Site Name

My Father

Attempted to read this at my fathers funeral. I didn’t do a great job

My family’s not big on public speaking but after a one quiet funeral Dad asked me if I’d say something when he went. I hope this would make him smile.

My Father was the toughest man I ever knew. My father was also the most joyful. He ran 29 Boston marathons and had usually put in miles on his shoes before anyone was awake. But I remember a man that always encouraged me to skip with him down the side walk and whistle all the way. It never mattered who was watching.

My father worked all his life. He was proud of his work and it was part of who he was. But I remember him hurrying home to not miss dinner. Patiently reading through the Dr. Doolittle book series to put me to bed. Choosing to drive old, cheap fords while everyone in the family got better cars.

I think you spend your late teens trying to show you’re different than your parents. You discover in your twenties all the ways you are your parents. Then in your thirties you start to hope you can live up to what they were. My son Benjamin makes an ugly face when he grimaces. It makes me smile because I knew his dad and his grandpa made the same face. I’ll apologize to Benjamin later when his hairline goes the same way.

My father and I got to have a few adventures after high school. We once walked right into a hailstorm on top of a mountain in Montana but came down laughing. We road tripped from Louisville to Seattle barely stopping to sleep. We almost ran out of gas in the plains but got to see old faithful and the sunset behind the Tetons. We never got to hike across Isle Royale but he walks with me on every journey.

My dad collapsed from his first tumor during an Iron man triathlon. Triathlons seemed to have been his version of retiring. When he came out of the coma was the first time I saw him cry. He referred to my Mom as his angel who saved him My mom was more than that for the next twelve years. Though they both fought till the end it was hard seeing the man I remembered as a dependent, as a prisoner of his own body. So while I was sad when I got the news Tuesday morning part of me smiled. I knew the tough fight was over and my joyful father was free.


Also for posterity my father’s obituary and a letter he wrote me when I was 2