Monday, May 30, 2005

My Father

My Father

This is a copy of the Eulology I wrote for my father who died two years ago today. I thought I would copy it here.
In Dad's own words:
"I suppose you're all wondering why I called this meeting."
They say you can tell a lot about a person's life by how they die. Dad died holding the hand of loving wife, surrounded by a family who loves him beyond what words can say.
"Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking," Let me try to put some of this love into words so you can learn more about the man, Frank S***** or W***.
Dad had a fighting spirit. 12 years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time of his diagnosis, he was given 6 months to live. Well, that wasn't good enough for Dad. He learned quickly about cancer, becoming an expert and then sharing what he learned with his Doctors and others who also had cancer. The cancer opened him to sharing himself more freely. He showed his love a little more freely to his wife, 12 children, 30 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Not once did his humor leave him. In the hospital last week, Dad was still telling jokes, faking a heart attack, and making us laugh. His humor is a trait that he passed to his children. I know I cherish this trait.
I'd like to share a few of the values he taught his children:
Humility. Dad was humble about everything. He did nothing "extraordinary" in his mind. He shared his knowledge and talents generously. He helped people. He used his humor to divert attention from the praise heaped upon him.
Commitment. 55 years of marriage. That is a commitment! Providing for 12 children, that is a commitment. Being a husband, father, grandfather, and gros-pop sure takes a commitment. He wasn't perfect, but he did more than what was expected. I didn't grow up with everything I wanted, but I grew up with everything I needed. After all, "the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." That he did! �and we love you too, Mom.
Love: Dad allowed everyone to be who he or she wanted to be. His love was unconditional. You could go to church or not go to church. Be a Ham or not be a Ham. It didn't change his love for you. He and Mom only wanted their children to be truly happy.
He was proud of all his children and grand children and supported them in everyway. In academic studies, sports, music, or scouts (2 are eagle scouts). 5 grandchildren have served our country in the military, one currently in Okinawa, and one in Kuwait.
His faith was strong. For as long as I can remember, Dad has gone on a yearly retreat. (A silent retreat at that!) Actually, he attended this retreat for 45 years. He always asked his sons to join him. He wanted to share his deep faith with his children. I never went to the retreats with Dad, but I always liked to hear about it and see the glow in his eyes afterwards. If you've have been around him when he was very excited about something, you recognize that glow.

Service: It's been awhile since Dad was on a School Board or helping with the Parrish Festival. He's been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1954, a charter member. Perhaps most significant in his service to the Church was Dad's support of mom's involvement in the church. Active in the bereavement committee, CCD, and bible study, Mom enthusiastically participated. She was able to do this while many of his children were attending St. Chris. Dad's support of mom is a significant gift he gave to the church.
Indeed, he was proud of Mom (or Old What's Her Name) and the service she provided.
And we thank you Mom, for your loyal dedication to all of Dad's endeavors and for tolerating, as difficult as it was, all the "uncouth practices" he taught your grandchildren.

Strength: Dad was strong. Being in the navy required this. Being the father of 12 children required this. Being a successful businessman required this. He had strong control of his emotions. Still waters run deep. This strong control truly showed that he loved deeply. His deep love showed itself at the loss of his parents, brothers and close friends. These were the only times we saw Dad cry. This is a man who loved entirely and so completely that he cried deeply. I am moved by the memories.
Dad passed on to his children his strong work ethic. "A good days work for a day's pay." All of us have it, Dad. We hope to do you proud.
His fighting spirit will always be with us. Dad has moved to a higher place and he will always be accessible in our hearts. What legacy did he left behind? Look around you. This man has touched each of you. I hope you'll all pass that love to someone you come in contact with, everyday. Thank you for coming to celebrate the life of my Dad.
I'll end in Dad's words, "I'm glad you got to see me. Carry on."

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