Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tribute Part Two

This is the eulogy for my father. I will be delivering it and my children helped me compose it.

I am here today because my Father has passed, and I would like to say a few words about him and his life. You might think of my words as a tribute to him.

When I thought about what I might say here today, I wondered how I could describe my Dad in one word. Could I find one word that sums up who he was and what he did?

The first word I thought of was integrity. If you look at his record of service to the public you know this — people who knew him, trusted him. He had many titles: Secretary, Director, and Treasurer.

The next word I thought of was confidence. He had a presence — he knew himself and he knew the right thing to do. He also had strength of character and physical strength. My sister called him her Rock.

His strength was balanced by his consideration. I have heard the minister call Dad a gentle man. And it was true – he was gentle.

Dad helped people. He would help you discover what it was you wanted to do or become — and help you find the way to achieve it. When Newfield was ready for a pool, he helped build the pool. When his wife wanted to attend college, he helped her.

Dad was loving. He loved his wife, Mrs. D, for more than sixty-two years.

Dad was optimistic. He believed in the goodness of people — and the goodness of the human spirit. He assumed the best in people — and they almost never proved him wrong.

Dad was a constant friend. His buddies regularly met for poker — for close to 50 years. The same group of friends celebrated New Years Eve with him and Mom — for nearly 40 years.

Dad was respectful. You could go to him for advice. He wouldn't gossip.

Dad was a devoted son, brother, and nephew. He took care of his mother, his sister Rae, and his Aunt Margaret.

Dad loved music. When I was a child, we had one of the first FM radios and the house was always filled with music. And if he was outside, you could almost always hear him whistling while he worked. Lately he so enjoyed driving with the XM radio tuned to the '40s station, playing tunes he hadn't heard since he was a teenager.

Dad appreciated beauty. He marveled at the lovely scenery on trips to Alaska and Hawaii — and found joy in walking with a daughter on each arm.

Dad loved making kids laugh. I think he remembered what fun it was to be a kid and to be so "precious and happy."

Dad delighted in gentle teasing and pranks, like pretending the car wouldn't make it over the hill unless his grandkids pushed on the dashboard to help — or slipping a fake cocktail to a cousin and laughing when she got all giddy.

Dad also liked to tell stories, especially funny stories. More than once I heard my mom say "Oh Richard!" in response to some tall tale.

Dad was a farmer. He prepared for the worst, hoped for the best — and watched the weather. He had a great love for the outdoors — you could see it when he went fishing from the Pier in Avalon and picking tomatoes in his garden. And he enjoyed cooking food that he had grown or caught — and feeding people.

Dad worked hard and earnestly, almost his entire life, and he enjoyed the work he did. Even after he retired, he was rarely idle — he was cooking, farming, fishing, volunteering, and spending time with his family.

Dad was happy, taking satisfaction in the hard work he did all his life — and the love and devotion returned by his immediate and extended family.

When I heard one of his great-grandkids had asked if Pop-pop was now going to be his guardian angel, I knew I had found the word — Guardian.

Dad was a guardian.

I thank him for being the great Dad he was — and I thank you all for being here today.

1 comment:

NWDonna said...

Very touching -- I can tell he was a sweet and gentle, well loved man. I am glad you and your family were all there for him.