My wife, Roberta, went to Penn State, and when we moved here in 1998, their Alumni Department quickly found us! That is sone excellent fundraising. Anyway, we went to the PSU football watching parties and made friends with some folks. I attended Virginia Tech and the Hokies finally found us and alerted us to the local Hokie group that also had TV watching parties. That's where we met Carol and Wil. We often went to the Hokie games with our Penn State buddies when games were not in conflict. During one half-time at a game in 2000, Roberta was discussing na event with her PSU folks and Carol dropped by the conversation. After a few minutes, she declared, "I don't know what you're talking about, but we're coming!" The women were discussing plans for Roberta and my upcoming wedding and we're happy to say, of course Carol and Wil came and our celebration was all the better for it. That ever shy and retiring Carol...
That led to many other events together; tailgating at a few Bucs games (they always seemed to win a raffle), playing golf together at a Hokie tournament; well, Wil and Carol played gold; playing as well as tehy do is not a game with which we are familiar, but we did end up with the same number of people we started with. And we even stayed friends; though I don't remember being asked to play again (and I don't blame them). And of course, there were many Hokie TV game watching get togethers. We always enjoyed seeing Carol's smiling face, well, depending on the score. What incredibly fun times.
A little less fun today. I never understood the importance of these services until my mother passed away in 1986. When my family arrived at the church, I couldn't believe how many of my friends took the time to come to the service. It dawned on me that these are important for those left behind - just as much as to celebrate the life of those who have gone on.
I remember an old saying I heard somewhere: "A joy shared is two joys, a sorrow shared is half a sorrow." Wil and family, thank you for letting all of us share our joys and help share in bearing your sorrow.
Last week we received and email from our eldest son informing us that he had written an email about the birth of his daughter, Taylor, to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unity) at Golisano Children's Hospital at Rochester, NY. This email has been published in their booklet.
Taylor only weighed 1 pound 3 ounces. He told about the tiny stick doll being put in to a bag and whisked away when she was born. He spoke about the turmoil of not knowing if she would live. He asked God to let her live one week, and was willing to give all his possessions, his wonderful, comfortable life and many fine experiences, for they didn't matter now.
When he was able to see the "tiniest human he ever saw" in the incubator two hours later, she was wearing a knitted cap and laying on a knitted blanket... He said it was a "gift from some kind soul who felt compassion for a baby who probably would not make it."
I immeditately thought of Carol and would tell her the next time I saw her about how my son "very much appreciated the people who made all the difference in the world."
Carol knitted those little tiny caps and sweaters so that tiny infants could be presented to their distraught parents.
Unfortunately, I never got to tell Carol about my son's email and his and hundreds of other parent's appreciation for such caring people.
Fortunately, our Taylor was a success story. She's now five... Intelligent, inquisitive, and healthy!
I can picture Carol being welcomed in to Heaven by many, many little angels wearing the white, pink, and variegated hand knitted caps and sweaters she made especially for them.
We have made a donation in Carol's memory to the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, NY where our Taylor was given the chance of a life.
We are so sorry for your loss and will miss Carol alwasy as she was a great part of our life here at MBYCC.
Our deepest regards,
Carol would be so thrilled to see everyone gather here today in her honor.
Certainly, we know this because no one loved a great party more than Carol. She's being honored in a place that she loved to spend time with good food, great drinks, and beautiful surroundings.
But most of all, to be surrounded by her friends and family she loved the most.
It's in these difficult times that we take the opportunity to look back and celebrate life's blessings.
The past few days my brother Rich and Sister Cathie and dad have had the chance to meet with so many people that were touched by Carol and enjoyed her company.
I especially want to thank the friends in Madeira Beach that have opened up their homes to help accomodate out of town families such as Carol's sister - Janice McTaggart, brother-in-law, Wayne, and niece and nephew, Lisa and Kurt.
Many others have stopped by to express condolences to Wil and share great memories and remember good times and how special she was.
But for me, it is very important to share with you today how much our family loved Carol and how much she loved us, through good times and tough times, she was always there to help.
So today, we celebrate her life. This past week has been a time of reflection and memories that we will never forget. I would like to share a few of those memories.
There were the...
- Big vacations where dad and Carol went around he world at least two times! And Disney cruises with the grandkids, Alissa and Connor. I know she looked forward to taking Erin and Rich on a Disney cruise too.
- And when they were younger, and even though my dad was not a big camper, Carol insisted on taking the family camping and on float trips with friends in old campers and tents.
- Many family birthday parties, some of them we made into surprise parties with her help - we love to celebrate the big milestones together. I remember my 21st birthday when she served caviar and champagne and gave me a beautiful gold bracelet so that I felt special and would always remember.
- Then there was the organizing and calling of Bingo games in Florissant, Missouri and organizing Bridge right here, for the club at Treasure Island.
- And of course, there are the many Madeira Beach Yacht Club happy hours and other social events such as New Years and St. Patrick's Day parties, Christmas boat parades and the wine and cheese parties for the snow bird returning each year. I am sure there are many more that I haven't even heard about.
- Weddings, and we've had a few in our family... I know most of you heard or were probably consulted on ideas for the wedding she helped me plan to Charles on Redington Beach almost 5 years ago. She really loved getting involved and I certainly appreciated the help!
- And of course, we remember all of the big holidays and especially her outstanding cooking. I think my dad mentioned to me that at one point he thought she had 14 sets of dishes, for different occasions, including the 4th of July and probbaly Groundhog's Day! Cathie and I still liked to ask her how to set the table properly - just to tease her after all these years.
- And we will remember Carol was a big football fan, pro and college, she certainly embraced being Hokies with Dad. Going to bowl games and tailgating with old friends. The harsh winters in St. Louis certainly tested her resolve for tailgating in St. Louis, back in the day when the football Cardinals were still in St. Louis. Then she converted to a Rams fan as the family all bought season tickets together.
- We all have many wonderful and fun memories of Carol that we will never forget. These were just a few I wanted to remember today. I hope everyone will continue to share their memories with us and Wil over the coming weeks and months.
But one of the things that Carol was most proud of was working with the Angel Stitches group. It was very important to her. She loved the social and giving aspect and would always show us what she was working on. Doing something for people who needed help, the fellowship, and using her talent to help others - it was a perfect fit for Carol.
But as I get ready to ginish my thoughts, I want to make sure I express how much I loved Carol for loving my father. They were certainly two peas in a pod! And even in bad times, they were food times - so really it was a blessing that they found each other and had 41 wonderful years together. As someone said earlier this week, it wouldn't hurt so bad if it wasn't so good. Carol and Dad were boat mates, bridge partners, best friends, and many other things, but most of all, soul mates.
So after the worship today, I hope you will all help us celebrate and toast to Carol, we love and miss you already!
Carol was very proud of my family, so I'd like the opportunity to introduce them to you. She was involved in several big events in the Finegan family, beginning with my wedding to Tom. A few years later, she took us on a Disney cruise, something my daughter, Alissa and son, Connor will never forget. Christmases and birthdays were a big deal to Carol as you can see it in the photos and the handmade stockings she created for my children. She was the only grandmother Connor and Alissa ever knew. In the past few days, I have heard from so many of you about how much love and pride she had for us. Knowing is very comforting to us at this difficult time.
Dear Wil, please accept our deepest sympathy on your loss. We still remember the cruise we all took together. Carol was such a joy and she will be greatly missed.