Earlier this week, we celebrated the life of my dear father-in-law, who was recently taken by Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. At his funeral, my husband courageously gave the eulogy. With his permission, I’m posting his lovingly chosen words for family and friends who could not be there, and so that we can all pause to remember what an incredible man he was.
My father was a patient, giving, and dependable rock of a human being. He did more with slivers of fortune than most men could do with a mountain of gold, yet his humility kept him well grounded. His hand was ever open to the people whom he saw promise in and while occasionally his goodwill was taken advantage of, he never let it cause him to lose faith in the possibility of fruitful enterprise. He had the uncanny ability to see a future that most others would throw their arms up at and lose faith in. I should know…I was one of those futures.
He worked hard. You could say to a fault, but the world in which his loved ones live is radiantly green because of this ethic. He slept in, but he stayed late. He knew the details of every single investment he had going at any given time and his execution of entering into and exiting from their folds was flawless…well, a good 95% flawless….let’s say 90…but that 90 most often resulted in windfall.
He had an incredible staff that was always in tune with his business sense. Some have been around for a long time and some are more recently added, but all that have shared his business vision have given themselves 120%. And not because he demanded it, but because he warranted it. His own commitment to excellence brought out the best of the people who worked alongside him.
He loved adventure. He loved to ski in water and on snow; scuba dive and snorkel; drive fast cars and boats; lay out in the sun with nothing but butter to protect him from the rays of the sun. Wherever he has gone on to, I am pretty sure there is a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic SPF2 tanning oil in his closet. He drove Corvettes, Porches, Ferraris…Buick Estate Wagons. He would fly to exotic locations like Hawaii, Maui, Oahu…
He cherished his friends. He kept his inner circle small because he knew exactly with whom he felt the most joy and with whom he could trust his life and personal moments. Those of you who are here today will miss him, I know, but he will remain with you…he will continue to laugh with you and cry with you and enjoy life as long as you do.
He loved two very distinct women in his life. His first wife gave him five children and the balance that he needed as he found financial success in his hard, hard work. She raised me and my sisters and nurtured us and gave him the ability to focus on our future. His second wife helped him to find joy in unity again just earlier this decade and helped him to find the strength needed to face his body’s last fight. Two amazing women; each helping him to find happiness and strength in this often turbulent existence.
His children, while each completely unique from one another, all seem to be founded on his most important qualities: loyalty, generosity, humility and patience. And it seems quite clear to me that we are passing those qualities on to our children as well. A legacy that I believe makes us richer than any amount of material fortune ever could.
The culprit that took him before his prime was Pulmonary Fibrosis; a disease that bookended his life by taking his mother when he was only 13 and his brother, Robert, just earlier this decade. Maybe it was his familiarity with it that caused him to face it with the strength and stoic determination that he did. Right to the last two weeks of his life, he had his visitors convinced that they would see him well into 2010. I saw him as often as anyone who lived outside of his home saw him and I have to tell you…there is no way for a man to behave more courageously, more dignified, more resolute than my father did. Simply put, he was a rock of a human being.