The Eulogy of Ken Macdonald - Eulogy for a Grandfather - Eulogy by a Grandson
I want to thank you all for coming today to be with us as we say a final farewell to my grandfather. Your cards and calls and prayers have been much appreciated.
My grandfather, my Papa, was one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever known. From my earliest years I looked up to him and I’ve always considered him one of my best friends. He was my hero. But he was more than just MY hero. He was an actual hero back in World War II in France. He was at Normandy on D Day. He saw his fellow soldiers fall and suffer and die. He was part of what the American newsman, Tom Brokaw, called “The Greatest Generation.”
During the war Papa’s company would build bridges. He loved to tell the story of he and his buddy, Thane Ellis (they enlisted together). They were Harley riders but their motorcycles were taken away, replaced by bicycles. Thane wanted to get their Harleys back, so he set the bikes in front of Papa’s truck, up close so the driver couldn’t see them. When Papa got in and started up the truck, he ran over the bikes, smashing them. They got their Harleys back.
After the war he received a medal from the President of France… He was awarded the rank of Knight of the French National – Order of the Legion of Honor. At the time it was the highest recognition France could give. Uncle _____ wrote a poem about how proud he was to have a father who did so much to preserve our freedom and peace in the world.
When he came home he met the love of his life, my grandmother. They were married for 73 years. She was working the lunch counter at Holman’s Mall. I don’t know whether it was love-at-first-sight or not but I do know that they’ve had an amazing marriage – loving one another and taking care of one another for three quarters of a century. They raised nine children… they’ve had 27 of us grandkids and another 9 great grandkids… We’ve been blessed… and it all started with him.
Papa was always so fun to be around. He was easy going and always had a joke to tell. Even in these later years his sense of humor didn’t fade. I was having lunch at their place one day and mentioned to him that he needed a haircut. Without skipping a beat he said, “At least I have hair to cut…” Then he laughed… and that laugh was one of the best things about him. Hearing it always made the world seem right.
One of the things I remember so fondly about him was when I was little and he was putting me to bed. He’d wear these itchy wool sweaters and tell me bedtime stories. I loved “Ducktales” so he’d read me all about “Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I’d hold my eyes open because I didn’t want to go to sleep. He would be frustrated and start skipping pages but I’d always catch him at it and say, “Pappy, turn back that page.”
He loved to go to Tim Horton’s for coffee with the ‘boys’ or to the mall – usually with Elliot and Jimmy – his bests friends… Whenever I could, I’d tag along. He’d give me $5 so I could play in the arcade… and throughout my life that’s how he’s been – supportive and generous and loving…
He was that way with everybody. I can still hear him ask that question, “What’s going on?” And he really wanted to know. Even with strangers that he met for the first time he’d ask questions about their lives – where they’re from and what they do… Then, after they parted he’d comment on what fine people they are.
Papa was a man who seemed always content and, if you weren’t, he tell you to sit down and not rock the boat. It was his way of saying that life is for living and not getting up-tight about things. He was always easy going and he felt you should be, too.
Papa could never keep anything from grandma. Once, when grandma went to Scotland with Aunt Gladys I stayed with Papa. Grandma made us meals to eat while she was gone but we ate out almost every day so, when she was about to return we had all this food left in the freezer. Knowing she’d ask how the food was, we had to gorge ourselves for the last few days so we could honestly report…
Papa’s philosophy of life was to live life with peace and happiness – to enjoy and not take anything too seriously. Even though he lived into his 90s he always said that you should never hold grudges because life is just too short…. One of his pleasures in life right up until his last days were the lobsters and clams Uncle Grant would send him.
I remember how, on Saturdays he and grandma would listen to the country hoe-down and old country music. It was filled with life and joy and fun and gave them wonderful pleasure. He would often comment that God had given him more than most people could ever dream of – 96 years and the love of his life by his side every step of the way. At Christmas you could count on him saying that we’d have to widen the door just to get in all the presents he was getting…
Papa – you were the best man most of us will ever know. Your kindness and gentleness, your humor and your love, your generosity and courage will always be our goals in life. We have loved you and we will forever.
Eulogy for a grandfather... Eulogy by a grandson
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