An Eulogy For My Father

Just Thinking…..

I am a retired speech teacher. One of the speech assignments my students did every year was give an eulogy. The textbook presented the eulogy as a speech of identification and magnification. This special occasions type of speech was to pull people together and identify them as a group, and then was to magnify certain traits.

My students usually did well on this speech, but for some it was difficult. Some would choose to eulogize someone who was still alive, some chose a person who had died long ago, but some chose one whose death was still recent and raw in their emotional memory.

I felt somewhat like a hypocrite. I had never actually given an eulogy for real. Then I wrote one for my mother in law, and delivered it when she died. I tried to think of points like her love for nature, and for being frugal, and her many kindnesses. I quoted Robert Frost, her favorite poet. And it worked.

Then my father died two weeks ago. No one pressured me to give an eulogy, but I knew that I wanted to say some last words. I wanted to identify us all as family and friends. I wanted to magnify certain traits.

The speech was actually easier to write than I thought it would be. I liked the second draft, and it was within my self imposed two minute limit. I printed it and went to the church for the funeral.

But part way through the funeral ceremony, another thought came to me, and I did a quick revision. And then I gave the eulogy.



“Eleven Things You Might Not Know About My Father….

And Two Things You Have Known All Along.”

11 things you might not know about my dad:

1. When ordering at a restaurant, he would usually order the fish, and especially liked lutefisk.
2. He used to clip lilacs and pin them onto our dresses.
3. He graduated as salutatorian and wanted to become a math teacher.
4. He wanted to go to Peru on a mission trip.
5. He played the trombone.
6. He loved dogs, especially one named Tippy.
7. Our house was filled with books because he loved to read.
8. When he butchered a whole hog for pit bbq, he cooled the meat down in the bathtub.
9. He loved to make fried potatoes.
10. He knew that duct tape and baling wire fixed almost anything.
11. He wanted to marry my mother one year to the day after he returned to American soil from being in WW2. And the ferns at the front of the church were actually ferns that were a part of their wedding!

2 things you probably have known about my dad all along: graciousness and grace.

1. He taught us graciousness. When you came to the door, he would invite you in by saying, “Come on in and make yourself homely.” When you left, he would say, “Take your time a going, but hurry back.” And he would walk you to the car, poke his head through the opened window to say goodbye, and then stand, waving, as you drove up the lane. Their home was always filled with company: family, friends, neighbors. Dad made sure we practiced hospitality, treated others with respect, and minded our manners. Learning graciousness from my dad insured us of a smoother life with our fellow man.

2. He taught us grace. While graciousness secured relationships with others, grace secured our relationship with God. He taught us about God’s grace in both word and deed. We saw Dad read his Bible. We all went to church as a family. This was not a once in a while thing just in case nothing better came along. Worship was real to Dad. He sang, sometimes loudly and off key, about grace. And we saw it in action as he forgave us for our misdeeds, just as God had forgiven him. Learning grace from my dad insured us that we would understand God better.

I was indeed blessed.

Father, Thank You for my dad. Thank You for the many years we had together; it is a precious gift. Amen

To God Be The Glory…..


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. He sounds like he was a wonderful person. I look forward to meeting him some day in Heaven. 🙂

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