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Author Topic: Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March  (Read 4370 times)

Offline JimBob

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« on: 29/03/2008 19:25:51 »
My father passed away on Good Friday, a week ago in Alabama, where my sister was taking care of him in the nursing home. He developed pneumonia, renal failure set in and he slipped into a coma and then quietly ended his suffering.

This is a rather personal and often difficult subject to deal with right now. Families show their grief in many ways, often in arguments. As my niece pointed out, I am now the patriarch of the family (Oh My GAWD! How did this happen????) so it is only natural that I am the arbitrator of this. It has been a rough week. It is now over.

So I want to share what I said and also why it is written as it is written. In essence, I can probably be best described as a Buddhist. But the people I stood in front of yesterday expected the words used below and I have no problem honoring all traditions.

So below you will find the text of what I delivered yesterday. The parts in purple are meant to be humor - or so I thought - some fell rather flat.

This is want I said:


"(Very grave) We are gathered here today to give my father a last, formal farewell and to bow our heads in sorrow ....

Well, THAT is just not true!

We are here to CELEBRATE A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING    and     A - LIFE - WELL - LIVED!

We are going to laugh, rejoicing in his life and his love for all of us. It should not be a time of tears, but they will be shed. This is a time of happiness and care-free memorial of the kind, loving, gentle man we honor and for whom we raise our thankful praise to Almighty God that he has gone to his reward.
 
I am grateful to God that he is with the Prince of Peace, getting big hugs in Heaven - and - perhaps - having an orchestra of angels playing – only for him - a concert of music by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

 --------

Not many people know that my father risked a lifetime in jail for me.

During WW II, while stationed as an auditor at the massive army hospital at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, dad stole a vial of penicillin every day for well over 2 weeks. Each day was another crime in the eyes of the military. Penicillin was reserved by law only for the wounded. Each day, he brought it home. Twice a day an Army doctor came and gave me, a six month old baby, a large dose of this penicillin. I had pneumonia in every lobe of my lungs and was almost dead.

If he had been caught, each day would have cost my father a 5 years mandatory sentence to hard labor. Thankfully, he never got caught. I am alive today because of his "lawlessness."

This is just one example of the depth of his love, his dedication to his family and his willingness to do what he believed was right, no matter what the consequences to him might be.
 
After nearly 5 more years of my problems due to scarred lungs, Dad gave up a well paying job he had held before the war, sold his 3 story house with 5 rental units in it for a huge loss, left the people who had raised him and loved him all his life and moved his family from just south of Boston to Texas.

It must have been gut-wrenching for him. I know it was very difficult for him to start over anew at 34. I watched him struggle. Again, it was because of me.

I speak of only of what I know – but he loved ALL his children just as much.
 
After 5 or 6 years in Austin, dad had become the purchasing agent for the Confederate Home for Men. It was closed in 1962. Because dad only had an associate degree in accounting, the State of Texas tried to get him to just quit. His job as the sole purchasing agent for a hospital ended in the laundry at Austin State Hospital, washing sheets in 125 degree summer heat - in an un-air-conditioned building. The state was hoping he would give up. They didn’t know my dad. It lasted for agonizing months.
 
Stubborn and commitment as he was about doing the right thing – he doggedly drug himself to work every day.

He came home so tired there were times he could not eat.

And LORD, every night he had a really, really bad case of outrageously obnoxious B.O.!

It was enough to gag a maggot!



The system finally gave up. He continued working for the state until he retired.

 
In retrospect, what I had witnessed my father go through gave all of we children an example to live by -

Absolute honesty,

Unbending integrity,

The selfless sacrifice of love without regard for the personal cost –

And always the humor.


This integrity of character made it possible for both of his wives to depend on him as their health deteriorated. Dad was with them, dedicated, until the end. He never wavered in his devotion.
 
In his later years here in Austin dad gave of himself on many, many fronts.

His love of classical music made him a valued volunteer at KMFA, classical listener-supported music for Austin and the surrounding areas, 89.5 on your FM dial. Because of his selfless volunteer work for them, this coming September 7th KMFA will remember dad with a memorial day in his honor – on that day Dad would have celebrated his 91st birthday.

Right now KMFA is having a pledge drive, but let’s get this 108 year-old pipe organ fixed first.

That great, powerful, beautiful instrument was very dear to both my father’s and Ann’s hearts.


I have always wondered about things, one in particular.

From dad I inherited the gene for Baroque music. My brother and sister seem to have gotten a gene for Country and Western.

(I pause and shake my head)

There are some things that just can’t be explained.



Dad volunteered in several other capacities as well. For example, among the many, many ways he served this church, he made the tapes of the Sunday sermons for the shut-ins, he helped feed the homeless on Thursday nights, and of course, he served on this church’s board of deacons. I am sure I am being very, very brief in listing his efforts for the causes he believed in.
 
I want to close with a story.
 
Toward the end of Sunday service, the Minister asked, 'How many of you have been willing to really forgiven your enemies?'
 
80% of the congregation held up their hands.
 
The Minister, not satisfied, then repeated his question.
 
All responded this time, except one small elderly lady.
 
'Mrs. Neely, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?' he asked.
 
'I don't have any.' She replied, smiling sweetly.
 
'Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. How old are you?'
 
'Ninety-eight.' she replied.
 
'Oh, Mrs. Neely, That’s so remarkable. Would you please come down & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?'
 
The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said:   

'I outlived all those witches.'



 The point - 

My father didn’t have any enemies to out-live.

He was a friend to everyone he met – so everyone thus became is friend.

I reiterate - this day should be the end of all sorrow for us, and mark the beginning of our joy in the life we live and an imitation of the spirit of giving my father exemplified.

Most all of my life I have consciously striven to emulate him. I pray that not only I, but all of us, can live as my father lived - with dignity, respect for all mankind, experiencing the fulfillment found in giving ourselves with love and compassion towards one another, and carrying with us his love of humor and classical music  -  and always, always, always – having a smile for all we meet.
 
I am profoundly grateful that I am one of Carl's children.

For myself, the choir, the brass quintet ---- oh - there is no quintet ............ 


For all of his children and grandchildren, WE thank you."





« Last Edit: 30/03/2008 04:04:24 by JimBob »


 

Offline Make it Lady

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #1 on: 30/03/2008 19:29:46 »
I've not been on for a while, JimBob. Sorry to hear your news. He sounds like a great man. You have a hard act to follow. I often think what a poor mother I am in comparison to my own. The kids say to me as a joke "my mum is better than yours." and I reply "Oh no she's not."
I lost my brother 15 years ago this March. Around me I see new life and buds bursting. Spring in England is so beautiful. It makes you appreciate nature and well just being alive. Losing someone always changes the ones left behind. He will leave his mark.     
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #2 on: 30/03/2008 21:20:15 »
Nice eulogy, Jim.

Once again, my sympathy goes out to you in your time of grief.
 

Offline Carolyn

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #3 on: 31/03/2008 03:16:00 »
Sorry I didn't see this earlier JimBob.

So sorry for your loss.  The eulogy was lovely.  Your Dad sounds like he was a gem of a man and true blessing to everyone he knew. 
 

Offline i am bored

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #4 on: 31/03/2008 03:18:31 »
sorry for your loss
 

Offline Karen W.

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #5 on: 31/03/2008 03:20:37 »
Well as I said in my message, .. you did a great job and he must have been a heck of a guy.. Glad you reopened  your thread for comment..Sounded like an incredible man .. You are a lucky boy..and man to have him for a father!
 

Offline JimBob

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #6 on: 31/03/2008 05:01:57 »
Well as I said in my message, .. you did a great job and he must have been a heck of a guy.. Glad you reopened  your thread for comment..Sounded like an incredible man .. You are a lucky boy..and man to have him for a father!

Had to open it up - I am too darn lazy to open all the PM's I started getting
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Offline Karen W.

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #7 on: 31/03/2008 06:22:16 »
Big Big hugs!!!

  *smiles*
 

Offline JnA

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #8 on: 31/03/2008 08:29:11 »
sorry for your loss.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #9 on: 31/03/2008 20:54:54 »
Death happens to the best of us. Sorry to hear of your loss.
 

Offline Seany

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #10 on: 31/03/2008 21:05:55 »
Sorry for your loss!

But I thought your speech.. Eulogy was marvellous :)
 

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Eulogy for my Father - Delivered 28 March
« Reply #10 on: 31/03/2008 21:05:55 »

 

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