The flow might be a little smoother if you took some of it into the present tense. Besides, he didn't just love you in the past, but continues to love you. You might also want to clarify upfront that you call him dad. His name, in this type of essay at least, isn't terribly important. You give some good examples of time spent together and lessons that he taught you.
The person who has influenced me the most in life is without a question my Dad. My real father was not present very often throughout my life, but my stepfather Tom Dunderman was very present.
Let the reader know right away that he is your stepfather, but you call him dad. A little tweak in this introduction would help to clarify: The person who influences my life the most, without question, is my stepfather. While my biological father plays a very small role in my life, my stepfather loves me like I am his own son. I am proud to call him dad.
He took me and my siblings in just like we were his own flesh and blood, while instilling his most important values.
I'd drop the word his
from in front of important values
. . . unless his important values differed greatly from traditional values. To bring this into the preset tense, you could write something like: He cares for my siblings and me just like we are his own flesh and blood and instills important values.
This man did what my real father did not have the courage to do. He gave me love and was there to teach me the lessons that were grave to my progression in life.
The word grave
can have negative connotations--it generally is used to mean serious or grim. I'd replace it. One rewrite might be: This man shows courage by stepping into the role vacated by my father. He gives me love and teaches me lessons that are imperative to my progression in life.
The first of these being that you must depend on yourself and not depend on others to get the results you want.
This sentence needs some revision as well. I am not sure what to do with it though!
To understand what I mean by this you must know the business that he owns and operates. My dad has three produce stands at the Westside Market in Cleveland, and if he depended on the other vendors efforts to sell produce, he would be out of business.
This part is tricky and I don't really know what you are trying to say. The reader won't be able to fully know the business that he owns and operates, so it is better not to insist that they understand. The sentence about the other vendors just leaves me confused. You could talk here about how hard he works in his business to ensure quality for his customers or something else along those lines.
Another lesson he taught was the value of a good education.
I'd omit the word good
. You don't really need to qualify education and pretty much all education has value (even those tough life lessons we'd rather forget).
I remember when I first started algebra and was having issues, and he would help me by reviewing my homework and showing me my mistakes.
I'd replace the word issues
because having issues
can evoke a negative mental image. Omit the verbs would
. . .help
doesn't need a helping verb in this case. In fact, get rid of as many passive voice, helping verbs as you can: When I first started algebra and had difficulty, he helped me by reviewing my homework and showing me my mistakes.
As he did this I learned how to work through problems on paper and in life.
Ad a comma after the word this[i].
I remember my dad showing me how to fix my bike chain if it was to pop off or if my gears would stick .
Small revisions here: My dad showed me how to fix my bike chain when it was about to pop off and how to repair stuck gears.
These little lessons eventually escalated to the point were I did not need to ask for help, but would examine my problems on my own and try to figure out my own solution.
The lessons didn't really escalate, but your knowledge base is what grew. Maybe: I learned enough from these little lessons that eventually I was able to figure out solutions on my own instead of needing to ask for help.
It may sound extremely generic me saying this, but without my dads influence I would not be the scholar I am
. You answered a prompt. It makes sense that the most influential person in your life was someone who lived under the same roof and loved you. No need to apologize. Maybe something like: Without my dad's influence and guidance, I would not be the self-reliant scholar I am.