My Dad’s life will not be chronicled in history books. His name will not be mentioned in middle school classrooms around the nation as a great man in history. There will be no statues in his honor, or streets named after him. But my Dad was a great man. His life was worthwhile, meaningful, and impactful, and his passing leaves a void in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.
When I think of what makes a great man, some key things come to mind. Honesty, integrity, compassion, empathy, the ability and desire to teach, and a commitment to making those around him happier, better people. This is what my Dad was to me. He challenged me to be a better person, and he helped us all in many ways to make the most of our lives.
Over the years, my dad touched those around him in many ways. He always wanted to make everyone around him happy. He wanted each moment to be a memorable one, no matter how mundane or routine. He liked to make memories. My Dad was always getting people together, whether it was a day of golf before a wedding, meeting for breakfast after a family reunion, he was always the last one there, making sure everyone else had what they needed, and were enjoying themselves. My Dad was always surrounded by people having fun and enjoying life. Growing up with my dad, this was one of the things that, to me, made him larger than life.
I hope that I am the type of father to my kids that my Dad was to me. He was there for me, no matter what. He once drove for four and a half hours to OshKosh Wisconsin and sat in a bone-chilling downpour to watch me play football. I wasn’t a starter, and I didn’t play a lot, but if his kid was doing something, then he was going to be there no matter what. My dad was always there, always telling us he was proud of us. He was there for everything, graduations, cheerleading competitions, Saturday morning football games in another state, weddings, birthdays. If it was important to you, then it was important to him.
My Dad was always there to dispense words of wisdom and useful advice, sometimes even when you didn’t ask for it! He has touched not only my life, but many of yours as well. He went by many names, Dad, Timmy, Unc, and Grandpa, and he was always there for whoever needed him. Whether it was advice on parenting, marriage, finances, or work, he always wanted to share a helpful opinion. I didn’t always appreciate it at the time, but later when I looked back, he always seemed to be right somehow. His advice was always sound and useful. One of the many things I am going to miss is being able to pick up the phone and call my dad to ask “Hey dad, what do you think about this….”
The world has lost a great man, one that made a difference to all of us. My Dad leaves a legacy of laughter and happiness, and he would want us to celebrate his life and remember what he shared with us. I know there will be difficult times and sadness as we deal with his sudden loss, but the one thing I know about my Dad is that he would want us to celebrate the memories we have of him, and the good times we had together.
So Dad, I just want to say “thanks” and “I Love You” and save me a spot at the first tee on that golf course in heaven.
This was the Eulogy I wrote and delivered on April 16th, 2007….