolicited—but it made the pill of tough love easier to swallow.
Granted, given his manner of expression, his love was less likely to be delivered to you in a figurative Tiffany’s box than it was dumped in your lap with a back-hoe, but that, occasionally, rough and colorful means of transmittal certainly didn’t diminish the depth of his feelings for people.
He delighted at the chance to help someone. He always remembered the words of his father. My grandfather’s directive, was if you can do good for someone, do it.
He had a sharp wit and the ability to make anyone feel comfortable…unless they were trying to date my sister or me. He had strong opinions on everything from real estate to why men shouldn’t wear earrings. And he would never hire anyone to do a job he could outsource to one of his kids, and for that I am truly grateful.
His heart was just as big as his personality, his drive and intolerance for mediocrity, as evident as his work ethic. He taught us, his children, to never make excuses. Because if he could succeed with a language barrier, little education, no family and no money in a foreign country, than we had no excuse but to be successful.
He never took a nickel from the government and loved this country more than most who were born here. If more people were like my dad this nation would be better off.
He was the toughest boss I’ll ever have and one of the strongest personalities that one could ever meet. I feel privileged and humbled by my his example. It's both inspirational and very demanding.
And though we lost him 2 years ago to cancer, we miss him every day. But something tells me heaven is watching a lot more Fox News.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Andrea Tantaros is co-host of "The Five" and a Fox News contributor.