An unsolicited testimonial from Toni B. - Australia
A HUGE thank you to Steve for the amazing job he did helping me create a beautiful eulogy for my grandfather. Having the pressure of writing a eulogy of someone so special to you is a real challenge. I am usually ok at writing things, but this was new for me, so I know I would have taken ages just researching and figuring out how to write a good eulogy. Then starting from scratch felt overwhelming as I didn’t really know how to make it flow well and sound good.
I figured that this was a small investment to get me started so I wasn’t spinning my wheels. Instead of being up stressing all night, I was able to sleep while Steve worked on it half a world away. When I woke up in the morning I was blown away by how beautifully he weaved the memories I shared into a cohesive story that pays homage to the amazing man my grandfather was. There were just a few tweaks that I made (I was expecting way more because I’m super fussy!) before it felt like the perfect, from the heart, tribute my grandfather deserved.
I would be remiss to mention that Steve turned it around in a very short period of time, while he was out of the office and had no internet access, so that I could have it done on time. He literally went to McDonalds to get internet access so that he could help me out. The service was incredible from how responsive he was but also the quality of what he produced.
Examples of Eulogies recently written (names changed for privacy):
Rosemary Kirsh - Eulogy for a mother
I’d like to start off by thanking you all for being here today. Your presence means a lot. During the course of mom’s illness she’s been blessed with phone calls and visits and cards and she always knew she was in the prayers of hundreds of people. Mom truly loved all the cards she received during and after each of her hospital stays. She got, maybe, 70 to 80 cards every time she came home. She treasured every one of them, reading them over repeatedly. She knew she was blessed. She knew she was loved. Her heart would have been touched that so many of you came out today to honor her and to say goodbye.
During this past week as we have all talked about our memories of my mom I’ve heard so many stories of how she was supportive of so many of you throughout her life. The words I heard as people described her were words like: faithful, courageous, integrity, sensitivity, supremely confident, organized... even the word life itself. Few people lived life as fully or as well as my mother did. I have no doubt that the secret to that was her faith and trust in God-her love for her Savior, Jesus. He inspired her to be her best and to live her life fully.
Mom was always chasing new experiences as she was always in pursuit of learning something new in a different adventure. Taking up golf in her 60s ... buying an iPhone in her 70s and tirelessly learning everything about it... Joining Facebook and Instagram to meet new and different people, discovering new restaurants and shops, and always joining new groups. The past few years were hard for mom as she said goodbye to so many of her friends, from Calvary Church, from Central high school, from Bonhomme church, golf friends and PEO sisters. She took each and every one very hard like each was her best friend - - and many of them were.
The loss of loved ones was one of the things that made mom who she was - that gave her compassion, and a love for every day of her life and it taught her to wholly trust in God.... She lost almost everyone in her birth family by the age of 45: Three brothers, a sister and both parents. Mom told me she thought life would never be the same after Grandma Combs passed away. They were so close… And Grandma Combs went through all the losses along with mom. Mom learned from grandma Combs how to continue life with joy. Some of your remember my Grandma Combs. Even having suffered losses she never lost her ability to laugh and enjoy the life God gave her.
Mom used to tell stories about her dad and a special bond they had. When she was graduating from grade school the school colors were red and white. Her dad took her shopping for a red skirt and a white blouse. She remembered them spending the whole day together, walking hand-in-hand and just feeling the love he had for her. That well may have been the day mom fell in love with shopping. She always wanted to look good and shopping for just the right outfit was her joy for the rest of her life.
She met the love of her life when she was at Central high school. Her and that handsome boy kept their vows for 65 years. Mom and dad were able to travel all over the world with close friends throughout the years. Mom especially enjoyed her winter vacations in Florida with dad, Florida trips with Kelli’s family, and Black River Lodge with the Calvary Church group.
In recent years dad was her sole caretaker. He was always there, always caring, always loving. I know it was sometimes hard, but he and she both knew he could care for her better than anyone they might have hired. She called him her hero and rock. I can echo that. Dad is my hero, too. Thank you Dad, for your constant care for mom. She loved and depended on you so much.I’ll never forget how the two of you bonded over watching Cardinal games… one of your great joys…
In 1975 dad surprised her with a trip to the Bahamas which she claimed was her best Christmas ever. To announce the trip, dad bought her a grass skirt and sunglasses and a bag of sand. He also made a Puzzle she had to piece together that spelled the word “Bahamas.”
Her favorite birthday was her 70th when Kelli threw her a surprise party at a restaurant in Saint Albans, inviting all her friends from all the chapters of her life. High school, church, and PEO. Kelli had a great menu, tables with photos and even take-home herbs for each guest... Rosemary herbs of course.
My wife, Jackie, was great with mom to... always bringing over food and talking and enjoying one another. Jackie treated mom as if she were her own mother and Mom loved her for that.
Kelli and her husband, Don, were always there and ready to help mom with whatever needed doing. Don put his green thumb talents to work and repeatedly brought over plants for the house and helped with the gardening.
Mom always thought her grand kids were the best thing that ever happened to her. She loved watching each one grow up and become amazing Young adults. She enjoyed watching Casey and Taylor perform home carnivals as kids. She enjoyed Kyle‘s basketball, baseball, and hockey games, and also hearing about Jordan’s swimming meets. If the four of you will take some of the wonderful things you have seen in your grandmother and incorporate them into your own lives - things like her kindness, her love of nature and her faith - if you will nurture those things in your own life, you will be truly blessed... and your grandmother will live on in you.
And I can’t forget Barbara, Mom‘s niece. Barbara, she adored you. You were like a daughter to her...or maybe almost like a sister.
Mom kept a journal (something we all should do), and in it she outlined three life values she strove to live by. The first one was the love of God and friends. Without God and all of you in her life, she wrote, life would be so much less. Number two was integrity and honesty. ‘If we can’t be upright people, then we have failed as human beings,’ she wrote. The third one, health and God’s blessing.... Mom had some rough times with health but she always knew that ‘all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord’ so she was able to be faithful and optimistic even when she was suffering.... She knew that God had a plan and even though we may not be able to comprehend it, she always quoted, “If God brings you to it he will bring you through it,” and she believed that. She always told me that in anything I did I should never give up, which is literally the approach she took till her last breath. She believed in her favorite verse in the Bible, in Philippians (4:13) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Mom was total honesty. I remember, once, when she was stopped for speeding. There was no way she was going to talk her way out of a ticket. Instead, she told the officer that she was on her way back to work and was in a super hurry so that’s why she was speeding.... she got the ticket… Another time, dad got pulled over when she was in the car. When the officer came to the window, mom piped up and said, “I told him to slow down... That he was going too fast.” ... He got the ticket...
After the kids were in school, mom went to work as an executive administrative assistant at Emerson Electric. She worked there over 25 years and really enjoyed making great friends and having wonderful bosses. She was confident and organized, which made her a great employee. One of the greatest days of her work life was when Emerson Electric became Esco and they moved to a brand new building and she got her own office. She knew she had arrived.... later she received the companies “Woman of the year” award ... no doubt well deserved.
Working at church was mom‘s greatest love in life. She held Numerous positions at Calvary Church. After moving to West County she continued her service work at Bonhomme church. There she was involved in many groups and the missions work of the church.
She also was member of the PEO – through the organization she helped other Christian women, along with her other sisters, mature in Christ.
One of the most powerful images I have of mom is her sitting, doing her 30 minutes morning Bible study and devotional, watching the bluebirds through the porch window. That was mom. A woman of faith and prayer and love... because of the winter weather the birds hadn’t been around for a while, but on the morning of Mom‘s passing, there they were ... clearly wanting to say goodbye to her....
I know that many of you missed saying a final goodbye to mom. But I’m pretty sure that’s how she would’ve wanted it. Goodbye is so final. She believed that we will all meet again in God’s kingdom. We are all bound together forever through our mutual faith and trust in the one who is life and love, compassion and mercy itself.
I tried to spend as much time as I could with mom. I’ve always known that she was a special gift from God. I knew that this day would come when God calls her home to be with Him. I will sorely miss her.
Mom we’re going to miss your love and your faith and your kindness. We’re going to miss your passion for life and for God....But we will see you again in God’s great Kingdom. Thanks be to God.
David Cass - Eulogy for a Best Friend
It is one of the greatest honors of my life to stand here today and pay tribute to a wonderful friend – a man I considered my best friend in the world. My name is John More. I’ve known Dave for over twenty years. On behalf of Vicki, Sara, Liam and Daniel, I thank you for being here and for all the support so many of you have offered in the past few days since Dave’s passing and during the past three months while Dave was in the hospital. Your visits, calls, cards and prayers were truly appreciated.
I met Dave when I interviewed him for a job at Petco 21 years ago. I remember that interview like it was yesterday. Sitting before me was a man who conversed easily. He clearly was a man of passion about whatever he was involved with – right then an important position at Petco… a man of considerable intelligence. I knew immediately that he would be my choice.
Back in those days we both had young families so our time was precious. We’d maximize it by having cell phone meetings during our commutes to and from work so we wouldn’t have to stay late. It wasn’t uncommon for one or both of us to hae financial schedules open on the seat beside us and for both of us to be jotting down notes while we drove. Please – don’t do that. It’s not safe… but that’s how we handled being involved the leadership of a company in high growth mode.
Eventually we stopped that rather dangerous practice, but kept up the phone calls. Now they were not as business related as they were personal. During those early days of our business relationship it became obvious that we had a lot in common…we were becoming friends.
Less than a year later, Dave had major heart surgery. He was born with Hypertrophic Cardial Myopathy. His co-workers had no idea that he had a serious heart condition because he kept it to himself. He always bore that burden with courage and grace. I visited him at the hospital after his surgery. That’s when I met the love of his life, Vicki. He invited me to stop by again, so I did – and then again and again for the next five weeks of his recovery at home. We loved to chat about the business and his favorite sports teams (he loved Penn State and the Pittsburgh Steelers - I was always envious of him be a fan of continually winning teams). We talked about family and our ambitions and the weather…
When he got well, we resumed our chats at Starbucks. We were pretty boring about it. I liked venti drip with cream. He liked the same, but black. Whichever of us arrived first ordered for both of us and paid the bill. It became a bit of a competition as to who would get there first to buy the coffee. Same thing with our several times weekly lunches… Who would get the bill. We never kept track of who paid more often. All we knew was that, whatever the cost, what we had was worth every cent.
Since our kids were so similar in ages and because our wives enjoyed one another, our families became almost as one. Neither family had relatives in the area and we lived less than two miles apart… We all spent holidays together – Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve… Great times. We even attended the same church.
Dave left Petco for greener pastures but several years ago we got the opportunity to work together again. Again I interviewed him for a job but I knew before he even came in. I was going to hire him. I didn’t even interview anyone else. Dave was a man who could be trusted and who would always have your back.
Dave went to Penn State University (one of those winning teams I mentioned earlier). He earned his Bachelors and Masters in engineering. He made some wonderful life-long friends there. Margaret and Luke – they’re here today. Thank you guys for coming. Thank you for wanting to honor our friend with your presence.
After graduation, Dave moved to San Diego to work with General Dynamics. Again, and no surprise, he made some great friends: Melanie and Kurt, Edna, Debbie, Susie… and his future wife, Vicki. They all spent idyllic weekends together at the beach sailing and soaking in the sun and laughing and enjoying one another.
When I think of Dave’s many qualities, the first thing I think of is his sense of responsibility. He was deeply committed to the stable values of honesty and loyalty. If Dave told you he was going to do something, you could be sure he would. He never missed deadlines. He had one of those incredible engineers minds where he could look at a problem and analyze it, weight the various factors and come up with a solution…
Over the course of his career he worked at Garden Fresh, he worked with his brother-in-law, Steve to get a start-up company up and running (a life long ambition), and he ended up at Chuze Fitness as the CFO. He had a long and varied and distinguished career. He loved his time at Chuze. To him, everyone who worked there seemed like one big family.
But central to his life and love and work, was always his real family. The love he had for Vicki was inspirational. We should all have such a relationship… And Sara, Liam and Daniel – He knew he had three amazing kids. He was blown over with each one’s incredible talents, their affinity for music, education and ambition. You three are among the most fortunate people in the world. I hope you will each reflect any number of your dad’s wonderful qualities and nurture them in your own lives. If you do you will be truly blessed. I often listened to him singing your praises with tears of pride in his eyes…
Dave was a collector. He collected beer cans – not just those he drank, but old and rare ones. He collected model trains. He collected baseball cards. He collected wine – he had hundreds of bottles. I chided him that he probably petted his bottles of Chateau d’Yquem before going to bed at night. He even had a vintage, 1967 Porsche 912.
Over the last few months, Dave and I spent a bunch of time together. While we did the unmanly thing of hugging and saying “love you” over the years, we never once held hands until meeting him in the ICU.
Dave’s hands became his main form of communication during that time. We agreed on 1 squeeze for “yes” and 2 squeezes for “no.” Sometimes, late in the evening, Dave would be wide awake and we would just chat about things, albeit, I did all of the talking. I would share a story and he would respond with a squeeze. One squeeze for a football win, two squeezes when Steelers quarterback was sidelined for the season. Sometimes, I wouldn’t tell him stories quick enough and he would pinch me as if to say ‘hurry up…more.’
One night, during these conversations, I received a sweet text from Sara. I shared it with Dave and he liked it very much. I said, “you must really love Sara.” He gave my hand a big squeeze. I added, and Liam, Yes. And Danny, Yes. And Vicki, a long squeeze. Then his sisters one by one. Yes. Aunt Dolly, a strong squeeze. He pinched me, asking me to name more. OK. Your friends: Margaret, Melanie, Kurt, Edna, Debbie, Susie, Fred. All yeses. Another pinch. Your nephews and nieces, Steve, Guillame, and Dan. Yeses. More pinches. Your work friends, Chuze, Nick, Cory Mellisa, Ray and Charles. Yes. Another pinch. Cecilia, Guy, Dan, Shawn, Luke, Kathy, Michael, Your Catholic faith, country, your lemon grove, your dogs Luna and Mo. All yeses. He pinched again and I said “I am running out of ideas, Dave.” He pinched even harder and drew blood on my finger. “Owe!” I said, “Dave, I know what you want me to ask. I know. But I don’t need to ask it.” He pinched again. “Dave, I know that you love me. I don’t need to ask.” Then I remembered that we would never leave things left unsaid. I told him I was sorry for that. He softly rubbed my hands and caressed my forearm before falling asleep.
I think he’d want that to be part of his legacy – that we should all never leave things unsaid… to share special moments… to often say the words “I love you.”
Dave, I am loath to close, but we have a celebration in your honor and you would want us to be punctual. As the Irish blessing goes, “Until we meet again,” and we surely shall. “May God hold you in the palm of his hand.” You are now with your nephew Derek and your loving parents. See you soon, my friend. I have loved you and always will.
Rocco Panzio - Eulogy for an Uncle
My Uncle Bill was such a wonderful man. He had this unique ability to make ME feel special. To make ME feel loved. To make ME feel beautiful. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that. Isn’t it true? He made YOU feel loved and special and beautiful, too, didn’t he? That’s what made HIM beautiful and special and loved.
I remember so often, when we’d visit, just having so much fun. We’d laugh together until tears were running down our cheeks. We never wanted to go home and we always knew he didn’t want us to go, either. We always had such a good time…
I always loved it when he’d tell the story of how he got the nickname, ‘Bill.’ His older brothers and friends all had nicknames – names like Zippo and Sparky and Stallion. He didn’t just want to be called Rocco, so he begged them to give him a nickname. They asked him what he wanted to be called and, being very young and not knowing exactly what to say, he blurted out, “Just call me Bill.” And his brothers, knowing that no little Italian boy was ever, in the history of the world, called ‘Bill,’ that was the name that stuck.
Uncle Bill and Aunt Marie were married for 58 years in, what most of us would call a wonderful, love filled marriage. I know that emotions flared from time to time – in what relationship doesn’t that happen – especially in our family? But Uncle Bill loved Aunt Marie so deeply that it was obvious to everyone who knew them. Aunt Marie – you and Uncle Bill inspired all of us to love one another more… you inspired us to be better people – to be more compassionate and supportive and loving… Thank you.
Uncle Bill was very vocal about how he felt about all of us, but especially how blessed he was to have raised such children as Roseanne, Rocco and Anthony. He was so proud of you all.
But, of course, the shining stars – the greatest joys of his life - were his grandkids, Isabella, Victoria, Nicole and Dominic. The four of you were adored by your grandfather. I hope that, as you continue to grow up, you will see so much of him in yourselves – his strength and his dedication and his love for life – and the depths of his faith. If you grow up to be amazing adults and you will be blessed.
Uncle Bill’s faith WAS an important part of his life. He loved this church. He loved to attend mass here. He loved the God who is worshiped in this place. His faith carried him through many hard times in his life, especially in these later years when his health was failing. He always knew that God was watching over him and giving him the strength he needed each day.
Uncle Bill’s closest friends were Aunt Marie’s brothers, Sammy and Elmo. That may well be because they played such an important part in his life. Sammy and Uncle Bill were in a car pool together about 60 years ago and Sammy’s sister was babysitting at the house where he had parked his car. They managed to meet. She thought him cute and a very nice man. He thought she was about the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He became the Godfather of Sammy’s daughter, Veronica, and at her first birthday party, Uncle Bill got her alone and popped the question.
Sammy and Uncle Bill loved going hunting together. It was their passion and they bonded out there, tramping through the woods, searching for game… telling stories and just being together… They always looked forward to their annual expeditions and I know Uncle Bill was sad when that all came to an end because he just couldn’t anymore.
He had fought in the Korean War back in the early ‘50s. He never talked about it much. A lot of soldiers like to keep those experiences private and most of us would never intrude on that privacy, but I do know that Uncle Bill loved his country and was proud to serve… and then get back to civilian life…
He had grown up on a farm upstate - Hillsdale. His family moved there when the Great Depression hit. He used to tell about how, even as a child there were chores to do every morning before going to school – feed the farm animals, water them, make sure they were all OK. Then, after school, more chores. One spring, his father decided to plant a crop of onions and, of course, all the kids had to help plant the little seeds. But no one thought that his father would come home with 100,000 seeds to individually plant. It took them weeks of backbreaking work… but Uncle Bill learned perseverance and endurance and the eventual satisfaction of seeing a job well done.
All his life he worked hard. He was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers. He loved his work. He loved to see a project – something beginning with nothing – become something solid and strong and enduring.
Uncle Bill’s life was like that – a man of strength and integrity and endurance. We will all miss him terribly but will love him forever.
Uncle Bill – you’ve been such an important part of so many of our lives. You made us laugh until we cried. You showed us unconditional love. You were the kind of person we’d each like to be. We will honor your memory for as long as we live. We love you.
John Caldwell - Eulogy for a Husband
I want to thank you all for coming today. I knew there would be a lot of people paying their respects, but we’ve been overwhelmed in these past couple of weeks with the number of people who have called or sent cards or stopped by or, in some way, let us know that they are praying for us. Your surrounding us today with your care and your love is deeply comforting.
When John and I got married three years ago, we knew this day would come. He had been diagnosed a year before, but we chose to walk this final earthly journey hand in hand - together. We had known one another for quite a number of years – since all the kids were young. We were friends for years before God brought us together in, what I would describe as a wonderful, love-filled marriage. When we were dating, we discovered that we had the same values and family ideals. We both wanted the same things in life. We both were committed to our relationship with God. And God honored our coming together by giving us three wonderful years. Not long enough, of course, but every day was full and rich and never to be forgotten.
John was a man who had an amazing capacity to love. It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to stop if he saw someone – especially an elderly person – stranded on the road. If he saw someone who needed help, he knew he was the one to provide it. John and Carolyn – you raised a son who loved everyone. You know, there wasn’t a person he’d come across anywhere that he didn’t introduce himself to. He loved to meet people, to find out what they were about and, if they needed something he could help with, he was always willing. Carolyn, you instilled faith in him – he was a man of God because of you and all he did he did to please God. John – you gave him a work ethic and taught him how to work – on cars or boats or engines or just about anything. I know he made you proud.
He loved his work. He started his landscaping business 27 years ago, when he was just 18. He LOVED to be outside, trimming and climbing into trees and hedge cutting and mowing and planting. Then he loved to stand back and look at the beauty he had created. He’d often come home and describe, in some detail, all he had done. It was obvious that he was made for the work he did… And when JJ was old enough to work with his dad, he couldn’t have been happier. Spending time on the job, doing what he loved, working beside his oldest son – what could be better than that?
John loved his kids more than life itself. JJ, Stephanie, Paul – and Brittain – your father loved you more than you can ever imagine. He was so proud of you and the young people you’ve become. When you were little he loved going to your games and school events. If you had an interest in something, so did he. Always remember the kind of man he was – a man of character and caring and faith. He’d want all that for you.
John had a deep love for children – anyone’s children – but especially for his grandkids, Sage and Matthew. When he was around children, John’s childish nature came out. He’d forget about the other adults in the room and get down on the floor and play with the kids. He especially adored his nephews Colton and Taylor and Jason. His grandkids and so many of the children he interacted with are too young to remember him as they grow up. But I like to think that, in the recesses of their little hearts, they will always know of this man who loved them…
When John was a kid himself, he and his brother Jason had any number of adventures. One he loved to talk about was when he was growing up near Charleston, South Carolina. He would say that he and Jason would be out swimming like kids everywhere but with a bit of a twist. They were swimming in the river and it was known to have Water Moccasins along the shore, waiting for young boys to take a dip. His mom knew of the danger, so she watched over them as they swam, with a gun, ready to protect her sons…
Another animal story: This was when John was an adult, trimming a tree some 30-40 feet off the ground. With his face just inches from the trunk, suddenly a Palm Rat appeared. Then, before he could shoo it away, he saw, on the edge of his vision, a hawk come swooshing in. The hawk grabbed the rat and flew off. John had never been so close to a rat nor to a flying hawk…
But he was always a man for adventure. He had a need for speed. Out on the water, he loved to open the throttle on his Action Marine and see what it could do. He loved to take his family to the annual Scream and Fly boat event at River Ranch for a long weekend to see the hundreds of speed boaters racing all over the lake.
And he loved his Harley. He’d use any excuse to go for a ride – even to go get groceries. There was no job too insignificant if he could take a ride on that motorcycle.
John’s life was filled with so many good experiences and memories. He had so many friend. …Years of memories made with people like Jason and Hollie Noe and Robert and Kellii Sherman… the Geidi’s and so many others. Thank you all for loving John as much as he loved you.
But John’s greatest love was for his savior, Jesus. And it was his faith that made the end of his life bearable. He believed that God is able to make something good out of whatever comes our way and that even when we can’t see the whole plan, God has a purpose. John’s life was filled with happiness because he knew that the secret to happiness and fulfillment in life is to serve others. He was so dedicated to our church – and our church family has been wonderful in these past days – he, of course, did whatever needed to be done with landscaping and some maintenance on the property. It was his pleasure. It was his way of serving God.
John loved to tell and retell stories. Whenever he retold a story, it never seemed to lose its flare and fun even though it might have been told for the tenth time. We all have stories – memories – experiences – adventures – where John is one of the players. I hope that we can all share those stories with one another and with his children and with his grandkids – over and over again and, in so doing, letting his life continue in our own.
John – you were a wonderful husband – a man to be admired and loved. You will live on in my heart – in all of our hearts – forever.
Alan Clopper - Eulogy for a father
I thank you all so much for being here today to honor the life of our father. As you know, he died far too young and so suddenly. It has been difficult and our grief is still painful. Your presence and your prayers are so much appreciated.
Eathon, Laura Lee and I have always considered ourselves the most fortunate of people to have had a father like ours. Dad was kind and good and fun to be around. I don’t mean that he let us do whatever we wanted as we were growing up – he didn’t. He disciplined us as needed, but always with love. We never doubted that anything he did was always with our best interest in mind. He loved us more than anyone in the world. I think Laura Lee probably had the closest relationship with dad than either Eathon or me. She was always his little girl – his pride and joy. There is something special about the bond between and father and daughter. They were no exception. Their admiration for one another was obvious.
I know dad would have wanted to see Laura Lee and Eathon and me get married and start families – to give him grandchildren – but that just wasn’t to be. And it will be one of our greatest sorrows that, when we do have children (if God so grants it), they won’t know the wonderful man who was their grandfather. They won’t know the sound of his laughter and the sparkle in his eye. They won’t know the great man we loved so much…
Dad taught school for twenty years. He was a high school teacher and loved to see young minds develop and learn to think and discover new things every day. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than seeing his students light up with new knowledge – to finish school and go on to college and make a success of their lives. So many of them came back to him later and thanked him for how he had changed their lives. After twenty years, dad decided to step out and do something even more impressive in the education world. He started a school – Pricilla – and he lead that school as principal for another decade. He was so proud of what he had done and he LOVED being principal. Every day was a new challenge. Every day he walked into his office not knowing what was in store for him. And, every day, he met all the challenges with enthusiasm, patience, and wisdom – and often humor.
Our father would tell us stories of his own school days, when he was young. He told stories mostly of soccer and rugby. He loved to be active and those sports filled his life with games and practices and learning new strategies. All his life he was a soccer and rugby fan. He loved watching them on TV. His favorite teams were the _______ and the _______.
He was involved with the Namibian School Sports Union for years. That’s an organization that organizes teams of high performing young athletes and arranges competitions. He loved seeing them play and develop their athletic abilities.
Dad was such a happy man. He was seldom cross. He always wore a smile. He was jovial and he wanted people to be happy if at all possible. He was an optimist. He believed that God would make everything, in the end, come out alright.
That had to do with his trust in God, of course. He was a man of deep faith. Seldom did a Sunday go by without him having been in church. He taught us the centrality of Christ in our lives. He taught us of the Savior’s love and sacrifice and showed us what it looks like to be a Christian – he lived his faith. Dad saw the gentleness and love of God in Christ (the meek and mild lamb of God), but he also believed in the power and discipline of the Almighty Creator (the lion).
It is dad’s faith that gives us our greatest comfort. He believed – and we do too – that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” We know where he is. He is with the one who has loved him from the beginning of time.
Dad loved to sing (probably learned it in church when he was young). It wasn’t uncommon to hear him singing around the house - a hymn or some song of Frank Sinatra – maybe “Fly Me to the Moon” or “Strangers in the Night” or “Pennies from Heaven.” There always seemed to be a song inside that wanted to come out.
We have a number of aunts and uncles – dad’s siblings. He loved all of you. You were his family. Clement, especially – probably his best friend. But Lorraine, Andy, Ingrid, Imelda, Vincent, Lorenzo, Ignatius, Bernadette, Brigette, Adeline, Joan, Richie, Gregory – he loved growing up with you and fighting with you and loving you…
Another dear friend was George Louw. He met George in his college days. They loved to go to games together, to go out for lunch and talk sports and world events and simply enjoy one another’s company… Thank you, George, for being such a good friend to our father.
When I graduated from medical school, I felt a great sense of accomplishment but, more important to me, was the fact that I knew dad was proud of me. He inspired that. We all wanted to do whatever we could to make him proud and, throughout our lives, he showed it. He encouraged us and prodded us and inspired us to go for whatever it is in life that we wanted to do. He truly was a wonderful father.
I’d like to conclude with a few words (taken out of context) of one of Frank Sinatra’s songs, “After You’ve Gone.” It says: After you've gone and left me crying, after you've gone - there's no denying You'll feel blue - you're gonna be sad You've missed the dearest pal that you ever had There'll come a time - don't you forget it (Yeah) There'll come a time… There'll come a time.
The time has come. Dad has left us and we are feeling blue – feeling sad. Dad – you’ve been a wonderful influence in our lives. We will never forget all you did and all you were. We will love you forever.
Ruby Hunt - Eulogy for a mother with Schizophrenia
I remember, with crystal clarity, the sounds of our house when we were growing up. Some of them were from my brothers and sisters talking and laughing and arguing and playing (Semang, Jan and Juan, Alister and Oscar), but the sounds that are strongest in my mind are the sounds of mom humming (sometimes singing), of the typewriter clacking away, of the TV announcer commenting on some tennis match (maybe Pete Sampres or Andy Murry – her favorites). I remember hearing, on Sunday mornings, the animated preaching of some televangelist – Jimmy Swaggart or Oral Roberts – maybe, during a week night a Billy Graham crusade. And I remember, sometimes, the silence that so strongly spoke to us of the peace that permeated the house when mom was there.
Dad died in 1983. They had been married for only fifteen years. She and dad came to the U.S. in 1975. He was a diplomat and worked at the UN. She worked as a typist there. Their life looked so promising. The whole world was laid out before them. But then it all can crashing down. Dad left her with six mouths to feed and bodies to clothe – six little children to raise and the stressful reality of doing it alone. Any parent can relate to what that life must have looked like. Mom was amazing, though. Somehow she did it. I’m not sure how. She suffered from schizophrenia over the years. She experienced depression. She worked as a secretary typist on and off for about a decade – unable to stay at it because of her illnesses. Yet somehow she pushed through. She raised her kids. She taught us right from wrong. She taught us how to be happy with the simple things – the truly valuable things of life. Mom taught us to love others and how to laugh. She taught us, by example, what it means to be kind and honest and compassionate. She taught us what it means to trust God.
Mom was an Episcopalian. But not just by birth or by denomination. She was a true Christian woman. Her relationship with God was an example to everyone who knew her. That humming and singing I mentioned – always her favorite hymns. Her all time favorite, I think, must have been “Abide With Me.” We heard it all the time. It is a hymn that asks God to be with us always – to live in our hearts and in our lives in such a way that even as darkness deepens around us, we can know that God is with us. Mom lived that hymn every day. She taught us how God supplies the needs of our lives as we trust Him.
But she knew we weren’t supposed to just sit by and expect God to supply. We have to take action ourselves. I remember when I was in high school, I needed a prom dress. I didn’t know how that was going to happen. But mom did. She, in her quirky way, decided she could make one. Sewing wasn’t one of her exceptional skills but he set out to do it. It took her about a month to get it done and, I’m sure, lots of tearing out and redoing, but she did. It was a full length gown. And it was beautiful. When I put it on I felt like a princess and was so proud of her and of the dress.
Mom was such a beautiful woman, both inside and out. It was a long time ago (47 years), but when she was young, she was crowned Miss Bartice in Guyana. She always thought that might have been one of the high points of her life. She was held up to all around as the example of talent and beauty and personality and poise. But all of those things fade, and she found other high points that made that one pale by comparison. Those high points were the births of her grandchildren.
You three, Janisha and Kaiser and Hugh – you had a very special grandmother. Her love for you was without limit. She’d have done anything for you. She couldn’t believe how lucky she was to have you in her life. If you can take some of her into your lives, you will be blessed.
Kyree was born as a micro preemie – so tiny and helpless. Mom looked at that tiny baby and her heart was touched. She came to life in an amazing way. Whenever that little one cried at night, mom came running to care for her. It was never a hardship getting up in the middle of the night. To her, caring for Kyree, holding her, comforting her, was absolute joy.
The two of them – Kyree and mom – were about as close as two humans can be. It was amazing to see. Even during these past two months, when mom was hospitalized, when she was feeling terrible – unable to walk or keep food down – when her worsening dementia caused confusion – Kyree always managed to bring a smile to her face as she lay there, suffering in the hospital.
But all three of you were dear to her. You enriched her life. You gave her something to live for. You were her joy.
I was talking with Mary (Valenzuela), her former sister-in-law, the other day. Mary said, “She was always so kind to me.” And, of course, she was. Mom was kind to everyone. But if you were family, she had a special place in her heart for you. You could do no wrong. And, I’m pretty sure she whispered a prayer for you from time to time. This sweet, caring, loving, genuine woman knew how to love others. I remember the words, mom, of that last verse. They are forever in my heart and mind and I hear you singing them today: Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me. You will always abide with us mom – in our memories, in our thoughts, in our hearts. We have loved you and always will.
Michael Kent - Eulogy for a Boyfriend who OD'd
Thank you all for being here today. I know that Mike would be humbled and greatly honored. And thank so many of you for the cards, emails and phone calls to me and Mike’s parents and his brothers. All have been very much appreciated.
A little over three years ago I was looking online and found Mike. He was just finishing up his residence at a half-way house and needed a place to stay. He was a stranger and I guess I am a bit of a risk taker, so I invited him to stay with me for a while. I discovered a treasure in Mike. He was the most kind and caring person I ever met! He was the kind of man who wanted to help anyone who had a need. He’d give a stranger the shirt off his back if that stranger needed it – and never think a thing of it.
It didn’t take long before I fell in love with him and we became a ‘couple.’ Our relationship wasn’t always pretty – we had some pretty rocky times because of the drug issue – but we were working on it. I was never more pleased than when he told me that I gave him the best l life he ever had. And I know that’s true. I felt the same way.
When he took that heroine for the last time, I did my best. I gave him CPR and Narcan. I held him in my arms and I know he passed knowing he was loved.
The image of Mike I choose to hold onto forever is waking him up in the mornings or even in the middle of the night. He would always give me the most beautiful ear–to–ear smile. He lit the place up. He was always so positive and ‘bright.’
One of the things Mike truly enjoyed was to go bowling. Neither he nor I were very good at it, but we thoroughly enjoyed going and doing our best. If friends were with us, the enjoyment was even greater. Mike wasn’t particularly competitive. Having a good time was what it was all about. And we did. We laughed and talked and knocked down as many pins as we could… Good times!
When we’d visit my parents, Mike and dad would talk about law for hours. Mike was extremely intelligent and could hold his own. He had hoped to go to college and then to law school and become an attorney. He could have done it. He was super smart and got an almost perfect score on the college entrance exam when he took it – and never studied for it!. He’d have made a great lawyer.
Dad passed away a year ago. Michael was there for me. He grieved right along with the rest of the family. He adored my father… Losing him was like losing a close friend – most certainly a mentor and role model…
Mike loved family – mine and his own. Michael – Tricia – We are all so sorry for your loss. I know he was your first-born and losing Mike is devastating… And his brothers. Mike was the oldest so he took almost a parenting role while Andrew, Shylo and Thomas were growing up. Mike adored each of you. I know all four of you were close – that you loved one another and would do ‘whatever’ for one another. Always remember the good times and how much he cared for you…
One of the things we did that thrilled Mike (and me) was to frequently take in Jayden – a three year old who was growing up in a difficult situation. From the first time we met the little guy, Mike bonded with him and when he was with us we felt like he was our own and we were our own little family.
I am a nurse and, from time to time, Mike would stop in at the hospital. All the other nurses thought Mike was amazing and the patients fell in love with him – he was just so caring and kind and showed real interest in their lives. Mike was the kind of man who could make instant friends of just about anyone… ‘ There aren’t many good things about drug addiction, but it changed Mike’s life. He knew the frailty in all of us and thus saw all people as equals – as people who needed love and affirmation and encouragement to have the best lives they possibly could.
We have a very loud Siamese cat named ‘Kitty.’ I gave her to Mike as a birthday gift on his 28th birthday. He absolutely adored that cat. To me ‘Kitty’ will always be a reminder of Mike and the kind of man he was. I will think of the two of them cuddling up – Kitty purring, Mike loving it. I’ll always remember how Kitty would come to life when Mike was around – and how he would, too. Mike loved all animals, but HIS cat was special in his affections.
Mike – you left us too soon – too suddenly – too tragically. But you captured our hearts and we will never forget you and how you touched our lives. We will love you forever.
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