The Eulogy of Eugene Parrish - Eulogy for an Acquaintance - Eulogy by a Funeral Director
Good Morning. My name is Zane Gray and I have been asked to say a few words about my friend, Gary. I’m not used to being on this side of the podium but when asked, I couldn’t say ‘no.’ Gary was such a great guy… the Parrish family are such great people. I am honored. And all of you here today… you’ve come to pay tribute to Gary’s life and to comfort and encourage Ann and Kari and Laci and the grandkids Emily, Hannah and Lillianne. On their behalf, I thank you.
Gary and I go way back. His father and my grandfather were best friends so I’ve know him most of my life. I always admired his easy way with people. It seemed that everyone liked him. He had a special relationship with just about everyone in town. He had a way of giving you a boost when you were down and somehow he had an inner sense that told him who needed that bit of encouragement. And he was always there to give it as best he could.
One of my most vivid memories of Gary was when I was a kid and went to a local pig show. Gary had somehow managed to catch a wild razorback pig and put it in a corral at the show. I remember seeing Gary Whooping and hollering with a bull whip and banging a trash can lid all the way down an alley to direct people’s attention to his pig. He was proud of that old pig and we, as kids, were all amazed… at the pig and at this wild man…
But Gary wasn’t, for the most part, a wild man, as you know. He was one of the most patient, kind, considerate men any of us will ever meet. His presence, wherever he was, tended to make everyone feel at ease. He had a sense of inner peace that others picked up on and it affected them profoundly.
He was a country boy at heart. He loved the land. He loved the smell of freshly turned earth in the spring. He loved to see the seeds sprout and pop through the soil. He loved just about everything about farming… He loved his cows and working with 4H and the FFA over the years. He loved his time serving on the Zaneis School Board for more than twenty years… He loved those wonderful, relaxing days at the lake with his family…
Gary and Ann attended church every Sunday – right here in this sanctuary. If I’m not mistaken, they were even married here - - 48 years ago last Tuesday. Ann, you were the best thing that ever happened to Gary. He adored you. Your relationship has been an example to so many of what marriage can be like – love, respect, understanding. I’m sure you had some difficult times along the way – every couple does – but you both persevered and came out stronger… Gary felt you were his reason for existing. You have all of our deepest sympathy.
Gary was the kind of father who never missed the activities that Kari and Laci were involved in when they were growing up and, if he could, he was always at his grandkids recitals and activities in recent years. He loved seeing all they were doing and experiencing and was super-proud of each one. I know that the days on which Emily, Hannah and Lillianne were born were the most joyous of his life… a new generation… his legacy on earth. You girls, if you can take some of the wonderful qualities you’ve seen in your grandfather and plant them in your own lives you will be blessed and you will be a blessing.
I imagine that Kari and Laci and the grandkids all remember how he used to read “The Night Before Christmas” every year. He had his own special style of storytelling that made the characters come to life and put smiles on all the kids faces and make them laugh… He so loved to be a kid with the kids… I know that when Keri was little and he’d tuck her in at night they’d line up all her stuffed animals on the bed and ‘dad’ would give each one its unique voice as it talked and wished her a good-night. Those are just a couple of the precious memories you will all remember for the rest of your lives…
Kari – you were the son he never had. You did all kinds of things with your dad. He especially enjoyed working on cars with you and teaching you how they worked.
And I suppose those of us who heard Gary playing the comb will always remember him for that peculiar talent. If you missed it, he’d take a regular plastic comb and somehow wrap a piece of newspaper around it and play it. It sounded a bit like a kazoo but with a Gary Parrish flare….
Gary was passionate about the OSU Cowboys. As they say, he ‘bled’ orange. Every season he took in as many games as he could. He had season tickets and win or lose he’d always be loyal. Stillwater was his ‘happy place.’ There was nowhere on earth he’d rather be on game day. In the last couple of years he and Ann had developed a habit of dancing together in the aisles at the end of the game when they played “Good Ride, Cowboy, Good Ride.” People around them began to expect it and they’d all wait for it and applaud at the end when he’d tipped her as the song ended. He liked to think of himself as one of the Cowboy’s biggest fans – and he probably was. He had always been into sports. I think he played football and ran track in high school, but nothing could beat watching his favorite team. At the end of every parting, or at the end of any prayer, instead of the common “good-bye” or “Amen” he’d say, “Go Cowboys!”
Gary retired from Michelin Tire MFG after 36 years. Three days later he came out of retirement and began working for B & C Backhoe in their office. He was never a man to be too idle. He had to be out there doing something… being with people – interacting and just being the great man he was.
Gary, everyone in Wilson is going to miss you. In so many ways you represented the best in all of us. You will be long remembered and will, forever, hold a place in our hearts.
---------------- A PRAYER
Gracious God, into our lives you bring people who inspire us and teach us and demonstrate to us what it means to walk in the way of Christ. Today we thank you for allowing us to know and love Gary Parrish and to be loved by him. All that he was and all that he did – all that will yet be because of his having been here – is a blessing. Embrace him now as one of your beloved children and enjoy him forever. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Eulogy for a good friend... Eulogy by a Funeral Director
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