Stillwater News Press

June 16, 2013

Like Father, Like Son

Dads lead by example

By Elizabeth Keys
Stillwater NewsPress

— Emmett Pybus and his son, Navy Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus, agree one of the most important things a man can do for his children is to love their mother.

Emmett’s wife, the late Florence Pybus, played a key role in her children’s success as he was “providing the bread” for Nani, Sean and Brooke. As a military spouse, Sean’s wife Patty Pybus, often must be both father and mother to four children, especially during war time when duties of the nation call. Although Emmett established his family’s home in Stillwater in 1968, Patty and Sean have moved 18 times with his career as a naval officer. Sean said the military offers many services to support families but he will always consider Stillwater his home. Emmett said small towns like the Stillwater community are very close-knit which is beneficial for raising a family. Everywhere, dads sometimes play a supporting role to the mother, they said. As fathers, Emmett and Sean, lead by example with integrity and honesty.

Emmett didn’t push the children anyway but encouraged them to pursue their own interests. In doing so, he took an interest in the things they enjoyed.

“You have to let them do their own thing and be themselves,” Emmett said. “There are limits — and the child has to know those limits — but let them be kids within those limits.”

Emmett said he always tried to encourage his kids and let them develop. Sean said his dad was not a big sports fan “but he knew I was and he made sure we had seats together at Oklahoma State University football, basketball and wrestling events. My dad showed an interest in the things I liked to do and that’s important for kids.”

His parents had high expectations and were big advocates of education. Sean graduated from high school in Stillwater and serves as commander of Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego, Calif. Working in special operations, he has led troops throughout the world promoting global peace and domestic freedom as a Navy SEAL for more than 30 years. In special operations, he has been in command of some of the finest men and women in the military — often serving in the role of a dad as a mentor to thousands of young people. His units have been responsible for manning, training and equipping the Navy’s special forces worldwide taking on an increasingly important role as the United States fights against insurgents in the Middle East. SEALS are among the most elite members of the military service. They conducted the raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed the leader of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, and have played key roles in warfare in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sean said it is satisfying to influence by example and many have thanked him for taking an interest in their lives as they progress in their military careers or transition to civilian life. He is grateful for his own dad’s leadership and wants him to know he loves him. Emmett and Sean’s granddad, Howard C. Pybus, both served in the Navy which has given Sean a chance to see the world from land locked Oklahoma.

And what does Emmett think of President Barack Obama nominating his son to vice admiral in command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Special Operations Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium?

“Awesome . . . just awesome.”