Pops' story began in 1938. He was born to Russian immigrants living in Minnesota and he was the 19th child in the family (yes, you read right, 19!). His mom died of tuberculosis just two years after he was born and his father died 13 years later. From an early age, Pops had to overcome adversity and turn lemons into lemonade. Although parentless, Pops graduated from high school and received a football scholarship. However, after playing a season of ball, he decided to show his patriotism by signing up for the United States Air Force. He served several years in the armed services traveling the world doing intelligence missions.
After Pops graduated from law school, he became an established attorney in Houston and was constantly chided by his friends to raise his rates. Pops loved helping people so much that some people joked he would work for free! Pops wasn't like your typical lawyer. He acted with honesty and integrity in everything he did. He desired to help people and he was good at it. He practiced law for almost 40 years in Houston where many of his clients became lifelong friends. Pops was a joy to be around and had a contagious smile and personality. He had a Hollywood look about him, but he was as humble as the day is long. There wasn't a prideful bone in this body.
Even when the Parkinson's disease took more and more of his ability to move around and speak clearly, Pops didn't let that stop him. You could still find him out on the golf course. However, unable to keep his balance, he would fall frequently, but he would get right back up undeterred, shake the dust off his pants and take the next shot. That was Pops.
Pops taught others what it means to persevere. He taught us what generosity means. What love is and patience and kindness too. Pops was a giver. He worked hard to provide for his family and lived a rags to riches story -- a son of a large Russian immigrant family; turned orphan at the age of 15 years old; put himself through college; served in the armed services; married for 53 years; father to two amazing children and grandfather to 7 grandchildren (plus some honorary ones too). That's Pops. That's Leo Kissner.
Sending you a big hug tonight!