Best Man

My Grandpa passed away a few weeks ago; we laid him to rest as a family and then this past weekend his loving wife (of 62 years!) hosted a public memorial in his honor. I still can’t believe he’s gone.

Often, it feels like the women of our family direct this crazy circus (we do tend to monopolize the spotlight), but watching these upstanding men carry our beloved patriarch to his final resting place reminded me that we’ve been blessed with our own league of extraordinary gentleman to earnestly man the helm and preserve Gramps’ legacy.

Here’s what I shared at his service:

By a show of hands, how many of you believe you were Gramps’ favorite? Don’t be shy, I’m making a point here. Favorite grandchild, great-grandchild? Favorite sister? Favorite niece? Favorite Aunt? Go ahead and raise ’em.

Amazing. Guess what? You’re all right.

Whenever you were with Gramps you KNEW you were his favorite… His eyes would sparkle, and his cheeks would crinkle just above his beard, and you knew you were precious and adored.

Each time I saw him he greeted me with a great bear hug (patiently endured a good-natured suspender snap) and asked simply, “How’s my sweetheart?” Even into adulthood!

And I heard him say it to all of you, too– even the boys! But it’s fine, he had plenty of love to go ’round. He had a gift.

He wasn’t showy or loud about his affection, he was generous and selfless with his love. He was present, attentive, and always in our corner. Every weekend and holiday centered around family; every vacation had a standing open invitation for anyone to tag along. He shared his wide array of hobbies with anyone who showed an interest, and if you REALLY wanted to get a smile out of him all you had to do was boast of your latest bargain. (Gramps LOVED a good deal.)

There were actually times when I wondered if Gramps was TOO generous… too forgiving… too patient… but it wasn’t weakness– it was evidence of his virtuous character.

He was strong, but he was a gentleman, and he passed into eternity in the same manner with which he lived each day of his rich, full life: Calmly, quietly, humbly, peacefully, dignified, with quiet courage, without pomp or circumstance, and in his own time.

Not prone to excitement or drama, he was calm, cool, and collected; patient, fair, and honest; slow to anger, meek, and hardworking; faithful, loyal, and long-suffering.

Like any good captain he weathered storms with silent, stoic strength; and sailed steady and even-keeled– he was OUR safe harbor.

His legacy as a loving husband, father, and grandfather will endure because we’ve either been spurred to emulate him or –for us girls– seek out similarly tempered men to spend our days with.

A worthy, upstanding patriarch, he was the best role model we ever could have hoped for. Raise your hand again if he was YOUR favorite.

The touching remembrance video Husband put together with photos gathered by the whole family, including a mountain my much older sister sifted through over the past few years alongside Gramps:

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