My Dad's funeral was today. This was the eulogy that I gave him at the lecturn that he preached from for so many years.
My Dad wasn’t a perfect man. But his flaws were small ones. He could never open a box of cereal the right way. Give him 10 boxes of cereal and all 10 would look like they were attacked by an angry bear, a confused lion and a team of squirrels. Dad had so much love for animals, he refused to kill bugs, but after he picked them up, he would accidentally lose them 100% of the time before he dropped them outside. But he was perfect where it counted. He spent his entire life helping others. Every job he ever had involved counseling, teaching or helping people. Because of this, Dad never became a rich man. But money was never important to him. His family, his faith and helping the less fortunate were his loves and his passions.
Put Dad in a room full of 100 famous people and 1 poor, lonely person and Dad would choose to take to the lonely person in need. Each week, he would visit the sick, the lonely and those in need. Each holiday, we would have to wait for him as he delivered some food to a family in need. He didn’t do it to receive praise. He did it because it was the right thing to do. My Dad had tremendous faith. He was everything that is good about the Catholic Church. When people say do as Jesus would do, that’s Dad. He did as Jesus would do.
His Church family was very important to him. All the parishioners at St. Charles were his second family. He loved you. Dad was adopted and had a wonderful Mother, Jane who took wonderful care of him. To those of you that are here from my Mom’s side of the family, you were very important to him. Dad had a very small and wonderful family and when he married my Mom, you all took him in and made him feel at home. Right now, I picture the first person greeting him in heaven to be Auntie Taula. I imagine her saying “Hey Jim! I got you a good table of here where you can meet everybody!” I imagine him seeing Auntie Anna, Catherine, Louise, Theresa, Al, Lina, both Uncle Tonys, Uncle Bob, my sweet & kind Grandfather Phil and everyone in heaven and feeling right at home. And meeting his best friend Fr. Boulton once again. That would be very special to him.
My Dad told me every single day that he loved me. He always told my Mom, my sisters and I how much he loved us. We are at peace knowing that he knew he was loved. The past several years had been very difficult for my Dad. Dementia is an evil beast. I choose not to remember my Dad as he was at the end, but how he was in his prime.
I have been blessed with a speaking voice that sounds like Jim’s. He gave sermons and preached so many times from this lectern. I’d like to end my eulogy by asking you to continue my Dad’s work. How? It’s very simple. Care for those who need help.
31 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’