As it’s coming near to my dad’s Veteran’s burial, I’d like to share my eulogy from my dad’s funeral back in January. I want people to know what a kind, gracious person he was.
My name is Sarah and I want to thank everyone for being here. My dad has some pretty amazing friends and family in his life, and for that I am very grateful. He loved each and every one of you.
I credit my dad for planting the seed of my faith, and helping it grow. When I was really young, he would bring me to church with him. Sometimes I would cry during children’s bible class, and he would pick me up and let me sit with him at the adult’s worship service. He bought me my first bible and we would read it together every Sunday morning. He eventually got involved in a bible study group, where I would go to their meetings. I decided I wanted to be baptized, and soon enough my dad baptized me in his friend’s pool. So when I told him that my oldest daughter was to be baptized, he knew he had to be there for it because it was very important. He and my mom made the 9 hour drive to our home, less than a year ago to witness Sydnee’s baptism.
My dad and I had a special relationship. I joke with family and friends that he wanted me to be a boy. I was his buddy and I did everything with him as a kid. We would reload bullets together. He taught me how to shoot a gun, while making sure I knew gun safety. I can’t count how many times he would take me shooting in the desert in Vegas. We took karate classes together. When I told my dad that I karate kicked a boy at school after he grabbed me from behind, he said ‘That’s my girl’ and couldn’t be more proud.
My dad went to every soccer practice and games. After every game, we would stop and get donuts and slurpees. One particular day, after a soccer game, we came home to see my sister sunbathing in the grass in the backyard. My dad told me ‘watch this’ with a sly smile, as he turned on all the sprinklers. We watched and laughed while my sister screamed and ran.
He and I picked out fish for my new fish tank he put together for me. Those pets didn’t last long. He later found someone that would take the extra goldfish we no longer wanted. He could have just flushed them down the toilet (like I would probably do now as a parent) but I remember taking the fish to his friends house, who had a large fish tank, to give them a new home. As I grew older, our new hobby was riding roller coasters. We would drive to Stateline, NV to ride one of the tallest roller coasters. We would be climbing to the top and he would say ‘Hey look down there, its Ken and Barbie in the hotel pool!’
He taught me how to change the oil in the car. I helped him change the spark plugs a few times because he needed my small hands to get to the plugs. My dad loved working with his hands. All these times with my dad sparked my interest in becoming an engineer and designer. At one time, I worked in the engineering department of the gas company where he worked as a technician. He would always make a point to stop by and see me.
Dad loved the outdoors, specifically the mountains. We went hiking almost every weekend it seemed as a kid. On one particular hike, I remember complaining that I wanted to stop and not go any further, and he stopped, looked up at the trees and said “Look at all these wonderful trees. Smell the fresh clean air. This is happiness!” Being in the woods soothed his soul. We have been camping all over Nevada. Our favorite camping spot was Cave Lake. We fished, hiked, made smores, and relaxed. Those were my favorite vacations.
When I started dating, whenever boys came over to the house, first thing he would do is show them his gun collection and where he reloaded his bullets. I would roll my eyes and say ‘Oh dad, not again’. At my wedding, part of his speech included him saying ‘I showed Sarah’s boyfriends my gun collection, but Dusty was the only one that stuck around. That’s a man’s man’. He later took dusty to buy his first gun. Dad was so proud of his son in laws, and treated them like his own sons.
I want to share some memories that others have shared with me:
My bridesmaid -I remember consoling your dad before your wedding. He was so excited and happy for his little girl, but full of nerves. He loved you so much.
My friend -I remember when you and Dusty first started dating, he would have Dusty come talk to him in the garage while he made bullets. Dusty told me he didn’t realize it if your dad was trying to intimidate him; he just thought he really liked bullets.
My husband’s sister -My fun memory of your dad was at your wedding reception. My own husband wouldn’t dance with me, but your dad did. Love him!
My best friend growing up-I keep thinking about our trip to Wyoming, him driving listening to his music (Little red riding hood by Steppenwolf) and spike (our dog) in the middle howling along. I remember his deep voice and his kind smile. I remember him always watching history shows and talking politics
A former boyfriend-I remember the time when I first came over and the first thing he did was show me his gun. I couldn’t tell if he was genuinely just showing me his gun because he was excited about it or trying to intimidate me. (See, it was true! He showed every boy that came over)
My cousin -Uncle Steve changed my life. I am a believer of God because of my uncle Steve.
My father in law -Once in a while we run into someone who’s a quiet gentle kind of Giant with a kind weathered face and the kind heart. Fortunately this kind of a person was a father-in-law to my son which made us both father-in-law’s, I was honored to know him.
My dad loved my mom unconditionally. There was never a moment that he didn’t want to live life without her. She was his rock. While visiting Tombstone, AZ, one of his favorite movies and places of all time, he bought a trench coat and outfit like Wyatt Earp in the movie. He realized he made a really big purchase without telling my mom. He was so nervous that my mom would be mad, that he spent all that money on just an outfit. My mom didn’t mind. She knew how much he loved tombstone. My dad would tell his friends ‘Why have hamburger, when you can have filet minon at home?!’ My dad was a quiet man, and during these last months, while my mom and dad would be in the car running errands, he would quietly put his hand on her leg, as if to say ‘I love you, you mean the world to me’.
I loved talking to my dad. I called him at least once a week. I loved hearing his stories and I loved making him laugh. He always ended the call telling me he loved me.
My dad had so many friends, that he truly cherished. Each and every friend that I have talked to, from his Vegas friends, to his friends at the gun club, have all said what a good, respected man he was. I am proud to call him my dad. I know that he is with our Heavenly Father and reunited with his family. I can see him hiking in the mountains, with his fishing hat on, and a walking stick. Smiling and at peace.
Miss you so much Dad. There’s not a day that goes by without thinking of you.