The Eulogy of Ken Stor - Eulogy for a Father-In-Law - Eulogy by a daughter-in-law
I’d like to begin by saying thank you to all of you for being here today to say a final farewell to my father-in-law, Kuzme (‘Cosmo’ to many of you), one of the finest men I have ever met. These past few days have been difficult for all of us as we saw him weaken and leave us. Your thoughts and prayers and words of encouragement have meant so much to us. Thank you…
I’ll never forget the first time we went to Croatia, in 1994. Kuzme showed us around his home town of Nevidjane and, when we finished, I had to ask my husband whether he was the Mayor or something. Everywhere we went people greeted him warmly – glad to see him, to meet his family, to chat briefly, to laugh with one another about something one of them said... He was clearly a man well respected and much loved. He spent every summer for over thirty years ‘back home.’ He loved America and his life here but he wasn’t yet on the plane to come back before he was already planning for next year and asking who would be going back with him.
But you really couldn’t blame him. Back in 1985 he build a house on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Nevidjane and his greatest joy was sitting on the back deck watching the sun set. There isn’t a more beautiful sight on earth, nor more peaceful… He loved it. He had always had a deep love for everything about water…There was nothing he enjoyed more, here, than fishing off Sheepshead Bay, again, just enjoying the tranquility of it all.
Kuzme loved the simple things in life – tending a garden, fishing, strolling around town, enjoying good food, spending time with his family. Those were life to him. He always had a garden that produced bumper crops and he never left home without a bag of freshly picked vegetable to share with people he might meet along the way as he made his rounds through the neighborhood, checking up on everyone, to make sure everyone was OK.
Kuzme left Croatia in 1964 to come to America. He wanted a better life for his family and he knew that could never happen back there – only in America. He came first. He left his dear wife, Maria, with their three children, to seek work and a place to live. It took him seven years to reunite the entire family and bring them over. He didn’t know the language. He didn’t know exactly how things worked here. He only knew that there was nothing in his life more important than his family and that he’d do anything and make any sacrifice to give them the best life possible.
Kuzme and Maria were married for 65 years. There were struggles and joys along the way, of course, but theirs was always a wonderful example to everyone who knew them of two people who loved one another deeply and forever… Together they raised three children: Fred, Gloria and Nino and those three gave them eight grandchildren: Jason, Kevin, Scott, Paul, Ron, Lauren, Nina, and Stella. Just a word to the grandchildren: You eight are among the most fortunate people you know. You have known a grandfather who dearly loved each of you and who took great pride in the people you have become. I hope you will take some of the wonderful qualities of your grandfather – his dedication to family, his joy in the simple things of life, his caring for others; his generosity – and other things you’ve observed – and allow those things to define your own lives. He was an exceptional man and if you emulate him, you will be exceptional people. Always remember your ‘Dido.”
_____ gave a wonderful tribute to his grandfather. He said to me that his grandfather was the man who taught him so many things in life – how to swim, how to paint, how to use tools, how to ride a bike, how to clean a car… He remembers how his grandparents used to take care of him for a couple of years when he was young and what an indelible impression all that made on him.
When Kuzme first came to the United States he found work doing jobs nobody else wanted. He worked as a plumbers helper. Then he painted bridges in Upstate New York. Eventually he got his residency papers and found his life work as a painter…He loved painting and he painted for the rest of his life. That’s literally true. Just this past summer he was up on a ladder in Croatia, painting. He, no doubt, shouldn’t have been up there, but he was a man who wasn’t easily dissuaded from doing what he wanted to do.
Kuzme used to tell stories about his early life in Croatia, how during World War II, when he was in the Yugoslav Navy, stationed in Dubrovnik, he would hide from the Nazis. It was a bad time in Croatia, but he and his fellow sailors somehow managed to avoid confrontations as much as possible…
I remember how, years ago, Kuzme brought his nephew, _______ to New York from Croatia for six months. He had been struggling to pay his bills and keep food on the table. Kuzme taught him how to paint and found him jobs. For six months ______ saved every penny he earned and took it all back home to share his new wealth and his new skills with his wife… That’s the kind of man Kuzme was… he cared for family and was willing to do whatever necessary to help if he could.
And I’ll always remember how Kuzme would make his own prosciutto to share with all of us. He’d smoke it in the shed in his back yard in the midst of all his tools and yard equipment. He’d use so much salt that anyone who dared gnawing on a piece would instantly have their blood pressure spike. As a nurse, I know it was just terrible for us, but we all enjoyed it and he was proud to share it.
Kuzme was a kind and generous man. He was loyal and strong. He was the patriarch of the family. Kuzme, we will miss you. You have enriched our lives in so many ways. You will always be loved and hold an important place in our hearts. We love you…
Eulogy for a sister. Eulogy for a sister. Eulogy for a sis... Eulogy by a sister.
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