My Grandpa was amazing to me and I will never forget him. Grandpa was always there when I needed him. He sent me letters all the time and loved to come and visit me. On my birthday he took me to Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil and I loved it. He took me, my brother Andrew and my two cousins, Cassie and Alexandra to Zion national park and was always helping us learn.
One time when he came to Las Vegas to visit me he showed me how to fix the toilet seat and the living room light. When I went to Colorado with him I always felt welcome and whenever I woke up Grandpa was already making my favorite breakfast, making sure not to add any meat.
Grampa was always doing community service and helping people out. He loved to take me to the Silverthorne Community Dinner that my Grandma held every week. He also picked up trash on the highway just to help out and one time when I came to Colorado we picked up trash on the highway for a mile and it was fun since we were doing it together.
He couldn’t have been a better influence for me. I couldn’t have asked for better Grandpa.
BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
For all the time that I can remember and the times that I don’t my Grandpa has been a very adventurous, happy and handy man who always had something cool to show me and my cousins. I remember that he always wore his neon pink bibs when we were skiing, they were so unique. We never lost track of him on the ski slope. Also, I loved when we went camping. We would always go to such cool places like Great Sand Dunes, Grand Canyon, Zion, Four Corners and Mesa Verde and have a great time.
Like when we went to the Great Sand Dunes, we accidently ripped the roof of the camper and I helped Grandpa fix it. We always had a good time camping.
We all knew my grandpa as a loving and overall happy man. We had many good memories of him and personally I have no bad memories of him. I remember when I was a toddler and laughed at him when he was dressed in his wizard outfit for Halloween. I would always be attracted to the glow up spider hanging from the top of his hat ooo.The hat was covered in shiny stars, but there was one thing about these stars. They were shiny when light shone upon them, but you could not see your reflection.
Reflections are somewhat useless and at the same time useful. They are useless because you don’t need to see yourself and it is a form of looking back. They are useful because they show how unique and beautiful you are.
I also remember a time when all the cousins would gather up and grandpa would drive us (Alex, Derek and I) to the Balloon Festival. At night we would play in the field while grandpa stayed in the motor home reading a book. He had such a love for reading. One time we were in Zion National park and there was a resting area off the side of the path. We looked over and there was grandpa reading. He traveled a lot in real life and through his books.
Him and my Grandma would travel every year more than once. They would go to Peru, Barcelona, all around America, and many other places. He did a lot for me and I realize that now more than ever. He helped me figure out problems I had in school and even helped me out with arts and crafts. One day I wanted to make a dog house for my dog with a treat dispenser. He laughed at the idea, but helped me. He drew out the places to cut on a cardboard box. His idea was to make it look like an animal.
For those that do not know me, I am James, the exact middle of this huge family. Obviously there is so much I could say about my Dad so I am going to stick to some of the little lessons he taught me such as, “If you are going to do something, don’t just do it right. Excel at it!” From his job to his community service to his family, he excelled. He always put family first. He let us each know how important we were. Sure it would have been easier to stay at work for an extra 30 minutes. He took those 30 minutes to spend with us.
His generosity was second to none. For the life I chose to live his generosity was unparalleled. He gave a great many gifts to many people, but as for myself, the greatest gift was not only him as my Father but the entire family I have! That is something I can never repay or give thanks enough for. I give thanks to my Dad for giving me everything he had in abundance.
Thank you all for being here, a lot of familiar faces. I will start off by saying that when I was younger I did speech and my Dad would take me to the Optimist Speech Competitions. More than once I was writing my speech in the car and Dad would be driving and saying, “Cutting it a little close there.” And today is no different. I wrote these memories this morning, and I have my Dad over my shoulder saying, “Cutting it a little close there.” But we’ll get through it and this is what I have to say:
Every morning I get my latte. Go to Starbucks, get my latte, head out to my aircraft, and welcome the crew. The first officer goes out and does the preflight while I sit down and start up the aircraft. At the heart of the aircraft is what is called an Inertial Reference System, its gyros and lasers start spinning up then I connect up the GPS and the airplane knows exactly where it is. Once the airplane knows where it is it can go anywhere in the world. My father, as he was to me, to my siblings and to everyone here was our Inertial Reference System. He is in our hearts every day saying, “This is up, this is down, this is left, this is right, this is where you are, and this is who you are. The world is out there.”
He demonstrated all this in a variety of ways. He demonstrated love and marriage, by being married to my Mother for 48 years, demonstrating what a marriage and partnership is meant to be: giving respect, loving each other, admiring each other, supporting each other, being there for each other, colluding with each other, and that happened. There was no greater fear than when my Dad would come home from work and my Mom would say, “Let’s go meet in the bedroom,” because you knew something not good was going to come out of that. I strive to do this in my marriage every day, but it is not easy. My parents made it look easy for 48 years. Dad exhibited how to work hard, get up early, apply yourself, do the best job possible, be honest, have integrity, treat others with respect, dedicate yourself to improving your skills making yourself more valuable, being a leader. Do this every day, and you will have success. There was no harder working man than my father.
The man retired from Excel Energy and within 48 hours decided to have another job. And it blew my mind. And that job started out with “I’m just going to go in a couple days a week.” And it grew into “now I am going in everyday, now I am the manager, now I am in charge,”
and back right where he left off when he left Public Service. And then he would come home after working so hard and have that glass of wine and grab the paper and relax in that incredible orange, that just dominated the living room, recliner and sit there and read his paper while chaos reigned. And the lesson here that we all understood was that everything was OK until my father had to put that paper down. If he had to put that paper down, run!
How to manage one’s finances:
All I am going to say here is, “Honey, if you know we have that kind of money, we wouldn’t have this money.” I think that is a lesson we all learn, we all do, I know my wife does that to me, I know there is a Swiss bank account somewhere that I don’t have access to and that’s a good thing. All I have to say is this, “Don’t invest in clothes. If you wore that shirt in college, it is still in style 20 years in the future; if you have a T-shirt and you treat it right, it will last you 10 years.”
Give back to the community:
Dad volunteered much of his time to a wide variety of causes: Optimists, this church, Dillon Valley East Homeowner’s Association, too many organizations to list – always out there, always available, always willing to give his time, and money, but time, time, time as we all know is more valuable than money. I remember coming home from school one day and my father had adopted a highway. And I thought, “When is this family going to stop adopting?” And he said, “We are all going to clean this highway together.” Basically he was saying, “I am going to take 9 kids and I am going to play in traffic on the side of the road. We are going to put on these little orange vests and hope for the best.” Some of my best memories, absolute best memories, are out there cleaning the highway. And the simple lesson we had was that by doing this, look at where you live! Look at how beautiful it is! Look at how much is given to you, and how much we benefit from growing up here! The very least you can do is go out and clean up the highway!
And one other note my Mom wanted to hear, if there was a Mr. Summit County, my Dad would have been that all the time! I could not go anywhere in this county, I still cannot go anywhere in this county without somebody knowing who my father was. No pressure!
How to be a Father:
The family was his life’s work. He wanted to be a math teacher. I could imagine my Dad being a math teacher. I have seen the high school yearbook; he had the glasses. He could have done this. But it wouldn’t have provided in a way that he wanted in order to raise a family, so he became an engineer, and that sacrifice alone allowed me, allowed my brothers, allowed my sisters, to do what we wanted to do. I didn’t have to decide or make a sacrifice on what I wanted to become. My father did that for me. We wanted for nothing. We wanted better sometimes, but we had our cars, we had our college educations, we had our skiing, our biking, our hiking and vacations all over this country. We had our home, a beautiful home, a loving home, an unconditionally loving home that was well stocked with food and warmth; we had clothes on our backs, and we had one dollar and ten cents in our pocket, because that was what our allowance was, and the 10 cents was to go into the offering plate, because we had to give 10% of our salary. That was the lesson, so I am glad he funded that for me, because with a dollar, that goes a long way.
But above all his never ending support and encouragement and love, he was very proud of all of us and would do anything for us. And in the last few years, he was especially proud of my brother Reuben; he was proud of the father he became, he was proud of the man you have become Rueben, do not ever forget that. During the odd 40 years of my life, there was never a time that I did not look to my father for guidance; how to work, how to love, how to live, how to be a husband, how to be a father, how to be a man, how to be a human being. The guidance I received was very rarely in words of advice or encouragement. It was always, always by example, by how he lived his life every day, from the beginning of his life to the day he died. Now I am not my father. There have been many times I have come up short, where I have failed to meet the ideals that my father has set. But it is striving to be a better person, striving to meet my father’s standards, that’s what makes me, makes us better. It is never in the destination; it is always the journey that makes life great. We have all been living in the shadow of a very great man. And now his journey is done, his life is complete, but his shadow will always be there. So stand, stand up, stand in the sun and cast your shadow out onto this world. Be the living breathing example of what a good, decent, kind, caring, giving, loving human being is and can be. Do this for yourself, do this for your family, do this for the community, do this for the world. Because people like my Father are what are so desperately needed, and it is people like my Father that make all the difference.
I am Rebecca, the eldest of all the children. As you know we have a very large family and I would just have to say about my dad, as you all know, is that no matter where you came from, your background, your capability or incapability, he was always there to support you and to bring you up. He always did this without any judgement and he wanted to make sure you could survive on your own two feet. So he wasn’t there to help you and take over he was there to help you and support you and make sure you could get there and then excel on your own and take care of yourself.
One of my fondest memories of my dad is a funny little story of when Matthew and I decided one summer, well we had been planning, to go travel abroad. Matthew was going to Russia and Rachel and I were going to Peru. Matthew was 18 and Rachel and I were 17 and 21 so we were pretty young to be going off for a month by ourselves so my dad went and got a passport. I said “Dad, why are you getting a passport?” He says, “well, if something happens to you I have to be able to come get you.” And so when I got a call from my brother Jonathan and he said to me “Rebecca you have to go to Barcelona!” Thank goodness I had my passport ready! Because I had to go get my dad and help bring him home.
For all this talk in today’s service about love, it’s not only true about my dad and the love he had for his family and community but it was unconditional love. The same thing for my
mother too, and as a team they are the epitome of unconditional love and showing it to the whole world.