My dad passed on March 6th and this is the eulogy that I wrote and read at his funeral Mass. I am numb.
My family would like to thank all of you for coming today to help us celebrate our Dad’s life. Throughout his life, he was so many things to all of us. He was a son to William and Kathryn and a brother to Dick, Frank and Bill and his two sisters Sis and Diana.
He was Daddy to Kathy, Patsy, Gene and myself and Dad to Don, Jerome, Alan and Judy.
He was Grandpop to Donnie, Jason, Justin and Jerome, Tommy and Katie, Laura and Sean and Ashley, Seth and Patrick. To his two great grand children, Sadie Jo and Dominic, he was Pop Pop. And of course, he was Uncle Gene to all of our wonderful, loving cousins and their children.
Daddy was so very proud of the years he served our country as a Sailor in the United States Navy and he was always wearing his Navy cap or Navy sweat shirt. Two of his children followed his footsteps into the Navy, three of his grandson’s entered the Armed Services and one was awarded the Purple Heart in Iraq.
Daddy was also the Assistant Scout Master for St. Anastasia and Don Guanella and one of his grandsons is an Eagle Scout.
Daddy was the first Marple Police officer who was required to take the Civil Service exam for employment. He was proud of the many years he was a Marple Police Officer and he kept the streets of his beloved Broomall safe from thieves, speeders and the occasional long-haired hippie on his way to Woodstock.
Now, as the children of a Marple Police Officer, we enjoyed some additional perks, like free entry to Lawrence Park movie theatre, a free membership to Paxon Hollow Swim Club and the endless bags of chocolate chip cookies and cancelled wedding cakes from the local bakery.. Dad would occasionally drive us to church or school in the police car, but we were told not to say, “Goodbye, Daddy” when we got out of the car because, apparently, carting your large family around in the police car was against regulations.
Oh, one other thing about the police, we are so proud that two pictures of Dad with his fellow officers are hanging up in Thunderbird Restaurant – third booth on the right – so if you want to visit him and enjoy a cheese steak and hoist a black and white milk shake in his honor, please stop in there any time.
Daddy took great comfort in his faith and he loved St. Anastasia parish. Mom and Dad were married here and all of us were baptized and educated here because of how much they loved St. Annies.
For a very long time, Mom and Dad went to Mass every single day and prayed for all of us. We grew up going to Mass every Sunday, saying the rosary around the kitchen table once a week and going to Confession on Saturday night (where he would always say I hoped you packed a lunch – you’re gonna be in there awhile).
and then we’d all go up to Mackies Soda Fountain and get mint chocolate chip ice cream cones.
Daddy loved country western music and we recently found out that his favorite singer was Lefty Frizzel. Who the heck is Lefty Frizzel, you’re saying to yourself?? I googled him yesterday and I read that his big hits were, IF YOU’VE GOT THE MONEY, I HAVE THE TIME, WATERMELON TIME IN GEORGIA, GATOR HOLLOW, and now my personal favorite, “Shine, Shave, Shower (It’s Saturday).
…and by the way, not even Tim McGraw could wear a pair of cowboy boots or a black cowboy hat like our Dad could. As a matter of fact, I think you’ll all agree that Dad was a pretty snazzy dresser.
Daddy was truly THE funniest man I’ve ever known. He was Bill Cosby, Don Knotts, Archie Bunker, Benny Hill and Sid Caesar all rolled up into one man. He would walk into the back of the room wearing a sombrero and doing the Lorezo stomp and just wait for someone to notice him. He delivered the punch lines to his jokes like a seasoned comedienne. He introduced us to Bill Cosby’s first comedy album and he taught us how to make someone smile when they were sad. Even on his last day here on earth, we were all able to smile about the horrified expression on the face of his roommate as all 18 of us switched shifts and held watch with Mom.
But above all this, above all the roles he played during his life, our Dad was a husband to our most wonderful mom. He was her Knight in Shining Armor who rescued her after she grew up in a Catholic Orphanage. He was her co-parent, her dance partner, her alarm clock, her barista, her chauffeur, her rock, her prayer partner, her best friend and her life-long love. Although, it became pretty rough these last few months, our mom never left his side and watching her was a true lesson in love and faith in God.
So, Daddy, We all just want to say to you today, a few lines written by Dale Evans
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.
So, Happy trails to you, Daddy… ’till we meet again. You were my hero and We Love You Very Much.