My dad, among all the other contributions he has made to my life, is the reason I'm into this hobby. Primarily, he was into model railroading, and to this day he is the best terrain modeler I've ever seen. I wish I had pictures of some of his stuff, it was mindblowing. He also collected civil war miniatures, and he taught me when I was in elementary school how to pour molten pewter into molds and cast my own minis. He taught me to paint them in high gloss oil paints.
While I never really got into the historical stuff he was into, it was only natural that while pursing my Magic the Gathering career and spending endless days at the LGS that I would be drawn to the Warhammer hobby. He encouraged me, bought me paints, modeling equipment, and basically taught me everything I know about the hobby side. I don't claim to be a even a mediocre painter, but it was a proud day for me when my dad stopped giving me advice on how to improve my horrid paints and gave me the sincere compliment, "wow, that model looks great."
I even pulled him into the GW hobby a bit. He never played a game, but he scratch built an amazing castle to 28mm scale, and bought a full Vampire Counts army to attack it, and a Wood Elf army to defend it. For him, it's just a fantasy genre diorama piece but it still captured the GW feel.
My dad lost his long battle with cancer today. I have a lot to thank my dad for, far beyond just this hobby, but this seemed like the appropriate place for this one, anyway. I don't think he knew just how much of a big influence he had on me, but hopefully the people who knew both of us can see some of the best parts of him in me.
Love ya, Pop.