A powerful story, Chris, wonderfully told.
I envy you, a bit. My father mellowed in his old age (his 70s, which suddenly doesn’t seem THAT old as I’ve just turned 62) and became more loving and less determined to put me in my place with subtle (and not so) put-downs and “jokes.” Then the dementia started, and my wife didn’t understand why visits to my parents resulted in me huddling into myself, waiting for the inevitable dig and nasty snark (“Honey, it’s Dad, he’s just kidding!”). Then we stole his car (after he failed two driving tests and continued to drive with limited vision and cognition) and there was no point in visiting after that. My sister wants us all to visit him in the care facility for One Last Family Gathering at Christmas, and I dread it. I’m glad you have happy(ish) experiences with your father at the end.
Best wishes to you and your family, Chris!