JCL Blog

Remembering My Dad

Enough people have asked for the text of my eulogy of my dad that I thought I would post it here.  He was the most amazing guy and we all miss him so much.

The three things I want to remember most about my dad are the way he met people where they were, the example he set, and the way he never moved from where he was.

Weddings were one of dad’s favorite things. In keeping with his enthusiastic outlook on life, he performed a lot of weddings.  I suspect many of you have attended his weddings or are among the 1,100 people he married.  He told me that he liked weddings because it gave him the chance to meet new people.  His churches always grew because of his interest in people and his ability to connect with them.  I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting many of the people that he influenced, and often a wedding was involved. 

Just last year my dad performed one of his last weddings, this one for Lindsey and me.  It was a very special occasion for many reasons but the reason I am telling this story is that dad accepted me for who I was and Lindsey for who she was and then delivered a message that resonated so much that the people in attendance still talk about it. 

He had a way of taking a thought with multiple parts and layers and putting a handle on it – so we could easily bring it with us through life.  That day the handle was the word “Anyway.”  In spite of our shortcomings and hardships he wanted us to love each other “Anyway.”  It was perfect.

His genuine interest in each person he met could be felt in his warm smile, sparkling eyes, and enthusiastic embrace.  He really wanted to know you and you knew it. My dad met people where they were.

My dad shaped my life in so many ways.  He loved telling me about his first car, a Model A Ford, so I loved cars.  He loved the University of Washington, so I went there.  He was an Alpha Delt, so I became an Alpha Delt.  He was a Rotarian and so I am a Rotarian. 

There were elements of my dad that were not as easy to follow.  He was a great speaker, cared deeply about the people around him, he worked hard, and he dedicated his whole life to his faith.  I start every day with the hope that I can one day do those things too.

Life continuously reminds me of my good fortune to have my dad’s example to follow.  He and my mom were deeply in love and were married for 53 years and my dad wanted Lindsey and me to have that too. I have two amazing daughters who have given me a great appreciation for the demands of parenting.  I often find myself in situations that require me to say things without the time to think or plan, but the words come out of my mouth and I think… that is something that my dad would say.  And it always sounded better than what I would have said if I had had the time to really think about it. He led by example and I am very lucky to have his example to follow.

Growing up it was a challenge to encounter my dad’s unwavering faith.  My dad had so much confidence in his faith, and he had thought so much about it, and he dedicated his life to it.  I was not in any position to meet him in that place.  Now I am glad that my dad’s faith was immovable; that he never moved from where he was.

I will forever marvel at my dad’s ability to simultaneously pursue his interest in people, to meet them where they were, to make them feel special because he was so eager to know them, all the while not diluting or even disguising his beliefs or values.  He loved us all “Anyway.”

God watched over dad for each of his 79 years, all over the world, and through all kinds of situations where he could have been harmed.  Dad never got a scratch.  Then one week ago, God sent an angel down and whisked dad away.  I have never been so sure that my dad’s example was true, and even though he is no longer among us, I will do my best to follow him “Anyway.”

For a video of the complete service, click here.