A Memorial to Former Kid Star Tony Dow

Tony Dow, former kid star and my treasured friend, was the first among equals to my way of thinking.  The range and scope of his skills were amazing, yet all were overshadowed by the fact that he was a good man…a person of quiet substance.

The community of kid stars still able to travel were there to honor Tony.

There was no brag in the man.  Acting?  No fuss.  Sculpting, no drama.  Remodeling, easy.  Fatherhood, piece of cake.  Directing looney actors, a walk in the park.  Volleyball. Diving.  Sailing.  Woodworking with vintage tools.  And to his public, gracious to a fault.

We walked many miles together, always in each other’s shoes.  Seriously, how many teenage boys get to grow up on television?  We were different, of course.  Tony knew and appreciated that God had different plans for Beaver’s brother.

Jerry Mathers, uniquely, was alone on an emotional island at Sunday’s memorial.  The depth of his loss went beyond Challenger Deep.  When he spoke…simply, succinctly, honestly…all the hearts under the oak trees were deeply impacted as they imagined the magnitude of Jerry’s loss.  This was, indeed, a Lonesome Valley.

I told Christopher Dow (who took care of me and my wheelchair over the suspension bridge leading to the ceremony) that as a father of two men I could only hope that they might remember me as powerfully as he had remembered his Dad.  So much of Tony lives on in Christopher, including a speaking voice whose tone and delivery brought Tony back to us from the shadow land.

For Lauren Dow, be proud of supplying a fitting send-off for your beloved husband.  It was the right setting, the right blend of friends, and complete with perfect weather.  Rana and I are with you, always.

Paul Petersen