Connie Erickson captured it all on video.
The short clip, shot less than two weeks ago, shows her dad, 86-year-old Raymond McVicker, surrounded by family as he slowly opens a cellophane-wrapped gift.
“Congratulations, Daddy!” a voice calls from off camera.
McVicker holds the opened gift: a diploma from Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. He reads his name. And he begins to weep.
He was receiving his diploma 69 years after his education was interrupted when he joined the Navy during World War II.
Two days after the Feb. 23 family ceremony at his Tacoma home, retired Petty Officer First Class Raymond McVicker was gone, the victim of lung disease.
“I have only seen my grandfather cry three times in my life,” said DeeDee Hill, McVicker’s granddaughter, who helped get the wheels turning to get the belated diploma.
Hill said her grandfather teared up the day in 2004 when his beloved wife and high school sweetheart, Phyllis, died after 58 years of marriage. He cried again on the day of her funeral.
The final time was when he received his diploma.
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