Here is a copy of my eulogy for Dad's funeral. I'm sure I said some thing differently but this is the draft I was going off of. Thank you all for your positive comments and thoughts on it, I hope that Dad is proud.
"Thank you all so much for being
here. When I started thinking about giving a speech today I was unsure if I
could do it. We’re all just in so much shock at loosing such a healthy man who
was so full of life. So why am I speaking today? Well, aside from wanting to
show my love and deep respect for my father I also picture him looking down
thinking “I paid for four years of college for your Communication degree, you
better be giving a speech at my funeral”
Also, they say that more people
are afraid of public speaking than of death. I disagree, but when you combine
the two it can be a little terrifying.
My family and I are all so
grateful that we were all able to be there for him and share our love with him.
I flew home from Denver on Easter and that night my dad fought for the energy
he had left to pull down his oxygen mask and whisper “I love you”. I’ve always
known this, he’s always known I love him, but for us to be able to say that to
each other was truly a gift. A gift even more so for the fact that the very
next day he was no longer able to communicate with us through speech.
Dad was such a strong man and
never wanted anyone to worry about him. I know when he started getting chemo he
tried to inform me with a tweet. It’s classic Dad, wanting to downplay the
situation as much as possible by using 140 characters and saying it’s no big
The night before he passed that
strength remained. As he lay in the ICU, machines beeping and the situation
grim, us getting ready to transfer him to hospice, my mom asked him if he was
scared, he slowly shook his head “No” The next morning, as the rain fell and
the crisp air filled his room in hospice he quietly passed away. Even in the end
he never wanted us to worry.
1)Enjoy the small things
was a hard worker. On the weekends he always had multiple projects going on in
his workshop and out on the farm. Yet he always took the time to stop and enjoy
the small things. He had books in his truck so he could look up the various
plants and birds he saw while he was outside working. We would always stop and
enjoy a mountain dew at 3pm on the weekends and if it was a Sunday we would
sometimes sit in his truck and listen to “The News from Lake Woebegone”.
2)Share and pass on your passions
would always show us his new projects he was working on. I know that when we
were little he would encourage us with his hobbies. I know with me I was
probably only 7 when he placed a camera in my hand.
used his woodworking skills to make all of us little toys and we absolutely
adored them. We not only adored them but we reciprocated. For Christmas when I
was little I gave him a Merry X-mas sign I had hand carved with a chisel. It
originally was going to be “Merry Christmas” but I soon found out that
Christmas is a very long word. Quinn learned wood burning from him to write messages
to day in scraps of wood. Hollis drew a picture of a sheep on a piece of week
and used wood shavings for the wool.
3) Never stop learning
already mentioned his books that he keeps in his pickup so he can identify and
learn the birds and plants he encountered. Learning was a key part of Dad’s
identity. I’ve never met another person who had such a wide extent of reading
materials at one time. It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to have a book on
woodworking, a manual for his John Deere, and a biography on Crazy Horse
sitting by his chair downstairs.
Not only did he teach us to keep
learning but he showed us how wonderful it is to have varied interests. When he
passed I looked for little activities to do to sit and think about him. I
discovered that I already do read a lot and write a lot and listen to “Car
Talk”. Dad is so much a part of me, a part of all of my family, that we have
already been doing the things that dad loves, because he was a cool guy and
liked cool stuff.
He lives on through his writing.
He has left such a legacy to us all. It is clear from the support we have and
continue to receive that he made a large impact on everyone. It is beautiful to
see his coworkers and the journalism community here and wonderful to hear
stories about Dad in his work environment.
I know my siblings and I could not have asked for a better
Dad and thank him so much for all he has taught us.
I’ll miss you Dad, I love you. We
all love you so much. And please excuse any grammatical errors I may have made
in this speech, my usual editor, Jim Pollock, was out of the office and unable
to get me a corrected version in time.
I’ll end with a quick quote that
I love from Dad that summed up his thoughts on his life in journalism, ““It’s a
big, bizarre world, but at least you get to watch from close up.”