The Eulogy of Will Rawl - Eulogy for a Grandfather - Eulogy by a Grandson
I want to begin by thanking all of you for being here today to join us in saying a final farewell to my grandfather – one of the finest men I’ve ever known. Your presence, your cards and calls and prayers over these past few months have been tremendously helpful. Thank you.
Pop was everyone’s grandfather. When we were kids, if we happened to have friends over to grandma and Pop’s house, they would all, invariably, be calling Pop ‘Uncle Bill’ or even ‘Pop’ by the end of the day. He was the grandfather and uncle to so many of our friends who never had the privilege of having known their own granddads. Pop was always welcoming and funny and, somehow, made everyone feel loved.
But that wasn’t just with our friends. Pop managed to validate everyone all the time. He wanted everyone he met to feel important and cared for… And he was about the most passionate ‘family man’ you will ever meet. Pop and grandma had five children: William Jr., Barbara, Denise, John and Michael. He LOVED those five and would have done anything for them. They were the most important people in his world. There are fifteen of us grandkids and 36 great grandchildren. What a legacy he leaves behind… He was immensely proud of each and every one of us. He counted himself so fortunate that most of us live nearby and he could see us often. There was nothing he loved more than being around the people he loved.
Among the grandkids, I was one of the most fortunate. After grandma passed, he came to live with us for almost five years. That was an amazing period of my life. Pop never allowed anyone in the house to have a dull moment. He would often check on me in the home office when I’d be working late into the night while out on one of his three or four midnight refrigerator raids. I’d look up and see him, with his nose up against the French Doors making funny faces at me. I couldn’t help but to laugh… Or he’d spend a few minutes putting finger prints all over the glass, smudging it in every way he could. He knew that mom is a clean freak and that it would drive her crazy. He’d open the door and, with a chuckle, he’d say, “let’s see how long it takes your mother to get out the Windex in the morning.”
Another time, mom and Pop had just returned from visiting Uncle ______ in California. Mom was upstairs unpacking but had left a little bag of starfish they had collected on the family room floor. My dog got into it and started eating one. I quickly picked up the bag and called Poison Control to see what danger my dog might be in and what to do about it. When I went back to the family room to clean up the left over pieces, they were gone. Pop was sitting in the recliner munching on something. “Pop what are you eating,” I said. “Oh, there was some popcorn on the floor when I came in so I ate it. It was pretty hard…” So I called poison control again – this time to see what would happen to a human who ate a starfish.
Pop was always funny and fun to be around. You never knew what he was going to do. One of the oft-told family stories takes place, again in California, at Uncle ______ house. It seems that Pop had just finished using the bathroom and flushed the toilet. At that exact minute his dentures fell out of his mouth and got flushed. They called the plumber and he was able to rescue Pop’s false teeth. Aunt Miki sat there with great trepidation, wondering what he was going to do with his teeth now that they had been in the sewage. Pop took them to the sink, rinsed them off a bit and popped them into his mouth. For everyone who knew Pop, you know that is just the sort of thing he would do. But there is a caveat. He told me that story for the dozenth time about a year ago and asked me to tell all of you today that the joke is really on you. He said that the chances are that each and every one of you here today have, at some point, been kissed by what he coined his “potty mouth.”
Pop had that wonderfully soft, raspy voice, didn’t he? It was so soothing. I remember, as kids, he would take a small paint brush and paint imaginary pictures on our faces. He would be talking and we’d be listening to his calming voice until our eyes began to close… then he’d stick the paint brush up our nose.
Pop was always there for us – for anyone – no matter what the cost to himself. He would listen and provide his unwavering support and give wise guidance. He never failed to let us know how much he loved us and how proud he was of all we had accomplished thus far in our lives. He would always tell us how blessed he was to have us in his life. But, of course, it was we who were blessed.
Pop loved to be outside in the sun. He spent countless hours in his swimming pool – I can still envision him vacuuming it by the hour and then taking a nap in the sun on the pool deck. He was a great napper. I think he took at least one every day. In recent years two or three.
He loved to take care of his lawn. He had the greenest lawn in the neighborhood. He loved to raise his tomatoes and flowers…
He loved to take grandma to Chinese buffets. I’m pretty sure that they ate at 95% of the buffets within a 10 mile radius of their home. They went so often that many of the owners would greet them by name and maybe even give them a hug when they came in.
Pop was never one to sit idle. After he retired from his career as a sheet metal worker he started his own business selling nuts and bolts to local hardware and variety stores. At one point he even invented a special multi-function sheet metal tool and sold them to shops throughout South Jersey. He always had a creative streak. His mind was always going.
Pop and grandma were people of deep faith. They belonged here at St. Peter’s so it’s fitting that our final time with him is here. Until they were too old to do so, they were deeply involved. Pop served as a Eucharistic Minister and Lector and Prayer Group Leader. He found peace here and here he deepened his relationship with God. He loved the people and the masses and all that the church stands for.
Pop was a man who lived his faith. He would actually, sometimes, drive around Camden looking for the homeless or drive through poverty stricken areas and find people in need. He’d give them cash or take them to a McDonalds or give them food gift certificates or help them find a shelter… I’ve no doubt that he is now again with his dear Joan, his wife of ____ years, and with his savior… Heaven has gained a wonderful, colorful resident.
Pops, you were an amazing man. You were a role model to so many of us. You showed us what it means to live with joy and passion and love. You are a man we will never forget. You will always hold a place in our hearts. We will love you forever.
Eulogy for a best grandfather. Eulogy for a grandpa... Eulogy by a grandson.
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