Govs. Sununu share some paternal advice for Father's Day

New Hampshire Union Leader
June 17. 2017 8:55PM

Gov. Chris Sununu and his father, former Gov. John H. Sununu 

One Father's Day years ago, Gov. Chris Sununu gave his father the gift of music: "Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute."

It was meant as a joke. Romanian musician Gheorghe Zamfir's records were then being pitched in a regular TV commercial. Sununu, who was in high school at the time, was driving with his dad, former Gov. John H. Sununu, a few days later. In his car stereo: The "hauntingly beautiful music" of Zamfir.

Since the first Father's Day, recorded as 1910 in Spokane, Wash., our dads have smiled and appreciated whatever they have unwrapped - the ties, socks, colorful drawings, golf balls, fishing rods, grills, the latest gizmo from the hardware store.

And CDs of iconic musicians.

This Father's Day, the 75th and 82nd governors of New Hampshire shared their thoughts on the holiday in separate interviews.

The holiday was designated the third Sunday in June in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, and became a permanent annual celebration with President Richard Nixon's signature in 1972.

Sununu, the patriarch and father of eight, said the best advice his father (who also was named John) ever gave him was, "Nothing worthwhile is easy."

The current governor said his father was generous with encouragement.

"My dad taught me early on - make a decision, one way or the other, and go with it," he said. Sununu says he'll convey that to his three children, along with something from his own experience: "If you're going to be anything in life, be genuine. Be yourself."

The elder Sununu noted that Father's Day in his family is not necessarily constrained to one Sunday. He and his children catch up, along with the grandchildren, when they can.

"All holidays are huge in our house. To tell you the truth, Father's Day is not as big as Christmas or the Fourth of July," he said.

One reason former Gov. John H. Sununu and first lady Nancy Sununu moved to Hampton Falls about a decade ago was to be closer to their children. Former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu lives in Rye Beach. The governor and first lady Valerie Sununu live in Newfields.

What was the most memorable Father's Day gift the elder Sununu received?

"Oh, good Lord," he said, laughing. "I'm passing, because if I pick one, I have seven disappointed gift-givers."

So it may or may not have been "Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute." Ultimately, the current governor recalls, the CD was re-gifted.

PoliticsNH PeopleHoliday or vacationState Government

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