We write great eulogies. We write them every day. We write them for YOU and people like you who have lost loved ones and need a tribute that is fitting and thorough and weaves your memories and your love into a wonderful story of his or her life. When you have suffered a loss, it is sometimes nearly impossible to take the time, in the midst of entertaining out-of-town family, making funeral arrangements, comforting those who are hurting, and grieving yourself, to write a eulogy. Sometimes you need help. That is what we do... It is our honor to help you in your time of need. We can have a wonderful eulogy written for your loved one within 24 hours.
Following are forty eulogies we have written. We have used only the initial of the last name to protect privacy, but each eulogy was written for people who truly appreciated the service. Take a look at a eulogy that fits your situation - a eulogy for a friend, a eulogy for a father or mother, a eulogy for an aunt or uncle... We'd like to take some of your stress away and help you tell his or her story in the best way possible. If you are finding it just too hard right now, let us help.
Eulogy for Rachelle P. - Eulogy for a Friend
Someone asked me yesterday to describe Rachelle in one sentence. As impossible as that task is, I made an attempt. I said, “She was the epitome of strength, love and care. She was the most awesome human I’ve ever met.” That’s two sentences, of course, but one just wouldn’t do her justice. Rachelle was an amazing woman. She was grace personified. She was thoughtful and humble. She was beautiful inside and out. She was giving. She cared for others. She was patient and kind and empathetic. She never judged anyone. She believed that everyone was doing the best they could. To know Rachelle was to love her and to know you were in the presence of a very special person.
Rachelle was SO talented. She had an eye for beauty wherever it could be found or created. Her specialty, of course, was interior design. She could take an ordinary space and transform it into something truly beautiful – and practical – and livable.
She decorated one apartment in the Battery area of New York a while back and worked such wonders there that building managers from other facilities asked if she could come and work her magic for them. She had a secret to her success. Before beginning, Rachelle always sat down with those who would be living at the homes first to get an idea as to what kinds of thing might appeal to them and what their lives were like so she could fashion their living space with them in mind instead of just what she liked.
Word of her decorating abilities got out and she was invited to work along side Ty Pennington on his “Design on a Dime” project. His vision was to gather talented interior designers and decorators and help them work together to make furniture and rooms on a low cost or no cost budget, sometimes using even trash items that they would transform into functional and attractive furniture. Then the pieces would be auctioned off at charity events and the money would go to selected charities. Rachelle did this for a number of years and always loved the challenge and the fun and the idea that they were helping others.
Rachelle told of how she got started with images and art. She said that when she was in kindergarten or first grade she entered a contest for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and won first prize. She drew a picture of a girl in a spotlight in front of a microphone singing “I am a bam fan” drawing the words in block letters and adding shadows to make them stand out. She won a bond certificate but she also won the deep seated assurance that she had talent and that, if she used it, people would notice and appreciate it.
In high school (Lafayette High) Rachelle looked the classic nerd, but she most certainly wasn’t. She demonstrated that at lunch when she’d find herself surrounded by dozens of students as she competed in freestyle rap battles – often winning. Her mind was so sharp that that rap poetry just rolled out of her mouth naturally. She was on the cheerleader/booster squad, too. Those of you who remember those years know that she worked with the team to choreograph the dances.
Rachelle started out her life with a heart murmur. It kept her from being as active as she might have been, but she never let it stop her or get heRr down. She was always a happy person. She had a smile that would light up a room. Even though she was rather quiet, no one ever overlooked her presence. Her outlook on life was contagious.
I suppose that is what attracted Jesuson. They met at church when she was sixteen. It was a love that grew for a decade and a half until they married just under three years ago. Jesuson – I’m so sorry it was such a brief time. She loved you so much. You know that. Hold her love in your heart (I know you will). You had a treasure who is now with God. Jesuson reminded me of her trembling chin act when she wanted something – like a little kid – and “totally irresistible,” he says. And we’ve all heard her favorite punch line that served to lighten situations. She used it whenever anything went wrong: “sa fe deux fwa ou invite Nan Party corny.”
She loved those dogs of hers too. She always called them her “sons.” Her strong one – Tony, the Pit Bull – gentle and playful and loving - - and Marley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the wonderful, silky, classic beauty. No matter what was going on in her life, they were always there to care for her and receive her love and attention – to listen to her and comfort or share in her joy.
Rachelle’s Christian faith was a powerful influence on her life. Throughout her life she trusted that God had a plan, that He loved her and that she could “do all things through Christ who strengthened her.” I suppose that, without her faith, she could have fallen into depression. But she knew that, no matter what might come, God was there watching over her, giving her courage and hope and peace and help. Rachelle received Christ into her life at age twelve at the Church of the Redeemer. She was baptized at age 15 there. Later on she served as youth leader at the Theophil Church and was on the creative team at Brooklyn’s C3 Church.
Rachelle was a music lover. She downloaded songs and wherever she was, there was music. If there wasn’t music actually playing, it was going on in her mind. She knew the lyrics to every one of her favorite songs. Music made her happy, lifted her up, gave her hope.
She was a writer, too. She wrote poems and worked on song lyrics and arrangements for artists like Malika Kamari and others.
Rachelle loved movies. One of her favorites was “Year One.” She thought it delightful. There was a phrase from that movie that she adopted and used. You’ve probably heard her say it – “Thanks papa.” She’d use it in a variety of ways but always light heartedly. She said the movie made her laugh and the phrase, whenever she said it, reminded her of fun times. And, I suppose, she’d say it to her family – her dad, Pierre and her mother, Jeanny – to her sister Christnicha and her brother, Jean Pierre – “Thanks, Papa.” She’d mean ‘thanks for all you meant to me – for your continual love and support – for your faith that you passed on – for your belief in her – for being the best family on earth.
Someone once said that the person who loves their work never has to work a day in their life. That was Rachelle. She loved going to work every day. She thought it unfair to somebody that she was getting paid for what she loved to do. Every day was a new challenge and a new opportunity to be creative at the Independent Living Association. She loved the work and the people she worked with. She loved the new “adventures” every day. There are a couple of women there who truly appreciated all her many talents. They discovered that she could “do” hair and, once discovered, they refused to ever go to a salon again because she did it so much better. A woman of easy talent, of deep love, of grace and beauty…
Rachelle – we will miss you. You came into our lives and brightened our world. You befriended us and loved us and we loved you. Now may God enjoy you as we have. May you be happy forever. -------------
EULOGY FOR WILBERT W. - Eulogy for a Friend
The human mind is such an amazing, complex, baffling thing. It allows us to have tremendous creativity and analytic abilities. It gives us a sense of purpose and enjoyment. It allows us to live life in community. But along with all it’s wonderful abilities, it can also bring all kinds of problems into our lives. It can taunt us and torment us and cause us to alienate others or to push them away. Charles W. experienced all the human mind has to offer. There are few of us who are as creative as he was. He could draw and paint. He could do woodworking and carpentry. He could sew and scrap book. He could take photographs like a professional. He could play the guitar and cook. He saw the depth of fine art and he loved and appreciated the words and the melody in music (he had quite a collection of vinyls: Chicago, Michael Jackson, Alabama… and lately CD’s of gospel music). In so many ways, his mind was just wonderful. But that same mind gave him troubles. He didn’t trust people and he withdrew from those he knew and who loved him (even though, with that same mind, mind told him that he was often the victim in life’s situations. Because of the strength of his thoughts, we, his family, lost him for a while. It all started when he was just in his twenties. His mental issues put a tremendous strain on the family. When it all began he was often simply not “present” as a husband or a father. By 1996 he had pretty much scuttled all of the relationships in his life – at work – his friends – his co-workers – his employers – and even his wife and children and parents. When Matt and I got married, he told me that his father had left the family ten years ago and that no one ever saw him anymore. But love is sometimes more powerful than even the diseases of our minds. When Kirsten got married in 2007 he seemed to consciously want to return to the family. He made an effort. It was often awkward and always starts and stops, but he tried. Then, when his first grandchild was born – our Benjamin – he redoubled that effort and was somewhat successful. And even though he spent limited time with his grandkids – at Christmas and at birthdays – special occasions – he loved every one of them. I’m pretty sure they became the stabilizing influences in his life. I know Benjamin will always remember those mornings when he and his father and grandfather would go out to breakfast or grandpa would come over to watch football… So long as the kids weren’t too rowdy, he loved being around them. And he knew that if he were patient enough with them, he’d be rewarded by a bit of grand-baby cuddles as he could them stories and that they’d love that. Not helping his mental state much, was his work history. He started out, as a young man, working at the Sears distribution center. Then he went into selling Olivetti office machines. Then he got a job he loved. He worked at SaskTel as a product marketing specialist. He held that job for nine years. He always loved the work. It gave him a sense of purpose and he knew he was good at it. He felt he had a bright career there. But they let him go. That devastated him such that he never really recovered. He was humiliated and didn’t know where to go nor what to do. He finally found a position as a commissionaire to pay some of the bills and he prepared tax returns for a little money. He retired from those three years ago. But we all knew that those were just a jobs and that he had really checked out of the work world when he left SaskTel. Essentially he retired from there at about age forty. He probably couldn’t have done that if it hadn’t been for his father’s generosity whenever he needed a little extra. In the end, he cared for his father in his dying days. That gave him a wonderful sense of “right.” And I know his father appreciated it so much. When Charlie was young, his father had been so busy selling residential properties that he didn’t spend as much time with his own family as he perhaps should have – leaving his older brother to be the disciplinarian and sometimes going a bit overboard… I asked Matthew what special memories he has of his father. He told about his dad and he going to grandpa’s rental houses to paint the trim. He was quite young but felt great pride in working eight hour days at his father’s side – of them taking lunch on the tailgate of the station wagon – dad probably having salami and he peanut butter and jelly… Of fund raising for an 8th grade class trip – his dad helping work odd jobs… Of how patient his dad was as a driving instructor. He says he never said a word about how good or bad his driving was until he almost ran into that bus. He remembers the camping trips… Then, most recently, how wrenching it was for his dad to clean out his father’s apartment when he died. Matt says “He taught us the meaning and value of forgiveness.” And I suppose, there are few lessons harder to learn or more valuable than those… In these few days since Charles died, we have been most impressed with the faith he clearly had. We found over a dozen Bibles. We found many journals where he wrote out verses and noted what they meant to him – how they gave him a sense of God’s presence and peace of mind. At one point, I believe, he sang in a choir at church, although he wasn’t much of a church attender on a regular basis. He loved to sing. At one point, earlier on, he sang in a Barber Shop quartet. With all his talents and interests, I guess you could call him a life-long learner. Charles’ mind gave him some amazing gifts and caused him some significant regrets along the way. But he taught us all how to adjust – how to walk in someone else’s shoes – how to forgive and how to be one’s own person. It was a heart attack that took him home. He thought he had a case of the flu… But we discovered not long ago that he had been diagnosed with diabetes back in 2007. It appears that that diagnosis was his last visit to the doctor. He was treating it with every imaginable vitamin… Charles W. is a man none of us will ever forget. He was unique. He fought the fight. He worked at controlling the disease he had and, because of that, he inspired us all. ----------------
Frederick S. - Eulogy for a Father
Sixty eight years isn’t a very long time to live on this earth, but my father - our father - packed a lot into the time he had. He loved life. He loved his family. He loved his friends…
All six of us kids always knew we were loved. Sometimes there were rocky patches where we would butt heads - like him, we are all a bit opinionated and wanting of our own way - but we never doubted that he loved us and that his deepest desire for us was that we be happy and do well in life. He worked hard to give us the best life possible. He instilled in us a sense of loyalty and values that has served us all well thus far in our lives.
His grandkids, though, were the pride of his existence. He didn’t have to raise and discipline them. He could just enjoy them. His great grandkids lit up his life. He couldn’t imagine knowing that third generation. They simply thrilled him.
You grandkids and great grandkids - - would you stand up for a minute [allow them time to stand]. I want to say something to you. Your grandfather was so proud of each of you. I know that the days on which each of you were born were the happiest days of his life. He was a man of many talents and many of those have been passed on to you. Allow that sense of humor he had to come out. Allow his free spirit to cause you to seek joy in life. Be as loyal as he was to his friends. If you do, you will keep a part of him alive in your own lives and that will be a great blessing in your lives and the best possible tribute you could pay to your grandfather. [sit]
I said he had six kids. Actually dad believed he had three others. His dear friend Pam’s kids he always referred to as his daughters. Tammy, Theresa and Tina - he loved you. Thank you for loving him back. Pam, thank you for sharing your girls with dad…
Dad grew up with a great set of siblings. He and Connie were the youngest. Because they were twins they had a special relationship and did all kinds of things together as kids. And throughout their lives they depended on one another for support and to be one another’s confidant. Because of her, his life was richer and I know Aunt Connie’s has been too. Bud, Micheal, Bev – you were always great to dad, too. Jerome is gone, but dad appreciated what he brought as an older brother.
Nancy, though, went beyond the call of sisterly duty. She moved right into the respite house, along with Terry when dad did and stayed with him until the day he died. We can’t thank you two enough for all you did to make his last days better.
Dad worked for over twenty years at the City Center in Montpelier. He ended his career as the Building Maintenance Supervisor. He loved that job. He was great at it. He could do almost anything with his hands… and he taught others how to analyze problems and how to fix them. In that job he had the opportunity to meet new people on a regular basis. He loved to make them laugh - there was nothing he enjoyed more.
Dad was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He was always the one with an off color joke or story or crazy magic trick. His passion in life was to make others laugh or smile or, in some way, to put aside the seriousness of life and their problems and simply laugh out loud for a moment. And he was good at it. He was always quick-witted and ready with some kind of joke.
But he was also a man with some depth. He loved to surf the web by the hour, learning, exploring, following threads of interest. He loved to paint - oil mostly. A few very fortunate ones among us received one of his oils and those will now become family heirlooms and treasures. And he enjoyed just getting into the car and taking long rides to nowhere. Just being out on the open road, driving, thinking, listening to music, gave him a sense of peace.
And hunting. Dad loved to hunt. He loved to trudge through the woods hunting game during hunting season. There were few things in his life that gave him greater joy than coming home with a turkey with a nice beard. He was a member of the NRA and the North American Hunting Club and the Magnum Hunting Club. Every year he was out there on the first day of hunting season ready to get his limit and enjoy whomever he might be with. And more often than not, in all situations, dad was with big Dennis. They did everything together. Dad and Dennis met when they were ten years old. Think about that… Friends litererally for a lifetime. They grew up together and never grew apart, as friends often do. Rather they grew closer. They were as close real brothers might ever hope to be. Dennis - thank you for being such a great friend to our dad.
Dad wasn’t an overly religious man, but he did attend a “Promis Keepers” rally and felt touched by God there. I think that changed his life. It gave him a sense of purpose and hope and peace of mind.
I think that he felt that perhaps his intended purpose in life was make people smile. He had a gift for that. Even if you didn’t feel happy or feel like smiling, somehow he was always able to coax it out of you.
Someone asked me yesterday to describe my father in one sentence. It didn’t take me long to come up with it and it is a bit irreverent, but I said, “My dad was a carefree obnoxious, crass, dirty old man.” I meant that in the most complimentary way possible, of course.
Dad struggled with his cance for ten years. He fought the good fight. He went through chemo and all kinds of tests and treatments to try to beat it, but eventually it beat him. “Dad, you fought and ultimately lost, but you will never lose the love or your children and grandchildren and all who knew you. You were a special man - unique and quirky and fiercely loyal. We will miss you.”
Whenever we’d leave dad, we’d always tell him we loved him. Invariably he would come back with, “I love you more.” He always got the last word. But not this time dad… We - all of us - love you - always. ------------------
MICHAEL D. - Eulogy for a Friend
They say that friendships from childhood can't last. Kids grow up and go in different directions. Their interests change. They change. New friends, with more common interests and goals come along. But sometimes that is simply not true. I met Mike D. (we used to call him 'Div') when we were ten years old. We literally grew up together. We changed. I changed. He changed. But our friendship never faltered. In our early twenties, I moved from Dexter and we drifted apart a bit, but it was amazing how quickly we reconnected when I moved back. It was like I was never away. We loved one another when we were kids and we loved one another until the day he died. All our lives we simply enjoyed being together - laughing, joking around, sharing our deepest secrets and hopes and fears... I remember the day Peggy and I got married. Mike was there. If you were, you remember the crazy dance he and I did. Then he danced with Peggy... Mike would dance with each of our three daughters at their own weddings - not a crazy dance but ones where he was, to them a sentimental, wonderful uncle. He loved them and they loved him. I've often thought that our friendship - our loyalty to one another - has to be one of the most powerful examples of friendship in their lives. We grew up here in Dexter. Mike and I and my brothers and his brothers (Dave, Joe, and Dennis), we often spent summer afternoons playing pick-up ball in the park or in his front yard or in the field behind our house. Those were great days… the way boys ought to grow up. We all bonded for life somewhere between home plate and center field. We took part in lots of the Dexter rec. department activities. During the season we'd join the little league. We always had a good time. There's nothing quite like growing up in the same neighborhood in the same small town and staying around for decades. Even now, years after we stopped playing ball, Mike would enjoy pulling out those memories and we'd talk about the games we played and our team mates. He loved the Tigers. Going downtown to a live game was one of the great joys of his life. In high school Mike was quite the joiner. I think he was a member of every club or group there was except for the cheer leaders. If you look at our senior yearbook, Mike is in just about every group picture. One of his favorite pictures was him with the wrestling team at the state finals. He was proud of that. He was a great wrestler. In junior high and high school Mike was really into sports. All you Dexter High School grads no doubt remember him on the wrestling mat or on the football field… He loved the competition. He was the kind of guy who never backed down from anything or anyone. Give him a challenge and he worked hard to meet it. Mike was such a great guy. He loved to share stories and joke around with just about anyone he met. He was always positive and happy and he made you feel good just to be around him. Part of that was his ability to sometimes NOT be in the middle of things. He'd sometimes hang back, just listening to conversations, enjoying the interaction, even if he had something to say. I think people appreciated his ability to hear them out. I talked with his sisters a few days ago and they all said the same thing. They said that their brother Mike was a take charge kind of guy. They said he totally stepped up to the plate when Joe died and did so much. He made a very difficult time so much easier to bear. They all appreciated that so much. And Mike was so sensitive to his mother. He tried to visit her every day. I suppose there were some days when other things got in the way, but daily visits were his goal. He knew she needed him and he wanted to always be there for her. Mike started working at Ford the same week he graduated from high school. He took classes at Henry Ford Community College to become a tool and die maker and did that for thirty years. Because he didn't have a wife and kids to come home to, he always worked the midnight shift - working most of his career twelve hour days seven days a week... He enjoyed the work, but there was a lot of it and he was a happy man the day he turned in his papers to retire. Then, for the past eight years, he worked with heating and cooling. Again working hard, sometimes long hours. Would you believe that Mike had over a thousand DVD's? He loved watching movies. He had seen just about all of them. Movie watching was one of his obsessions. He also enjoyed watching the Lions and U of M football whenever they were on TV. He loved listening to classic rock music. He loved that old dog of his - name - a Weirmaraner. When name died, Mike couldn't replace him. It would seem like a betrayal. He loved that dog so - and the dog was fiercely loyal to Mike. Mike had a life philosophy that made him try anything at least once or twice. He and I went snow skiing a few years ago. It wasn't a pretty sight, seeing a couple of middle aged men spending more time on their back sides than on their skis... But we had great fun. We were glad we didn't break anything. Then we decided not to do that again. One of the things he discovered along the way was fireworks. He was really into that. I think his favorite holiday was the Fourth of July. He’d go out on his pontoon boat with a bunch of friends up in the Chain of Lakes and fire them off. Later, when he bought his summer house on Portage Lake, he liked nothing better than inviting the family up and giving them a private show. Being on the water was always a big part of Mike’s life. I remember one time when he went with Peggy and me up to Peggy’s family cottage and we went water skiing. We were skiing in tandom and both of us were showing off a bit and we crashed into one another at full speed. We were always amazed that we didn’t kill each other… I often was aware of the fact that Mike knew just about everyone in town - or at least it seemed so. He couldn't go anywhere in Dexter without seeing someone he knew - stopping to chat with them or just waving and calling out a friendly 'hey.' He loved this town and everything about it. He loved knowing so many people here. Mike was a man who cared about others in the community. He would be so honored to know that all of you have come here today to remember him. There wasn't anything Mike cared more for than his family and close friends. He had, I think, fifteen nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly... The kids of his sisters Joan and Mary and Andrea and Debbie and brothers Dave and Joe and Dennis. You guys meant the world to him. He talked of you often. And I know that one of the things you will take with you for the rest of your lives from your uncle Mike is how he showed you all how you can work hard and still play and enjoy life. He showed you how to have compassion and be generous to those in need... What a legacy he leaves... Someone asked me to say something about Mike in one sentence a few days ago. I said, "He was a loving and honest man who loved to have fun and who was always there for me and my family and not afraid to say he loved you." I've never said truer words. So, Mike... Let me say it: I - WE - loved you. You made our lives infinitely richer and being able to call you 'friend' made me one of the luckiest people on earth. We'll miss you.
Eulogy for Nicola C. - Eulogy for a Grandfather
Some of us have people in our lives who seems, somehow, bigger than life. "Nonno" (my grandfather) was one of those for me and, probably, for many of you. I tend to be somewhat of an instigator in our family and my number one target has always been Nonno. He was a serious man most of the time, but my mission was to get a good laugh out of him whenever I could. And we both loved it when I succeeded. I found some old pictures when we were putting together the picture board over there and, as you'll see, he wasn't really so terribly serious all the time. He obviously loved to have fun. But I've never known a man with such a passion for life and for work and for family and friends. He was a 100% man. Whatever he did, he did with all his heart and energies. I've often called him a "true warrior" because of his strength of character. He was an inspiration in my own life and memories of him will continue to inspire me all my life. Back in 1950, when Nonno was just 14, he came to America with his mother, Antonietta D'Errico, and his two sisters and his brother (Adelaide, Lilianna, and Francesco). His father, Alfonso, was already here, preparing a home for his growing family. They came to Montreal because life in those days was not so great in Italy. They were looking for a better life and a better situation and they found it here. The C. family grew and thrived in their new home. In the depths of his heart, though, Italy was still Nonno’s birthplace. He was proud to be Italian and would defend his birthplace against any slight. And if you didn’t respect the country, you’d be no friend of his. Nonno spent his life as a plumber. He loved it. He never aspired to be anything more than an apprentice, but that suited him and the job just fine. He was such a strong leader that he quickly rose to the position of foreman. He LOVED being the boss and the man in charge. He was born to leadership and people followed his direction to the tee. There were few things in life he felt more proud of than the jobs he was running coming in at 100% efficiency. He retired about nine years ago. It wasn't easy for him. He longed for the work for years afterward. It was his life - it was his identity - and he loved it. Many of us have always thought that if Nonno hadn't been a plumber he would have been a lawyer. He loved to debate and argue and discuss. And, of course, he was never wrong - even when he was wrong. He'd talk about ideas and facts and opinions until you were exhausted or until your points were better than his, at which point he'd use his famous line, "change topic" and he'd refuse to discuss it any further. Discussion over. Nonno loved making wine. He took care of his wine like it was his newborn baby. He loved making it and showing it off and sharing it and enjoying it with others. I'm not sure which he loved more, his wine or his cars. He always had a love affair with the cars he owned - especially in his younger years. He only kept each of them for a few years, but when he sold them, they were always in practically mint condition. He kept them running smoothly and always polished and shining and clean inside and out. Back in those days, he and his closest friends, Evandro, Romano, Gino, and Lorenzo couldn't wait for the weekends to roll around. They'd take off and drive down to New York or Atlantic City, going to great restaurants and dance halls and just having a blast. A little over a half century ago, though, he settled down to a more domestic pace and married his high school sweetheart. Fifty two years grandma and he were married and what a great marriage it was. We all loved to see the love they had for one another and we're all, hopefully headed for the same kind of relationships in our own lives. Here's a great story: Grandma's father hired Nonno to work with him doing some plumbing [not sure what kind of work] and asked him to do him a favor. He asked Nonno to pick up his daughter each morning on his way into work and drive her to school. No problem... He did it gladly. When she was sixteen she invited him to be her date to the grad ball at her school. That began the great romance - the handsome young man dating the bosses daughter... Nonno was such a family man. He was so proud of each of his sons, Alfio, Francesco and Claudio. I have a feeling one of you guys was supposed to be a daughter... but I don't think he ever complained. …And the women they married - Teresa, Rita and Rebecca – he thought of them as his own daughters. He loved them and was as proud of them as he would have been if they were his own daughters. And his grandchildren. How he adored all of us. [name grandchildren here] - we all thought Nonno the best grandfather anyone could have. One of the challenges, though, was prying a compliment out of him. We knew he loved us but he was pretty sparing when it came to handing out praise. If he complimented any of us about something we were walking on air. We knew we had REALLY done something of note. A compliment from Nonno was like winning the lottery. But he always showed interest in our lives. He always asked about how school was going or what our daily routine was like or how we were doing. He attended tons of our ball games and concerts and school activities... Nonno was a true family man. He wanted the best for all of us all the time. He would have done anything for us. Someone asked me to list three things that best describe my grandfather. I said, "Pride: He was proud of everything he ever did in his life. I said 'Honesty': He earned an honest living and he always gave an honest opinion. And I said 'Loving': Above anything else in all his life, he loved his wife and his sons, his grandchildren, his friends and his neighbors." I think I can add a fourth thing. He was a Perfectionist: whether work or cars or wine or whatever, everything had to be done exactly right. For the past ten years Nonno has been struggling with his health issues. He was so close to dying so many times that I often thought of him as a cat - having nine lives. He would always find a way to come back. It was that amazing resilience that gave us hope that he would this time too. But our warrior lost that final battle. He lost it without complaining or wanting any pity. Nonno - we loved you. We are who we are because of who you were. Thank you. You were the best. -----------------
EULOGY FOR Siegfred M. - Eulogy for a Best Friend
On January fifteenth my best friend passed away and, on that day, I knew my life would never be the same again. I will never have a better friend than Sig. Sig Maling was, without doubt, the most amazing man I have ever known in my life. He inspired me. He taught me. He was always there when I needed him. And I know I'm not alone. Many of you here today could honestly say the same thing. Sig was an exceptional human being. He was kind and good and sensitive to others and their needs. He loved us all unconditionally. Sig and I met in high school. We were fifteen and I was in the process of cutting class to head for the beach to go surfing. I was waiting for some of my buddies and Sig came along. We started talking (must have been the board shorts). We got along so well during that first, brief, encounter that we exchanged numbers then, throughout high school we kept in contact over the phone, through the mail and on date nights. When we graduated Sig joined the army. I went to college, got married, and started a family. We lost contact. But then, about twenty years ago I was out shopping and stopped in at the Waipahu City Mill and saw Sig. It was amazing. We hugged and cried and laughed and wondered why we had been apart for so long. We've been best friends ever since. I think that is what faith is - a belief that, even if we tried, we couldn't come up with a better story of friendship than what Sig and I had. Sig loved that song "Lean on Me." I always felt that he liked it so much because it described our relationship - our mutual need for one another. It says, Sometimes in our lives we all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there's always tomorrow Lean on me, when you're not strong And I'll be your friend I'll help you carry on For it won't be long 'Til I'm gonna need Somebody... to lean on And we did. We leaned on one another constantly. Over the years Sig and I spent hours and hours just talking - about life and its peculiarities - it's joys and sadnesses and our hopes and fears. We talked about his cancer and death and what it might be like and what it all means. One of the things we talked about a lot was how his illness was affecting people he loved. It hurt him that what was going on in his life was painful to others.
We talked about people - some of you - people we knew and loved and what everyone was doing. And sometimes we ran out of words. We'd watch a movie or a TV program. Sometimes we'd just talk about silly things and we'd have some great laughs. Sig had such a wonderful laugh, didn't he? Can't you just hear it now? Can't you just see his contagious smile? Sig was a pretty simple man. He didn't need much to make him happy. If WE were happy, that gave him all he needed.
We were all worried about Sig when he joined the Army and spent his four year commitment fighting in the Gulf War. He may or may not have been in danger but he never talked about it much afterward. He loved his country and proudly served, but war was not something he was fond of.
When he got home, he got a job with the "Organized Living Stores." For twenty three years he worked for them, ultimately becoming the reset supervisor for City Mill. He loved the job. It brought out his creativity and sense of organization and purpose. He was great at it. He was always so proud when he finished one of the projects he was working on on time or ahead of time. He loved the hard work and the long hours. When he went on medical leave, that was hard for him. He was such a loyal man that leaving them in the lurch was difficult. I know he hoped to go back, but his cancer continued to progress and he couldn't.
One thing I know for certain. He loved his family. Spending time with all of you Malings and your families was one of the greatest joys of his life. Tony and Cora - he adored you guys. You raised a great son. I know your grief is deep.Tony and Marie - you were the best brother and sister anyone could have. Your support was phenomenal and I know he appreciated you both so much. And Aubrey - you were your uncle's pride and joy. He never said your name without smiling. I hope you know how much he loved you and you'll always remember some of the things you did together and the fun you had. You had a special relationship with him. He adored you.
Do you remember the way he would always say, "OK, then..." It was one of his little endearing phases. He used it so often that I'm sure that any time I hear it for the rest of my life I'll think of Sig.
Sig was diagnosed over ten years ago. It was devastating news. He knew, though, that he'd fight it. We all thought maybe he win. He underwent the chemo and the radiation. He had three surgeries. He did everything he possibly could but, in the end, the disease overcame him and he left us. These past three months, being hospitalized at Queen's was tough. He didn't want anyone to visit him because he knew his condition would upset them and his whole life was dedicated to NOT upsetting those he loved. But in the end, he allowed it. He needed to see the most important people of his life before his life ended - to say goodbye - to tell them, once again, the he loved them. And so many of you did visit and gave him encouragement. He truly appreciated that. It was all of you that kept him optimistic and positive throughout, even in the midst of the physical pain he was suffering.
Sig was a man who, in his brief 43 years lived life to the fullest. He gave all of us an example of courage and grace, humility and love. No matter how long a person lives, doing that is more than most of us can hope to accomplish ourselves - to be at peace with oneself and the world - to show compassion and understanding and the joy of living. That was my friend, Sig.
Sig - we will always remember you. We will always consider ourselves fortunate to have had you in our lives and to have been loved by you. We'll miss you, dear friend. Rest in peace.
EULOGY FOR JOAN MARY H. - Eulogy for a Friend
Loretta and I visited Joe Mary at hospice just before she died. I was amazed at her and Loretta's conversation that day. They talked about old times and, even in her pain, they were laughing and joking and joking. She was telling us what songs she wanted at her memorial service and, while we were talking, she asked me to give her eulogy. I've never been more honored in my life. Joe Mary was, probably, the most saintly woman I've ever known. She was always concerned for others. She always put other people's needs ahead of her own. When she gave advice, you felt you were in the presence of someone truly wise. To stand here and talk about her life is humbling but, like I said, truly an honor. When they were both young, Joe Mary and Jim met and he swept her off her feet. I don't know all the details, but I do know that their marriage was something to behold. They loved one another completely and each believed themselves to be the luckiest people on earth. Jim died five years ago, she was devastated. They had been married for forty years and it was almost inconceivable to her that he could be gone and she would live the rest of her life alone. They had moved to Florida by that time and were living their dream life - retired, in the sun, plenty of leisure time, friends, enjoying every day. But she wasn't alone. The cancer was still there and it came back with a vengeance about six months ago and would ultimately beat her. Jim and Joe Mary raised an amazing family. Lisa - Shawn - she was so proud of you. She talked about you so often... and Shawn - you really stepped up to the plate in your mother's last days to make them easier. You were there when she most needed you. The two of you made her life full and rich. One of the most devastating events of Joe Mary's life was when James Michael died. His death broke her heart. In some ways, she never got over it. Losing a child may be one of the most difficult things a person could ever have to bear... and it weighed heavy on her until her dying day. And I'm pretty sure that the happiest day of her life was when Nancy Gene was born. To see her granddaughter born - to see the next generation get started - thrilled her. Nancy - I know that your grandmother was so proud of the way you've grown up. She was proud of the respect you always show to your aunts and uncles and your parents. As you continue to grow, remember her and the example she set for you and the fact that she will always be with you in spirit. She was such a patient, honest, loving person. If you can capture those traits in your own life, you’ll make her super proud of you. Crispy, Susanne, Frank, Lorraine, Loretta and Christopher - You were, all her life, her best friends. You were her younger brothers and sisters. You were the ones who shared her childhood memories and loved your parents together, who were the foundation stones of her life... I remember a story she told about growing up. She would convince Crispy and Suzanne to let her fix up their hair. She did braids and curls and made them look beautiful, then, in the process, she managed to shave off their eyebrows. I've always wondered what her parents, Joene Fransis thought of that. Joe Mary retired over twenty years ago, but when she was employed she worked at Tranceatron on the assembly line then at Converse rubber and finished up her career at Dnyamic Research. Throughout see enjoyed her work – made enjoyable, most certainly, by the great people she met. She made friends at each of her work places and kept them for years. Friends were important to Joe Mary. There is in doubt that hear closest were Richie and Marie Hienze. I think they met Joe Mary through Jim. But they became fast friends, doing all sorts of things together – double dating to concerts and out to dinner and all kinds of events. Joe Mary had an unbelievable eye for decorating. Walking into her house you could swear you were in an upscale museum. She had a flare for what things went together to make a space beautiful. She’d often shop at consignment shops and thrift shops and yard sales and antique stores and loved to continually “re-do” her house with new “old” things. She was never afraid of change… I’ve often thought that, other than my wife, Joe Mary was the classiest woman I’ve ever known. She loved the beach, too. She always looked forward to going to Hampton every summer and renting her cottage and just being at peace with the beauty and the sun and sand. She always had Snuggles along with her, of course, for company. I know that little dog already misses her and wonders what’s going on… They were so in love with one another. Joe Mary tended to make light of difficult situations. Do you remember what she’s always say? She’d say, “Well…what are you going to do?” Worry never changes anything. You might as well make the best of what comes. I'll never forget, back when Jim was still alive, he and Joe Mary, and Loretta and I went to a Shirelles concert. They loved the Shirelles and were thrilled to be there. When the band came onto the stage and the concert was about to start, Joe Mary was missing. We didn't know where she was until we looked back to the stage. There she was, somehow managing to sing along with the Shirelles. That night they sang Joe Mary and Jim’s song, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" For Joe Mary, today, I'd like to answer that question. .... Joe Mary, 'yes' we will we love you tomorrow and the next day and the next and the next and for every day for the rest of our lives.... You've touched us and we will never forget you nor stop loving you.
HEBERT E. - Eulogy for a Grandfather
St. Paul wrote these wonderful words – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” That’s the best way I know of to describe our grandfather. Of all the men I’ve ever known, he exemplified those qualities of love better than anybody. He was patient and kind. He never, ever boasted. He wouldn’t even think of dishonoring or disparaging others. He was not easily angered nor did he hold grudges.
Grandpa E. was, first and foremost, a family man. There wasn’t anything in all the world that was more important to him. He was so in love with Mary Lou. To see them together was to know what love ought to look like. He was gentle with her and always treated her with respect and love. They were married for ____ wonderful years.
The same was true of his grandkids. He truly loved us. There are four of us and I’m pretty sure the days on which we were born were among the most joyous of his life. While we were growing up he spent as much time with us as he possible could. He attended sporting events and concerts and recitals and took us places to have fun and just to be with us. None of us will ever forget how he loved us. We will never forget how he took the time to show us that love.
We gave him three great grandchildren… and they gave him two great great grandkids. I hope all of you - the great and the great great - will remember your grandfather and the gentleness and goodness that was in him and that you will all nurture those qualities you saw in him in your own lives. That is the greatest way to honor him and to have blessed lives yourselves.
But the one he loved more than any of us – his wife, his kids, his grandkids – was God. I told someone yesterday that he was a ‘Godly man.’ And he was. He wasn’t much of a talker most of the time, but if the Lord came up, he opened up and could talk until dark. He loved to talk about spiritual things and discuss theology. He had some pretty solid ideas as to what was right theologically, but he was open to hearing differences of opinion. If you knew him, you know he was quite averse to conflict or confrontation. So he respected the faith of others and knew that we each come to our understanding about Godly things from different directions. So long as we loved Jesus, all of our differences were of minor importance. He was deeply involved in the Baptist Temple in ___________. He loved the people there and the preaching and the sense of belonging.
Grandpa grew up going to church – that’s probably where his value system was formed and made him the man he was. But something happened to him during those few years in Texas that changed him. He came back with a renewed – deepened faith that permeated every aspect of his life. He had been a Christian for decades, but now he seemed to know Jesus intimately.
Grandpa was a man who knew what the word ‘commitment’ meant. He always sought to do the right thing in everything he did. If he told you something, you KNEW it was true. He was honest through and through. His faith demanded it.
Back when he was a young man, he was in the Army – Fort Custer up in Michigan. He was in the Artillery Battalion, I believe. While in the Army he received a number of awards and commendations. None of us ever knew about them. He was the kind of man who never sought the spotlight. He never wanted to be the center of attention. He’d no doubt be embarrassed even today, being the focus of all our attention. He always hated his birthdays for that very reason. He didn’t want people to fuss over him.
For some thirty years, Grandpa worked as a sheet metal worker – thirty years here then five or so in Texas until he retired . He was good at it. He loved to tell of some of the projects they were working on – airplanes and helicopters and other big machines. He felt a sense of satisfaction that he was doing something significant and of importance.
Grandpa was a man who was always available to any of us who needed him. If he could help, he was happy to and did so willingly. But he also believed that, once helped, a person needed to learn to stand on his (or her) own two feet and work hard and do whatever needed done – not expecting any handouts.
Grandpa loved to travel. When he was in the Army he did a lot of it and he LOVED to see the world. He had been to the Philippines. Texas, of course. He took us to Mexico. He and Mary Lou travelled to __________ and ____________ and _____________. There was something about seeing how others lived and the beauty of God’s creation in other places and seeing all the variety and beauty and man-made things that was astounding to him.
Grandpa was a farm boy. Raised in ___________. He always, until his final days, loved to get down into the ground and plant seeds and watch things grow. He always had a garden and enjoyed tending it and caring for it and enjoying it.
I never realized grandpa was a singer until recently. I suppose he sang in church when the whole congregation sang, but when he was in the hospital – when his breath was shallow because of the pneumonia – I heard him sing. And it was beautiful and it was touching and I will never forget it. He was singing a hymn – I don’t remember which one, but as he sang it was sweet – he was singing of God and of God’s love and of God’s peace.
Grandpa – you have been an inspiration. You have been a role model. You have been a man who has shown us how to live truly as Christians. Sing now with the angels as you approach that heavenly throne.
FRANK H. - Eulogy for a Father-in-Law
Hello. My name is Charley D. I am Andy’s son through marriage to his daughter, Beth. And that IS the way I’ve always looked at it. To me and _________ , Virginia’s husband, Andy was a second father and we loved him like our own and he treated us like his.
How could you not love Andy. He was, in so many ways, his own person – thoughtful, generous, honorable, loving, generous, selfless, kind… wise. He was the kind of man who you could go to and present a problem or an issue and he could come up with a simple, effective solution. Whenever he directed his talents in your direction, you ended up in great shape. Andy was super interested in getting the job done, solving the problem, meeting the particular challenges of the day. Whatever time it took, was the time he devoted; whatever jobs were required, he did - whether that meant flying or leading or training or coordinating at the DOJ, or cooking, cleaning, or changing diapers at home. He gave of himself willingly and tirelessly.
My understanding is that Andy grew up a bit on the wild side as a teenager. His parents were worried about him. He had tons of energy and his mind was always working – but on mischief most of the time. His parents were so concerned (and loved him so much) that they packed him up, loaded him into the car and pushed him out when they got to the Marion Military Institute. It took him a while, but there he learned how to channel his energies and his mind into productive avenues. He learned discipline and he learned what it meant to serve – both his country and his fellow man.
Andy met Sandy when he was when he was on leave from Vietnam at the Fort Monmouoth Officers Club – Scriben Hall. He saw her from across the room and something inside him told him he HAD to meet her. He asked a friend to introduce him. That friend (his wing-woman they’d call her today) went up to Sandy and said that “that young man over there would like to meet you.” Sandy was taken with that genteel approach. Then, when she met him, she fell in love with his wonderful southern charm and manners and warmth. They were married for 46 years – years filled with love and laughter and fun as they raised their two beautiful daughters, Beth and Virginia.
Andy was an amazing role model for his daughters. He taught them manners and values and how to be good people. He was firm with them, but that firmness was always tempered with the deepest love a father could give. They had a tradition in the Anderson family. The kitchen island was Andy’s special repository of surprises and advice. He’d leave little gifts for them there. Sometimes chocolate from his C rations when he had been out in the field. Other times little gifts or notes. Sometimes Moonpies. Sometimes articles he’d clipped about things like the dangers of sky diving. When their friends were over, they’d often find cinnamon rolls for everyone… Just to let the girls know he was thinking of them.
Andy was always a philosopher of sorts. Virginia says she remembers some of the things he’d say about life. He’d say, “Be particular.” That meant you shouldn’t settle for less than you want. He’d say, “Life is tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.” Then this wonderful advice, “Life is full of potholes. You don’t have to hit every single one.”
He had pet names for the girls. He called Beth “Boo” and Gini “Cakes.” I’m not sure exactly where those came from but he called them those nicknames from the day they were born. Over the years he took them for fun days – skating or sledding. He built them a magnificent, hand-crafted wooden doll house (he was a talented wood worker – things that he made will become family heirlooms.)
And the grandkids. He loved you guys more than you can possibly imagine. The days on which each of you were born brought more joy to your ‘bubbas’ life than anything ever. Always remember what he was like. Remember the meatloaf and fried egg sandwiches. Remember the fun things you did together. Be like him as much as you can – honest and funny and caring. Your lives will be blessed.
Andy loved nature. He loved to be out there, seeing and experiencing all that God had made. And he had his own mission to do what he could to maintain it. He loved theh Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf. He raised thousands and thousands of oysters in the St. Mary River to help clean the Bay a bit. He loved digging in the earth to produce wonderful vegetables. He loved exploring the Everglades and seeing the wonders of that ecosystem.
Andy had a bit of a wanderlust. Traveling and seeing the world was in his blood. Whenever he could, he travelled. He loved to see how people lived and the beauty and uniqueness of other places. When they were stationed in Germany, there was nothing he liked more than heading out to various spots throughout Europe, exploring and enjoying.
I’d like to read just a little of something Sandy wrote recently: Andy was the love of my life. He put the joy in every day for 46 years… I was not afraid to try anything because I had Andy to come home to… Andy had a great sense of humor, with a dry, souithern wit. He had a quick, friendly smile and a natural, sincere, andn hkumble way with peole that drew folks to him. Place Andy in a new location and pretty soon he was friends with everyone. He even made friends in the grocery store aisle… Andy’s faith was important to him. He lived the Christian values every day. When Andy was part of the Army of occupation serving in the Berlinn Brigade before the wall came down, he served as superintendent of the Sunday School. He immediately enlisted me as a teacher… He was a very generous man and a planner… He put away to take care of major life expenses. He paid for the funeral of a feiend and neighbor… He put together college savings for our grandchildren… When the end of his joiurney on earth was at hand, I couild not and did not say “Goodbye.” I asked him to please make a place for me and that when my turn comes, I will find him again…
Pancreatic cancer took this brave soldier and father and neighbor. But even in its victory, it saw a brave man who would not complain who held fast and fought valiantly.
Andy, we’re all going to miss you tremendously, but your legacy goes on in each of us – your example of honesty and courage and life will las us for as long as we live. We have loved you and always will.
ANGELA G. - Eulogy for a Mother
[In Italian say] Thank you all for coming today to honor our mother. She would have been so pleased. [Translate]
Mom always wanted us (Becky and me and dad) to speak Italian at home – to know the language – to preserve the heritage. If mom could have raised us back in Italy, in Salerno or Cava Dei Tirreni where she grew up, she would have loved it. Becoming an American citizen was probably one of the most joyous days of her life – she loved America – but Italy was in her blood and she longed to be there.
Mom was just a little lady physically – she stood at only about four feet and ___ inches. People might look at her and see a sweet and pretty Italian woman – a little doll. But she was a tough woman. She was fiercely independent and tended to get her way.
I remember the story she loved to tell – I was just a toddler at the time – it was back in the little town where I was born. Mom and her friend, Val and I were walking downtown. As we approached a railroad crossing we saw a train coming slowly down the track. Val said, “Darn – we’re going to have to wait for that train…” Mom said, “Oh no. The train will stop for me. You just watch.” She stepped out onto the track, to Val’s horror “Angela! You can’t go out there. Come back!” she called. But mom was already on the track. She held up her hand for the train to stop and the conductor, who was leaning out of the engine – did. That little woman with such a strong will, stopped a train!
After the war, mom and dad came to this country for a better life. And they had it, but mom mourned her home and family for years. Her brothers had been prisoners of war, her parents struggled in Italy. She had to remain in the United States for a minimum of five years for citizenship, so she wouldn’t see any of them for at least half a decade. It was a heartbreak for her.
She didn’t waste those years, though. She learned English on her own with a only few lessons at the “Y.” She had learned to drive before she came here (in the day when women seldom knew how to drive) and she learned and adapted to the American way of life. Mom was a woman who always did what she had to do and never complained.
When they came over, she arrived with a trunk full of books by the great authors – in Italian, of course – Dumas, Tolstoy, D’Annunzio… She loved reading and broadening her mind. She loved the theatre and the opera. She loved to take vacations to the ocean or the mountains where she could walk the trails and enjoy the beauty that God had created…
Over the course of her life, mom worked with our grandmother, Emilia, in her store, the Grespan Grocery. Later she worked at the 320 Store and the Cacciatore Market and, for a short time at an antique book binding shop in Rockford. Along the way she gathered dozens of great friends. Mom was such a charming person – a bit flirtatious, if truth be known – that everyone loved her. She was so outgoing that she was happiest when she was surrounded by people. Photographers often saw that inner beauty (and the outer) and how her personality sparkled and wanted to take her picture and use her as a model. We have tons of pictures of her as a young, coquettish woman. She was the kind of woman who loved the attention of gentlemen and if a man took her hand and kissed it, it made her day.
Of course the gentleman she most wanted to kiss her hand was our father. Dad was in the Army in Salerno and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He courted her with violin serenades and in every other way possible. When he was in Rome, he’d take a jeep to go back and visit her. One time he actually wrote on the jeep ‘Angela, ti amo’ (I love you). They were married for 53 years in a marriage that was a joy to everyone who knew them.
I’ve had so many people come to me telling of times when they were having difficulties of one kind or another and how mom was always so kind. Always ready to listen. Always ready to give good and wise counsel. She was thoughtful that way. She had a deep sense of how things ought to be.
Mom loved to travel and see the world. She traveled to Scandinavia and Germany, all over the United States – to national parks and New England and all over the Midwest – and Italy, of course. She loved seeing how other people lived and who they were and the sights and sounds of different places. Traveling may have been one of her greatest pleasures. She was always ready to go. When she was travelling with my husband and me, every morning she’d get up with “…so where are we going today?”
Mom attended church here at our Lady of Pompeii – the sister church of the one she worshipped at in her youth back in Italy. Here she felt at peace. Here she felt the presence of God and her forefathers and the memories she had. Here she felt at home.
Those memories faded in a dramatic way over the past few years. She still loved to have a man kiss her hand or to give and receive hugs, but nearly everything else left her. Yolanda, her caregiver for the past seven years, was wonderful in all she did to help mom have a good life until the end. Becky was phenomenal in her care for our mother. She was wholly devoted to her for years – sacrificing so much of herself to care for the woman who meant so much to us all our lives. Becky, you’re amazing. Thank you.
Mom was a great role model for her daughters. Her positive attitude and her spunk and her ability to love others inspired us. Mom, we loved you in life. You have implanted in us memories that will last forever. Thank you for all you were and all you did. Arrivederci. [then Italian for ‘Go with God’ or ‘God bless’]
Charles S. - Eulogy for a Friend
Charles Scott Silver’s middle name was surely, in reality, ‘the boatman.’ Somewhere, very early in his life, Chuck developed a passion for boats that never let up. Family legend has it that he bought his first boat when he was ten years old. Then, for the next six decades, he never lived a day without owning at least one and, when he was out on the water, he was truly in his element. Chuck loved his Switzer (he loved Switzer boats more than all others). His Switzer was the ‘family boat’ for over twenty five years. The Silver family was always on it in Pewaukee, Lake Lac La Belle, Nagawica, Namabin, Lake Michigan, or the Milwaukee River… Chuck and Judy raised their family in Pewaukee and they all spent as much time as they could out on Big Cedar Lake, where Chuck taught the kids the joy of water skiing and, across the street from their home, the wonders of Great Lake Michigan. Chuck was always a family man and spending time with Judy and their kids (Erik and Carrie) as they grew up and, later with their spouses (Jen and Steve) made him as happy as a man could be. Erik and Carrie’s friends would often accompany the family when they were teens and Chuck and Judy were always delighted to include them as part of the family. When the grandkids came along (Dylan, Skyler and Jackson), Chuck’s joy was doubled. That next generation of Silvers (and Stock’s) thrilled him more than he could say. Chuck was always in love with the outdoors. He grew up in Wauwatosa and spent hundreds of hours out on the Wauwatosa Highlands riding his bike early in the mornings. He would thrill to the sounds of nature – the morning doves, the other creatures of nature awakening and preparing for the new day. He loved the quietness and solitude of God’s creation. Once his day got started, Chuck would “make my ‘rounds’ on my 20” bike with saddlebags that were army bags.” The ‘rounds’ were to about six car dealers to look through their junk to find treasures. One of the treasures he found in those early years was a pipe frame that needed wheels and other adjustments but had brakes. He collected some aluminum and melted it down in his parent’s house furnace and made a steering wheel. Eventually he would end up putting a 16hp Evinrude motor on it making it a super fast, fun ride. Chuck could make or fix just about anything. If it was broken, even if he didn’t know exactly how it was supposed to be repaired, he’d see it as a personal challenge and set about fixing it. Chuck and Judy met in a sociology class in college. A friend introduced them. They were engaged by the end of 1969 and married four months later (Judy made her own wedding dress and did all the planning for the big event in about a month while Chuck was on leave from the Navy – before he had to head back to Vietnam. Then, for the next 46 years they showed the world what a couple in love ought to look like. It wasn’t always smooth sailing (no relationship is), but their commitment to one another and that “till death do us part” line they said in that church on their wedding day, meant something to them. Chuck was a proud member of the Christian Science Church. He was active in Wisconsin and in Missouri – he served on church boards and he served as an usher. He was the kind of man who fit the description of a man of faith. He was humble. He was patient. He was honest. He was generous. He was kind. Chuck and Judy left their beloved Wisconsin in 1998. Erik was in college in Missouri. Carrie and her family were already living there. Memories and friends and a lifetime of being a cheese-head all taken into account, family always won. They gladly moved to OFallon and never looked back… They had some wonderful friends in and around Mequon. Tim Sallach, a buddy from Mercury Marine in Cedarburg… Craig _______. He and Craig were friends since grade school. But family being together trumped just about everything else in life. Chuck learned to love Missouri. They have lakes where he could boat. He was happy. The greatest days of Chuck and Judy’s lives were the days on which Dylan, Skyler and Jackson were born. That next generation – new ‘family.’ For a family man, there are few things in life more satisfying than having new babies born… Chuck was, for the most part, a pretty quiet man – he was at peace with himself. But he knew that the key to living life well was the reaching out to others and lending a hand – with stepping forward to do what needed to be done. He was never afraid to get his hands dirty or to help someone with something. That is the lesson he most wanted to pass on to his kids and grandkids – practice your faith – do unto others – enjoy life – do good. Ultimately cancer took Chuck’s life, but not even death – not even suffering – could conquer his spirit or his faith or his love.
DENNIS K. - Eulogy for a Father-in-Law
Hi. I’m Sarah K., daughter-in-law to one of the finest men I’ve ever known. I stand here in Jason’s place to say words about his father that he didn’t think he’d be able to say. I am honored to that for my husband and for Denny. Here is what Jason wanted to say:
Some of my father’s last words were “We had so much fun… we had do much fun.” And I think that characterizes dad’s life. He had fun. He enjoyed life and people and family and work and life-long friends and being creative and funny… and God.
Dad didn’t have an easy life in many ways. Twenty four years ago he had a liver transplant. He had two knee replacements. He had a spleen removed. He suffered through the pains and sores of leukemia chemo therapy and pneumonia. But in it all you never heard a word of complaint. He never gave off so much as a heavy sigh. The positivity of his life – his faith – kept him strong and undergirded his hope….”
Dad and mom met at the Shay Vu night club on 69th street at a dance. He introduced himself and asked, “can I take you to a flick sometime?” She loved his straightforward approach and thought he was pretty handsome. They went out, they fell in love, they were married right here at Our Lady of Fatima over forty three years ago. Over the years, I’ve no doubt, those words they spoke that day came back to them over and over, “…for better or for worse – in sickness and in health.” They meant those words and for four decades have been an amazing role model for all of us. Their love and devotion and steadfastness has been inspirational. I know that Eric and Deann join me in giving testimony to that. These past years haven’t been easy for mom – nor for any of us. Dad’s struggles were long and emotionally draining and challenging in so many ways. I’ll never forget something he said to mom. He said, “Don’t be mad at me (meaning, for dying).” Sad, of course. Hurt, naturally. Mad – not even close…
Mom and dad raised us with a set of Christian values that have set our lives in the right direction – that we will pass on to our children. He was never one to mother us with advice or direction. He allowed us to explore on our own and figure how to connect with others and how to live life. But we always knew he was there to give us the guidance we needed. He used to quote Marcus Aurelius to us, “You don’t learn to hold your own in the world by standing guard, but by attacking and getting well hammered yourself.” He taught us to go after things, not to be afraid, to lead and not worry if people weren’t following…
At this point, Dad and mom have only one grandchild – our son Matthew. He’s only ten months old, but he and his grandfather had such a powerful bond. Dad was amazed at how he pays attention to people and how he loves books and how he can already throw a ball… Matthew loved playing with grandpop’s ‘hands of stone’ boxing hat which he wore throughout his battle with cancer. Dad spend several weeks in our home following two of his hospital stays. He treasured the time the two of them could spend together. Matthew won’t remember much about his grandpop in the years to come except for what we share with him – all of you and us. Let’s all help him know the great man he who loved him so much…
Most of dad’s life was spent at the butcher shop – at Liberty Meat Markets, Pathmark, Shoprite, Swarthmore Co-Op. In each of those places he found wonderful people, especially at Swarthmore. When he got sick, it was overwhelming to see so many of his colleagues come to his house to check up on him and bring him gifts. He truly loved all of you. Thank you for loving him in such tangible ways.
Dad made friends pretty easily. His personality drew them. There was something about him such that his simply saying “It’s good to see you” rung true. It wasn’t just something to say. You knew he really meant it. Who wouldn’t love a man like that?
Back in his younger days, dad had a very tight-knit group of guys he hung around with – got into trouble with – grew up with. They called their gang “The Europeans.” Most of them are gone now. Almost all of them died young, but dad talked about them and the adventures they had all the time – the pickup football games – the horsing around...
One of dad’s passions was boxing. There was just something about the physicality of it that he really enjoyed. He was pretty good at it, too. He loved to go to the gym and work out, maybe find a sparing partner and box a few rounds. Nothing made him feel so alive as being in that ring – and he was really quite good at it.
But probably more than anything else in life, our father loved his heavenly Father. He loved going to church. He loved to pray. I swear, he talked to God far more than he talked to any of us. He once told us that he thought of himself as a ‘prayer warrior.’ I’m pretty sure that all of you here today who knew him got prayed for at one time or another. His faith was at the very core of his being. He has a special adoration for the Blessed Virgin, especially as she has appeared and given messages at Medjugorje. He had never been there, but even in his last days, if asked where he would want to go if he could go anywhere, he chose Medjugorje, on a spiritual pilgrimage.
He would often talk about God. He felt he was spreading the word of the Blessed Mother and that he was carrying out God’s will. He was almost like a modern-day apostle.
But Medjugorje aside, dad has made his pilgrimage now. He has gone to the eternal kingdom where he is with his Heavenly Father. Dad – we’re going to miss you. You’ve been the best man in our lives. Your thoughtfulness, your compassion, your love will continue to inspire us. In our memories you will be with us always.
Daniel H. -- Eulogy for a Step Father
There are people in our lives we sometimes refer to a ‘mentors.’ Danny was one of those to me. I owe so much of who I am to this man. He taught me stand up for the right. He taught me the value of work done well and right. He taught me that if you persevere, if you never give up, if you have a goal, you will succeed. He even taught me how to shake hands and to look another person in the eye and to, thus, gain respect.
But Danny was not my biological father, so many of those naturally occurring traits and characteristics in me were not the same as in Danny. We butted heads a lot over the years. We had conflict. Our relationship was not always an easy one. But then, that is often the case with a mentor. The mentor is charged with the responsibility of teaching and directing and showing the way one ought to go. That Danny did.
Danny enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He served as an electrician on the USS Entemador Submarine and the USS Harold J. Ellison Battleship. He served for seven years and was awarded the Dolpin Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
When Danny entered our lives (my mom’s and mine), he was still in the post-military phase of his life. On one hand, he was super disciplined and expected that of others. On the other hand he loved to party and drink and have a good time. He never really had a father figure in his own life, so he wasn’t quite sure what to do with this young guy who came, as part of the package, with the woman he had fallen deeply in love with. And, I suppose, I too, was a bit uncertain as to how to relate to this amazingly gregarious, fun-loving guy who seemed to be able to do anything.
Danny was the kind of man who is, especially to a kid, bigger than life. Always ready to go out and try new things – always happy-go-lucky – always ready to fully enjoy life. More than anything, I wanted his approval. That wasn’t always easy to get but, in the end, it was always worth it.
I remember once, we were on a sailing/camping vacation. We had cooked a meal over a camp fire and he told me to clean the frying pan on the beach – to use sand and salt water on it. I did and brought it back to him. It wasn’t good enough. “Go do it again…” I did. It still wasn’t clean, according to his standards. I cleaned that pan four times before it was good enough for him. As I look back on that and so many other incidents like it, I realize that each was, what is called today, ‘a teaching moment.’ Danny was teaching me that a job worth doing is worth doing right and that nothing short of ‘the best’ is good enough.
I think that Danny may have been bigger than life to most of you, too. As I’ve talked with many of you, I’ve heard words like “genuine,” and “smart,” and “fun,” and “trustworthy,” and “adventurous,” and “trustworthy.” Danny was a man who gathered friends by the dozen and he was super loyal to each and every one.
He was loyal most of all to my mother. He found her and they fell in love and, for over 40 years they showed the world what a couple in love looked like. She meant the world to him. He never, to his dying day, stopped singing her praises. That’s the kind of man who just has to win the respect of all of us.
Danny was an entrepreneur. He started in the communications products business back before our dictionaries carried the word ‘computer’ and the word ‘internet’ hadn’t yet been thought of. He sold transparencies and overhead projectors and white boards and a hundred other items – in offices all over the country. He was quite the success - here again, because of his great ability to greet and meet people and have them respond to him in positive ways.
I remember how he always loved to drive places he needed to go for his business. He never used a map. He thought of himself as a ‘human compass.’ Yes - - of course - - he got lost all the time. In the glove box of his car he always had hard candy – he had a sweet tooth. At home you could always find Vienna Fingers in the kitchen cabinet. You could always bet on cheesecake or apple pie with ice cream for dessert. He was master of putting on brunches in our NYC garden and BBQ’s up in the country (he made the fluffiest scrambled eggs imaginable and always grilled steaks to perfection – remember, he was perfectionist).
My two teen agers, Mia and Oliver – Danny’s grandkids – always thought their grandfather quite the ‘cool’ guy (or at least as ‘cool’ as an old guy can be). He was always generous, always big hearted. He adored both of you.
Partly from natural ability and probably partly from his training in the Navy, Danny could fix just about anything. Fixing things seemed to be his creative outlet in life. If something was broken, he took it as a personal challenge to make it right. If a repair man came to the house to install or fix something, it wasn’t uncommon for Danny to be standing over his shoulder telling him just how it ought to be fixed. And, of course, he was usually right.
Danny had some real challenges in life. For a while he drank too much. He used to gamble, too – too much… As he looked back on his life, he always regretted those dark days and what they did to mom and me. But his strength of character and his amazing self-discipline got him through and he, unlike so many others, overcame. He was so proud of doing that. He had called on that inner strength that he so much demanded in others and that resolve and got himself healthy.
Danny – you were a unique and wonderfully complex man in our lives. We will miss you. We have loved you. Thank you for loving us all.
JAMES W. -- Eulogy for a Friend
James W’s story began on a farm in Tennessee. There is nothing quite like growing up on the land to give a man perspective on life – being out with nature, feeling the tiredness of a hard day’s work as the sun goes down… From his earliest years “J” and his brother knew what it meant to work hard and to see what they had accomplished. But James knew there was a bigger world out there than that little farm in the hills, and he was determined to see it. When he turned eighteen, he borrowed $25 from his uncle, James Pratt, and headed west – to San Antonio – where he signed on with the United States Air Force. He would be a military man for the next twenty seven years and love nearly every minute of it. He would serve during the Korean War and become a Senior Master Sergeant. James often told a couple of stories about his Air Force years. He told of once being part of an honor guard when President Richard Nixon was coming through. That was an honor, of course, even though James was not a fan of Nixon’s. As the President walked by, with J and the others at stiff attention, Nixon inadvertently stepped on James’s toes. J was shocked but never flinched nor broke the attention stance demanded. No apology came from Nixon, of course. To him, it was as though nothing happened. But there is a much sweeter story that was a favorite that he loved to tell. It took place at the Randolph Air Force Base. James was charged with raising the American Flag promptly at 6:30 each morning. He had noticed an attractive young woman who would walk to church every morning during his flag raising ceremony. He tried, day after day, to make eye contact with her – for her to notice him in some way. Eventually she did and, soon after, he mustered up the courage to ask her out and, sixty one years ago, he married the most beautiful (and wonderful) woman he had ever known. It was a wonderful life for James and Magdalena and, later, Roger and Randy. Being a military family, they traveled the world. They lived in Izmir, Turkey, in the Philippines, in Crete, in Brindisi, Italy and, of course, in San Antonio, Texas. In Brindisi he was promoted to the position of Chief of Police, a position usually only given to officers. His personality and his discipline and his outstanding record gained him that honor even though he wasn’t an officer. James was always a man who took great pride in the fact that he consciously did his best at everything he did. He held himself to the highest of standards. If something was worth doing, it was worth doing right. That was a lesson he strove to teach both of his sons and everyone who served under him. James was one of those men who have the opportunity to retire twice. He joined the Air Force when he was young, so he retired young. But he loved the military with its discipline and rules and protocol. He found a job at the United States Automobile Association, which works with military members and their families to provide insurances and banking and investing services. He worked there for fifteen years – always finding that work fulfilling and rewarding because of who he was serving and who he was helping. There was never any doubt in his mind the priorities of his life. James loved his work – was passionate about it – both with the Air Force and with USAA – but there was nothing more important to him than his wife and family. J tells of how his father loved to play the guitar and the harmonica. When the family lived in Turkey, they lived in a trailer. James would have Roger and Randy go into the tiny bathroom with him because it had such great acoustics. The boys would take turns holding the harmonica to their dad’s lips while he played the guitar so he could play both at the same time. Then, one of them would put Maracas between his toes and he’d play them all at – a sort of one-man-band. The laughter and fun – and music - could be heard by all the neighbors. Probably the most joyous days of James and Magdalena’s life together were the births of their grandchildren, Jeff and Nicole and James. Distance sometimes made being together a bit of an issue, but whenever family was able to be with one another, it was a happy, good time for everyone. The entire family looked up to James as a man of wisdom and sound advice about life and employment and the future. James had the philosophy that we, as the White family, were blood, so we must take care of one another no matter what. James valued honesty and integrity and respect for others above all else in life. He was an introspective man, that being seen often in his writing – he had an almost poetic way of saying things – insightful and often exploring far below the surface of ideas and how things relate to life. He was a good judge of character and had the deepest respect for others. Even though James was a dedicated runner – running three miles every day through his 84th year, his fitness was no match for the stroke that took him so suddenly from his family and friends without warning on June seventh. He will be missed. His wisdom – his way with words – his insights for living – the love he shared – will be missed by everyone who knew him, for as longs as they live.
Judy A. - Eulogy for a Friend
In the fall of 1957 – 59 years ago -- the Recreation Association Of Catholics (RAC) of Judy and Glen’s parish held its first dance for its teens. Judy and Glen both went. She was 15, and Glen was 16. There they met, and he asked her out after the second dance! And even though they went to different high schools and then to different colleges, their romance grew. And in those days they had many good times together with their friends – canoeing, swimming, sailing (Judy bought a sailboard). There were parties in families’ basements – theme parties, costume parties, and so on. Judy the planner would decorate the basement, and her two best friends would host similar parties at their houses. Never any booze, though! These were good Catholic girls! For some reason Judy’s parents kept setting her up on dates with the sons of their friends. Maybe it was because Glen had a motorcycle for eight years, although Judy never once road on it! Or perhaps it was because Glen drove a hearse for a while, and Judy’s dad didn’t want a hearse parked in front of his house! But the romance that began at those dances at the church in 1957 continued to grow, and the day before Valentine’s Day 1965 Glen and Judy were married. And in the next few years, their family grew to four, with the births of Rob and Kristi. Judy was first and foremost a great mom, in part because she was a great cook! She was known for it too. One time in Apple Valley some kids actually broke into her house to steal her freshly baked cookies! And lots of neighbor kids would come to her house to play -- even kids who could misbehave at times. But at Judy's house they behaved! The neighbors would sometime wonder how Judy did it. It was probably her cooking. Another story tells you how she was a wonderful mom. One time when they were putting new sewer pipes in the street, and the road was all torn up, Judy let Rob play in the mud. When he had his fill of play, Judy took him home, stripped off his clothes, and dropped him in the tub! But when neighbors’ kids came home muddy, their mothers got mad at Judy. Her wise response: "That's what kids do when they are getting creative - they get dirty! So Judy was a great mom, but an equally great grandmother. How she loved you Jack, Thomas, Alex, Michael, Anna, and Katie! Jack, just last spring Judy so enjoyed getting a tour of your campus at Texas Christian University. It was thoughtful of you, and meant so much to Judy, that knowing the importance of faith to your grandmother, you ended the tour at the beautiful Carr Chapel. Thomas would sometimes show up at Judy's house to fish, or take the canoe out, or sometimes just to take a nap. Now, this may surprise some of your, because you wouldn’t know it by looking at her, but Judy enjoyed a good hockey game – because you, Thomas were playing in it! And you always put on a good show, either on the ice or in the penalty box! Alex, Judy was your defender against any and all complaints from Kristi and me, usually when we would get on your case about grades, work, or almost anything else. The fact that Alex is the grandchild that looks the most like his grandfather helped him in Judy’s eyes, and he would try to earn "grandma points" whenever he could. Each one of my kids would vie to be the grandma’s “favorite.” Anyone who knew Judy, knew that she wasn't a hugger – except when it came to Michael. Him she welcomed with open arms and would come back for one more hug. She loved your hugs, Michael! I remember one of the last days we spent with Judy, when Michael hugged her, she patted him on the back and kissed his head. Judy spent many hours at children’s dance recitals when Kristi was growing up. So many that she vowed never to sit through another dance recital. But then you came along, Anna, with your love for dance, and Judy once again was found -- happily so -- spending all day on a Sunday at a dance competition waiting to see her precious Anna take the stage. And Judy got Glen to come along too! And Katie. Any given afternoon you and Grandma Judy could be found in downtown Excelsior exploring the shops, and getting a snack at MacDonald’s, or just navigating the western suburbs - Judy at the wheel and Katie giving directions. Or the two of you might be baking pink cupcakes or making spaghetti! Katie and Judy enjoyed a deep friendship, such that when Judy moved to hospice, Katie wanted to have a sleep over! That’s just what she did with her Grandma Judy. Judy was a wonderful Grandma, with Grandpa Glen right there by her side. They attended every sporting event, choir concert, band concert, dance recital or mass that the grandkids participated in. If there was a scheduling conflict, they would split up so that one of them were at the event. We will all really notice Judy’s absence in the bleachers. Another wonderful tradition that Judy started was the tradition of celebrating 13th birthdays by taking the twelve of us (Glen, Judy, Rob, Lisa, Jack, Thomas, Anna, Kristi, Don, Alex, Michael, and Katie) on a trip. Jack’s choice was to go to a Chicago Cubs game in Chicago; Thomas wanted to go to Hawaii; Alex chose Washington, DC; Michael picked San Diego; Anna selected Disney World. And we don’t know yet where Katie will pick! These have been wonderful family times, and we are grateful to Judy and to Glen for this tradition. Judy majored in History in college, and she shared that love for history with all of us, especially her children and grandchildren. Judy, Rob and Kristi would occasionally be able to join Glen on a trip for work, and in whatever city he was in (Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio) Judy would make them “historicalling” trips. Kristi and Rob learned a lot of history during these trips. Judy carried the “historicalling” vacations to her spring break trips with my kids - going to presidential libraries in Galena, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, and touring the homes of founding fathers Washington and Jefferson. Kristi and I will be always grateful for Judy and Glen’s love for our three children. My kids have spent at least one day a week with Judy since the day they were born. Judy would pick them up at school, get them off the bus, or in more recent times, simply make cookies for them when they got home from school. I appreciate the support she gave our family. We knew that if Kristi and I had a scheduling conflict, and someone needed to be picked up at school, or met at the bus, or anything, Judy was there to help. Judy came from a large family, a dedicated sister to Bill, Mike, John, Nancy, Kathy, and Patty. All of us know that any family, every family, has times of stress and sometimes conflict. But I can stand here today and tell you that I am humbled by the forgiveness [change to “love?”] that Judy extended unconditionally, time and time again, to her family. Her forgiveness [change to “graciousness?”] knew no bounds. Judy’s life is a lesson in love, inspiring all her knew her to be a better person. Judy lived a life of service and involvement beyond her family, of course.Judy’s faith was important to her from her earliest days. You’ll remember that it was at that first RAC dance that she met Glen. But she was faithful through all her life, attending with Glen the Church at Our Lady of the Lake. And she nurtured her faith in her home too, reading religious books, with daily devotional readings. There are religious plaques throughout the Judy and Glen’s house. Judy’s faith told her that we're here for a purpose. And that no matter what happens along life’s journey you keep moving forward, always "living your religion.” Judy believed that we are to do something in your life, for others. This is how she got so involved in her volunteering. When Kristi was young, Judy started helping with Girl Scouts, and continued long after Kristi was out of Scouts. With her dear friends Gloria and Bob, Judy was an active member of Catholic Council of Women, the Red Hats group, and she was the Wedding Coordinator at church as well. She was active in the Garden Club too. And with all of these groups, Judy was out front leading, often as President of the group, but always ready to step up to plan a meeting or event. In all these ways, Judy was living out her faith. As you know, Judy was diagnosed with stage 4 gall bladder cancer in June. She struggled with the chemo, and infection, and went into hospice care October 10th. These have been difficult weeks for her, and for all of us. But she bore her suffering with courage. We are grateful that all of her grandkids were able to visit with her before she passed. After a day of goodbyes Thursday with her best friend, sisters, son, daughter and loving husband, Judy fell into a deep sleep Friday morning. She awoke to say her final goodbye to Kristi when she left on Friday evening around 8:00 pm. Judy never wanted to be a bother. She left us in the same way - when I left the room to give her some privacy with the nurse, Judy decided that was her time to go. The next day, Saturday afternoon, we looked up to see a blue sky, with no rain, and there above us a was a glowing rainbow! That was Judy giving us a signal, saying that there is hope for the future. And that is what she said by her life with us – by her love for her God, her family, her community.
CHARLOTTE H. - - Eulogy for a Grandmother
My grandmother was my hero. There is really no other way to say it. She was the ultimate example of what it means to be a lady. The way she carried herself, the way she talked to others, the way she cared for anyone who needed caring for… Her compassion and her fierce loyalty. All of those qualities are what made her special to all of us and to everyone who knew her. As a child, I spent nearly every Friday night with ‘nan nan.’ She’d pick me up from school on Friday afternoon. We’d have dinner together and watch TV – the Lawrence Welk show will be forever etched into my memory. We’d stay up late talking and playing games and just enjoying being together. Then, on Saturday mornings we’d get up and mow the lawn and shop. She loved to shop and I was always the recipient of lots of school clothes on those expeditions. Sometimes, after shopping, we’d spend time under the Chiki Hut talking and playing with Ramboo. I’m older than the other grandkids, so my experience with ‘Chotts’ was different than Brandon’s or Madison’s or Bobby’s or Jordan’s or London’s. I know that each of you could tell stories of your lives with grandma. All I know is that she loved each of us with all her being and cherished every minute she spent with each of us. And I know that she had a special place in her heart for that next generation – Abigail and Lance, your great grandmother adored you. She counted herself so lucky to see you grow up into loving, caring, beautiful teens. Knowing a great grandparent is such a rare thing these days. Even if the grandparent is still living, usually distance prevents a close relationship like the two you have had. She never forgot that fact. Grandma was all about family. She grew up as the youngest of 11 kids. Flossie is here today. Edith not able to be. The others are gone. Flossie – you and grandma were such good friends. Your relationship was so tender… Grandma had two great loves of her life. She was married to Tom for nearly half a century (together they had my dad, Gary – they were so proud of all he accomplished with the police department ). When grandpa died, grandma was in such grief. She didn’t know how her life would go on. But God brought Rick to her and they fell in love and were married for 13 years before she lost him, too. Mike – Kim - - You were grafted into grandma’s life. She couldn’t have been prouder of that fact. She loved you like her own. Grandma was such a care giver. She could never turn it off. She was a stickler for the tiniest detail. She always had snacks available. She was always concerned that we may not be dressed warmly enough. Most of us remember her over-used question, “Where’s your coat?” or her admonition, “make sure your hair is dry before you go out.” I’m sure it wasn’t always easy to be so strong and so good. For years she suffered from chronic back pain. But her own discomfort never got in the way of her wanting to care for others. She always saw the positive side of things. She wouldn’t allow pain or her own discomfort to keep her from her appointed duty as matriarch of the family. I’ve come across a verse from the Bible that describes the kind of person grandma was. It’s in I Peter 5: 2-4. It says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being an example. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” Not to suggest that grandma was always saintly (although mostly she was). She had a devious side too. She loved to play pranks with the family. I remember, as a little girl, I once spent countless hours (or at least it seemed like hours) preparing for a puppet show for everyone. While I was down, behind the wall performing, with my hands held high and in full puppet mode, I noticed how quiet my audience had gotten. I couldn’t figure it out. I peeked over the wall, and there wasn’t anyone there! Grandma and grandpa had orchestrated a mass exit and everyone was hiding quietly in the kitchen until I discovered the prank. After we all had a good laugh, everyone came back in, I started my show from the beginning and we all had a marvelous time. Grandma spent her working years in banking, ultimately becoming a vice-president. Certainly something to be proud of. Thirty six years. She loved the work. She loved her employees and the customers. She loved the idea of helping people with their financial lives. And, I’m pretty sure, they all loved her. Grandma always loved the sun. We have pictures of her when she was young, dolled up in her bathing suit, soaking in the Florida sunshine, water skiing, boating on the “Miss Chotts,” which she dearly loved. She left Florida when dad and I moved to South Carolina. We couldn’t have been happier that she decided to come with us. When I was in college, she lived right across the street from the University, so we often had lunch together. That was a tradition we continued, since she moved, right up until the day before she left us. Precious times. Times I will never forget. When you think of her, remember her sense of style – always dressed to the 9’s. Remember her sense of humor and her kindness and her wanting to take care of you and see to it that you are content and happy. That was grandma. That was ‘nan nan.’ That was the ‘Chottsie’ we loved. Grandma, you will always be in our hearts. You have loved us and shown us what it means to be a good, loving, caring person. We will always love you.
LORETTA R. - - Eulogy for a Mother
Our mother (there are six of us: Heidi, Vicky, Scott, Rick, Lucas and me) had great difficulty, while we were growing up, expressing her love for us – few hugs – few kisses – few words of affection. But there was never, for one minute, any doubt in our minds that she loved us more than life itself. Her love was shown through action and kindness and discipline and patience. She was the kind of mother who didn’t depend on sentimentality. She was a woman who depended on hard work and self-sacrifice and being there for us at every turn of our lives. More than anything in life, mom loved being a mother. She was super proud of all of us. She loved seeing us grow up and she loved our accomplishments along the way. I know she bragged about us to her friends… Not having her near will be one of the most difficult adjustments of our lives. When dad died, ____ years ago, we built an apartment for mom. They had been married for fifty three years and we knew that she wasn’t the kind of person who could live in isolation. And we wanted her near. And, I’ve got to say, it was wonderful having her there. Olivia and Racer saw her every day. Racer loved to go over before heading off to school and have coffee and breakfast with her. They loved talking politics – and this year was, of course, a great year for it. They didn’t always see things the same way, but the give and take was so good for both of them. Racer will always hold her in his heart. But mom loved all of her grandchildren. She had thirteen, If I’ve counted correctly. Because of distance, she wasn’t as close to some as to others, but I know she kept you all in her prayers. George – you were the first. I know her joy at your birth was almost overwhelming. Then came Loretta and Matthew and Michael and Brittany and Corbin and Nathan – Michael, Tabitha, Samantha, Dace, Olivia, Racer - - You guys had a grandmother to be proud of. She and your grandfather worked so hard to raise your parents. She was a woman of the deepest character. I hope you all go through life knowing that she is in your genes and you will be more and more like her. She had ____ great grandkids, too. Again, time and space kept them apart, but knowing another generation was starting to be born into the world thrilled her. Mom worked, for most of her working life, as a bartender at the Ramada Inn in Lawton. She didn’t take any guff from anyone. She told of one incident when it was a busy night and there was a man who came to the bar wanting a drink and was a bit impatient. “Hey – barmaid – can I get a drink down here?” “I’ll be right with you, sir,” she said. He replied, “Do you know who I am? I’m Freddie Fender.” She said, “And I’m Loretta Fannie. You’ll still have to wait until I get to you.” Mom had a natural wisdom and intelligence and practicality. She finished high school but told me that she never did enjoy academics. I believe she actually said that she ‘hated’ school. But she knew how important it was to finish, so she did. There were few things in life that she didn’t complete once started. School was one of those… Her life was filled with those kinds of things. She had no hobbies or pastimes because she was constantly doing things she considered important. She worked long hours and raised her family and did what life demanded. Somewhere along the way, mom found Jesus. He became her constant companion. Dad was gone, but her savior was with her. Her faith gave her courage and strength and hope. She went to the _________________ church. She loved the people there. She loved the hymns and praise songs and the sermons. She was inspired by the way people cared for and loved one another. When she went to church she was as happy as she ever got. Many of you here today are part of her church family. Thank you for loving her. I have a feeling that it was because of you that, in these recent days, mom changed some of her feelings about expressing love. In these last months she began saying the words – “I love you” and even blowing kisses when we’d leave her… Eighteen months ago mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. That was devastating news and we knew what it meant. She listened to the doctors as they described treatment and what she could expect. She didn’t like it. She decided that she wanted to live her life without the drugs and the radiation and the hospitals. She would let God take her in His timing. Not so very long ago, mom had to give up driving, she went into hospice care (she so appreciated the angels who ministered to her in hospice), her breathing became weak and she left us. Our mother – grandmother – great grandmother – friend – Loretta Fannie – went to meet Jesus in person a few days ago. Mom – we have loved you and never doubted your love for us. We will always remember your sacrifice and your work and your love. I love you and always will. (blow her a kiss).
Michael O. -- Eulogy for a Father
The past six years have not been easy for any of us. But they were especially hard on Gee. Dad saw his memories fading and, toward the end, the people he loved becoming almost strangers to him. That was incredibly hard to witness and I know incredibly hard, for him, to endure. Mom was with him every step of the way. The two of them growing old together, loving one another, always being there. Tomorrow would have been my parents 58th anniversary. They met at Jaeger House in New York. It was a German dance hall. Gee was on his way to a bar nearby but saw mom in the dance hall as he passed by. He couldn’t help himself. He had to go in and meet that beautiful girl. Eileen was there with her that night (they came over together on the ship to America) and they were just out to have a good time. Eileen saw Gee and the attention he was paying to mom and told mom that they ought to go, just in case that man, who was obviously attracted to mom, followed them home. Mom told her that he wasn’t going to follow them home, he was going to be escorting her home. That was back in the early 20’s. Gee and mom came from Ireland seeking a better life. And they found it – in one another. Over the years they had their ups and downs but they always remembered those words they spoke on their wedding day: “For better or worse – for richer or poorer – in sickness and in health – till death do us part…” They meant them when they said them and their lives proved it. Dad always dreamed of going back. He wanted to buy a little farm and live off the land. But his dream was literally dampened when he did go back. He went in February and had forgotten how miserable Ireland can be in the winter – cold and wet and dreary. After that, he never wanted to go back to live – only to visit. We did that, over the years, every summer or so and JoanMarie and RoseAnn and I got a feel for life in Ireland. We learned to love it and what all it meant to our parents and to be aware of our heritage, but we were glad dad and mom decided to keep us all together here in the U.S. Dad’s desire to go back came from his own upbringing. He grew up on a small farm in Ireland. Kids are seldom aware of how poor their families are, and he wasn’t. But they were. Nevertheless, that feeling for the land never left him nor the pull of the Irish countryside. When he first arrived in America, he got a job with the post office. Not a bad job for an immigrant with little education. Then he worked with the railroad system. He was a ________________ with them for _____ years. But he eventually saved up enough to buy a bar and that is where he hung his hat until about ten years ago – serving ale and beer to his clientele and listening to their stories and woes and joys. Gee was a good listener. Not much of a talker, at times, but he was always ready to lend an ear. The O’Donnell family lived in the Bronx for a number of years, then moved to the suburb. I was only about a year old so I don’t remember any of that. But the move further from the city left mom a bit isolated in that she couldn’t drive and you can’t go anywhere in the suburbs without a car. Gee taught her how to drive. She picked it up pretty quickly and was a good driver. Years later, Gee decided he would teach his daughters to drive. That was a bit more nerve wracking. I remember his foot hitting the floor board a lot as he braced himself from some life threatening crash. We never crashed, but I’m pretty sure we took a few years off his life. Gee loved his grandkids. Sarah, Liam, KellyAnn, SammanthaRose – you had a wonderful grandfather. The days on which each of you were born were, without doubt, the most joyous days of his life. He loved watching you as infants and seeing you grow and become the beautiful people you are. He didn’t always have Alzheimer’s. He loved the memories you made with him… Gee was a man of deep faith. I remember, when we were growing up, he’d pray the rosary with us. He’d go to mass sometimes daily. He was often out there raising money for Catholic charities. He knew that God was watching over us and that gave him a great sense of security. I remember summers in the Catskills, listening to Irish bands and dad and mom dancing and laughing and all of us having a wonderful time. I remember him, after we were grown and with families of our own, standing at the grill barbequing steaks and having us over for cocktails and dinner and conversation. Those were some of the best times– the family together – sharing our lives – enjoying just being together. I remember seeing dad, in his quieter hours, falling asleep while he was reading the paper. Maybe a Bud was sitting there at his side. You knew that he had earned it. I remember him taking care of the pool (we had some great times in that pool). Or he’d be out riding the mower around the lawn, talking to himself. You never knew what he was saying, but you knew that he was having some pretty intense conversations and usually found agreement. Dad was such a wonderful man throughout his life – a gentleman and a kind man. Everyone who knew him can attest to that. Dad – your memories faded, but our memories of you and who you were and the quality of your character and how you made our lives good will be remembered for as long as we live. We love Gee. We always will.
Todd B. -- Eulogy for a Friend
Back in college, at Texas A&M, where Dave S. and I met Todd – where Merideth met Todd - -this day was incomprehensible. We probably never thought about it on a conscious level, but I’m pretty sure we thought we’d live forever. We were young and learning and enjoying life to the fullest. He’s the one who brought us together – he was the ‘glue’ that kept us close. He was the kind of man, even back then, who had the ability to draw people into friendships that would last for lifetimes… Todd was majoring in Agricultural Economics (he’d later get his masters in Land, Economics and Real Estate). Who would have thought that, just sixteen years later, we could have such history – that life would take us where we are. Todd was such a great guy. He was my best friend. I doubt that I’ll ever have a better one. I always cherished those times when he’d come out to my ranch. We’d do some hunting, some shooting, maybe just drive around, enjoying the beautiful country God gave us, talking about everything imaginable. If Todd saw something around the place that needed repair, he’d jump at the chance to fix it. He loved to fix things – his mind was always working on how to fix something or make something or make something better. His mind was so sharp. He could fix just about anything mechanical . So many times, on those visits, I learned something from him. He was such a great teacher. Oh, he could mess with you when he wanted to – and he often did – but it was always in good fun and you never doubted his friendship. Not for a minute. I remember the day Todd and Meredith got married. What a wonderful day. He was so happy to have her as his wife. He knew, then, that he was the luckiest man on earth. That was fifteen years ago. Meredith, he loved you so. You made him so happy. You completed his life. But I know for a fact that there were three other days of his life that he considered the absolute best… when Caroline and Campbell and Charlie were born. How he cherished the three of you. Your dad was a very special man. Don’t ever forget him… Remember the times he played with you and the places he took you and all the kidding around. He loved you so much. I know that his heart ached in these past months as he realized he wouldn’t see those little ones grow up. But he was a man of faith and he did believe that God watches over the children and that, one day, he would see them again and enjoy them forever. That was the hope that was within him. He learned those truths right here at Chapelwood. Todd was a lover of life. He loved the outdoors. He loved to hunt and fish – often with Dave and me. Those were some great times. He loved to work on his bronco. His membership in the Valley Lodge Trail Ride Association gave him a sense of pride in Texas and in the heritage we share in this great couintry. He loved to mount up with dozens of others for one of their annual rides. It was a lot of fun and made him feel alive and part of something bigger than himself. Todd was a man that everyone loved and respected. Ted – Marylou – you raised a wonderful son. We are all so sorry for your loss. Todd tried valiantly to overcome his cancer for these past three years. But it won. He fought hard. He wanted to live, but it beat him. Todd, you’ve been a great friend. You’ve been a wonderful son and husband and an amazing father. We will all miss you so…
MARIE D. -- Eulogy for an Elderly Friend
By the time you are 94 you’ve outlived just about everyone you’ve ever known other than your own children. Marie outlived every one of them, even losing her son Max back in 2015. She lost her best friends Mary Russell, Irene Teel, and Emogean Knight. And, of course she lost her husband of 67 years, that dear man named Otho. By the time you are 94, loss has become a part of your life, but never a good part. Then, in her 80’s she began to lose even herself – her memories began to fade, the people around her began to become strangers, she withdrew from reality and she just wasn’t the Marie Roe everyone knew. These last five years have been especially sad. She had lost it all.
But the first 80 – that was different. Marie was outgoing and fun loving. She was, perhaps, one of the most colorful people most of us will ever know. She could talk. She could talk to anyone about anything and she would tell you exactly what she thought. She’d pull no punches. She was opinionated and strong in her beliefs and she was pretty hard to convince of anything.
Marie wasn’t an overly affectionate person. I have a feeling that that is how it was with her entire generation. They were children during the depression and they saw poverty and desperation and how important it was to fight for survival. It made them tough and not so ‘touchy-feely’ as the generations which followed. And, I suppose it was, too, her innate nature to be a bit prickly at times. Her words came fast and hard and sometimes did some damage to relationships, but the fact is, she loved you even if you were on the receiving end of some of her words. Those who knew her never doubted that. She was a woman who was always there for us in times of need or crisis in our lives.
When Marie and dad were younger, she was known to be quite the prankster. There are stories of her, especially on Halloween, rolling the yards of her friends or hanging extra-extra large undergarments on their lawn fences. They always knew who did it. It was Marie in one of her mischievous moments.
Marie was a beautiful young woman. If you’ve seen pictures of her, you know what I mean. She was a petite woman with beautiful blond hair. She was always beautifully dressed. She was clearly a very classy lady. She sometimes talked about how aging changes all that and how beauty fades so quickly as the years pass. But even though she may not have thought so when she looked in the mirror, she was a beauty always.
And she liked beautiful things. Marie had an eye for decorating and their home always showed that. She had impeccable taste. Marie and Otho’s yard reflected her artistic flare. In the summertime, she and he would spend hours and hours out in the yard, planting and tending to their flowers. The colors were magnificent. Everyone raved about the beauty of their landscaping and they never got tired of the compliments.
Marie and Otho started with almost nothing in life – very humble beginnings. But they built a life they were proud of and a home that assured them that they had done well…
They used to love to have their friends over for dinner – they loved to entertain – mom was an outstanding cook and a wonderful hostess. They’d offer their guests a glass of iced tea, serve them a fabulous meal and they’d all talk and laugh well into the night. Marie loved lively conversation. She loved to laugh and have a good time. She had a wonderful sense of humor.
Marie was never employed outside the home. She was always a mother – all her life – from the time she was young until she started to feel the years. She, essentially, had two families. Max and Dan were young adults when Teresa was born. She should have been finished with diapers and alphabet books, but then a new baby came on the scene. No one had any doubt that that last one was a surprise. Marie always told Teresa that she cried for nine months waiting for her to be born, knowing she’d be an older mother when older mothers were practically unheard of – and certainly not well received. She said she cried until she found out she had a girl. That made all the difference. Teresa was probably the nicest surprise of her life.
But she had other wonderful surprises too. She had five grandkids: Daniel and Wilson and Angel and Candace and Cecily. You five were precious to her. I think it was a sadness in her life that she wasn’t able to spend much time with you all because of time and distance. Cecily had a bit different relationship with her grandmother because she lived in the same town – and, to be honest, because she came along at a different time in her life.
Marie was a bit vain, I suppose. She wouldn’t let any of the grandkids call her grandma. It made her feel old. She had all of them call her Ree or Momma Ree. She liked that.
Marie was not a June Cleaver type. She wasn’t one to wear her affection on her sleeve, but she loved us. She cared for us. She worried about us.
“Hee-Who” Marie! – you have been a woman none who’ve known you will ever forget. May you find peace. We love you.
Stephen J. -- Eulogy for a Father
The priest began reciting those sacred words: “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Dad was in the ICU with a serious infection. Mom had asked the priest to come and give the sacrament of anointing of the sick. At that point, Dad was so bad that he couldn’t move or talk or even open his eyes. But when the priest started those hallowed words, dad opened his eyes and mouthed every word as the Father said them. Those words had latched into his long term memory and his short term memory and into the very fiber of his being…
Dad never wore it on his sleeve, but he was a man of deep faith. He was what you might call a “Christian Gentleman – a ‘salt of the earth’ kind of man.” Everybody thought so. He attended mass every week – with mom and the rest of us when we were growing up – and every night, he knelt by his bedside and prayed – probably, at one time or another, for most of us here today.
Dad was the consummate family man. He loved each of us – Mary, Steve and me – and mom, of course – 61 years of being husband and wife. Their first date was going out for dinner and dancing at D’Angelo’s Night Club, but that was just the beginning of six decades of their lives together. What a wonderful example they have been to all of us. Theirs was an example of honesty and love and devotion and all that a marriage can be.
When we were growing up, dad attended all our concerts and ball games and school events. He was a great father. All three of us have secretly and publicly known that we were the luckiest people on earth to have parents like ours.
Mary and dad had a special connection that revolved around skating. They went to shows and skating events and enjoyed that whole skating culture. He was the president of the Watertown Skating Club for several years. He would take Steve to Kaynor Tech to play catch and snag fly balls frequently. He was the assistant coach for a couple of Steve’s teams.
Christine, Megan, Ryan, Samantha, Natalie – the days on which you were born were about the happiest of your grandfather’s life. To see that next generation come into the world thrilled him more than you can know. When he was able to see you, I know his heart was warmed and his love was kindled all over again. You all meant the world to him. I’m so glad you got to know him as well as you did. Knowing a grandparent is a great privilege in our world…
Dad loved to attend Ryan’s basketball and baseball games. He enjoyed Samantha’s piano and dancing. He was thrilled when he could drive up to New Hampshire to attend recitals or watch her act in the theater. He loved watching Natalie show off her moves on the basketball court. You all gave him immense pride and pleasure.
I remember when we were little, we’d get up in the morning and there would be dad, sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast and sketching. He had started long before any of us were up. We loved to see what he was doing. Usually he was drawing one of our dogs. We had so many over the years… Jewel and Mickey and Danny and Maggie. He loved coming home from work and be greeted with their great enthusiasm, tail wagging – excited to see him (a much better greeting than any human can give).
When dad got home, he was tired. While he was working, he typically left the house at 6:00 in the morning and got home at 6:00 in the evening. He and his brother, William, worked as high voltage electrical cable splicers for the James S. Sullivan Cable Company. Their father had started the company and Uncle Will and dad took it over and ran it until they retired in the ‘90’s. It was hard, physical work. But he knew that what they were doing was important – keeping their client’s businesses up and running. Theirs was a profession that has a limited number of people who can do what they could. It was a quite specialized – needed – respected business and they built a highly respected reputation throughout New England. Dad had left high school to join the family business and committed himself to being the best at his craft. And he was. Dad was always proud of that. He, with only a 10th grade education, was a success! He had the philosophy of life that a person needed to work hard and that that work would be rewarded. He believed that you have to grow up, get a job, get married, go to work, have kids, and live your life. And if you do, you can hopefully retire and have a little something at the end.
Dad was always such a gentleman. He was quiet – reserved – always courteous and polite. He loved his home and never felt the compulsion to go out and ‘do’ things (although he always enjoyed it when he did go out). Being at home with us (or just with mom after we left) gave him contentment. Reading a good book, taking walks with mom, just ‘being’ made him happy. If he could squeeze it in, he’d call a buddy and go out for a round of golf…
I remember his many stories about his growing up years. He would tell of playing baseball in Hamilton Park ( he loved to tell of being on the team at the St. Peter and Paul Elementary School when they won the city championship), of living in a triple decker on Idylwood Ave. – how his mother once had a rug company lug a dozen rugs up to the second floor then unroll each one to see if it was what she wanted. She didn’t like any of them and sent them all back. He talked about watching Jimmy Piersall play baseball in that same park he played in and then go on to play in the majors…
Seven years ago, those memories began to fade for him. He remembered a lot of the old times – the good times – but not so much the recent events of his life (although he never forgot the people he loved). He never forgot his family. He never forgot his closest friends, Don Waterworth and Charles McCarthy – lifelong friends – he knew them from grammar school. And Bob Chapman from Pratt and Whitney. He loved you guy. …Then he began to lose even the old times… And that was so sad to see because he had a wonderful life – a life worth remembering. Mom and Steve and Karen took such good care of him. The staff at Compassion N Care were wonderful…
Dad, we began to miss you so long ago. We will always remember your kindness, your goodness, your thoughtfulness and your wonderful faith. We love you dad and will forever.
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