Last night we held my great-grandfather’s memorial service. Here’s his obituary.

He made it to 101. I got to officiate the service, though his Catholic funeral will be held this morning.

We had time for members of the family and community to express their fond memories, but I asked especially for stories of Grandfather’s service to others after a reading from Mark 10. He had a tendency to keep his service to others quiet. A legend even circulated in my youth, that turned out to be true, that he gave land to the school system, but didn’t want the school named after him so he deeded it to a friend in secret so that he wouldn’t be named. His friend spilled the beans, but it was a noble effort.

  1. Grandfather helped my aunt by caring for my cousin and taught him how to care for the homeless.
  2. He and Grandmother always invited the town never-do-wells to dinner. Thus everybody in the family remembers strangers at holiday dinners and lunches.
  3. He fastidiously opposed all television except for the news and the discovery channel because “it’ll rot your brain.”
  4. He let “an old wino be buried on the family plot because he died with nobody.”
  5. He did a tremendous amount of pro-bono legal work for the poor.
  6. He fought in WWII.
  7. He “never left a place without making it better.” Examples: always took a trash bag or a bucket and picked up garbage. Would often bring a rake, mower, and/or shovel and clean up various properties and teach grand kids to do the same.
  8. Also, not so much service as hilarious, if you didn’t finish your dinner he would cook it into your pancakes the following morning to make sure you ate all your food.

There were many more stories, but these stick out in my mind.

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