The Eulogy of Jerry Ball - Eulogy for a Grandfather - Eulogy by a Grandson
Thank you all for joining us today as we say a final farewell to one of the best men most of us will ever know. We have been blessed. In fact, I can hear him saying that about himself in relation to all of you. He’d say “I am so blessed to have had all of you in my life.” And he’d mean it. Dad’s life was rich and full and immersed in love because of all the people who loved him.
The person who loved him more than any of us was mom, of course. He always said the he was lucky to have found her and had her for his wife for 59 years. She passed away eleven years ago and life for dad was never the same without her. He went on, of course, but he missed her every day.
For the most part, dad had a great life. His sense of humor and his contagious personality made everyone love him and, when he came into a room, the whole atmosphere changed for the better – he lit up the place. When he was there, there were always smiles and laughter.
He and mom had six of us kids: Jane, Bill, Jim, Barb, Mark and me. They were devastated when we lost Mark in 20___… We all were…
I counted 14 grandkids (unless I missed someone) and ten great grandkids… And dad thought they were all great. He tried his best to give each one special attention. He loved to tease them and let them tease him back until he had them laughing out loud. I’m pretty sure those were some of the most joyous times of his life – just seeing his grandkids and great grandkids laugh with him and enjoy being together. All of you – older ones and younger ones… If you will take some of the qualities you saw in your grandfather – his sense of fun and his work ethic and his honesty and his determination and his faith – and allow those things to take root and develop in your own lives, you will be blessed and his life will go on in you.
Dad served in the Army in World War II. Like many of what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation,” he didn’t talk much about his time fighting. He served in ________. During those years he was wounded and earned the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. Was he a hero? No one knows, I suppose, but he did his duty when called and risked his life and, with so many others, preserved our freedom. I think that pretty much defines ‘hero’ doesn’t it?
A couple of years ago dad and I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. on an honor flight for veterans. It was one of those experiences that will stay with me for a lifetime. Dad was SO happy to be going. He was proud of his service and loved it that all the vets were being honored. During the flights there and back he shared some stories of his service in Europe. They were fascinating.
Dad was always a hero to us. I remember so well dad taking Mike and me fishing on Lake Minnetonka. It was our one-on-one time with dad… a time to have him all to ourselves. We would laugh and tell stories and have a wonderful time. If we caught any fish, that was a bonus. It wasn’t about the fishing, it was about just being together.
About ten years ago dad fell and broke his neck. He was in the hospital for months. There were times when none of us thought he’d make it. But he did, and we were so thankful. We dubbed him the “King of Come-Backers” because he made it through something that lesser men wouldn’t have. Do you remember his “Jerisms”? He was noted for a few. Can you hear him say “That’s top drawer” when something was just right? Or “Hecky Doodle”? How about, at family dinners when his plate was full – “That’s a full plate of groceries”? Or “You can’t beat that with a stick.” Or, one of my favorites, “That’s gorgeous.” I can see him swinging his arm up dramatically and giving a big ‘thumbs up.’
Dad was an amazing man, really. So gregarious, so funny, so smart and skilled… He used his degree in Civil Engineering at Armco Steel for years, until he quit there to start his own company, “Ballard Supply.” He ‘officially’ retired a few years ago – at age 90. But he did take winters off and spend some quality down-time in Maui. He loved being there with its beauty and perpetual warm weather.
One of dad’s great loves was this church. He was a member here for more than thirty years. He loved the people and the hymns and the prayers and the sermons. Over the years he served on several boards and committees with some of the best people he ever knew. He loved attending the Friday morning Bible Study and interacting with people he knew for years as they discussed the scriptures and enjoyed one another… His relationship with God was an inspiration to all of us. He had a favorite Bible verse: Micah 6:8 - - What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
That is how dad lived his life – seeking to be just, being compassionate and walking humbly… and doing it all in the name of Christ. Dad was a man who had the ability to make everyone he knew feel special and cared for… We probably all need to be more like him in those ways. He had a way of always expressing his appreciation for the big things and the small things in his life… inspiring all of us who loved him to follow his example as best we can.
Dad, you seldom said the words ‘good-bye.’ Your parting word was always ‘Bless (you).’ So today we say ‘Bless’ to you… Not good-bye. We’ll see you soon in God’s eternal kingdom. You have been loved and will be forever and you will always hold a place in our hearts. “Bless.”
Eulogy for a father... Eulogy by a son
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