This is an extremely sad and emotional time. Our gathering here today is to honor and express our love for a person whom was a true representation of a husband, father, companion, brother, friend, grandpa, pop-pop, and uncle.
I could explain Dads life in great detail but the details get lost in our individual moments that we all shared and will never forget. His numerous achievements are just the surface of the most wonderful loving and caring person. While he may have liked to talk about being the Club Champion of The Province Lake Country Club. None of us truly hold that piece of him in our hearts. How many times have we sat in our living room with Dad and shared stories?...The stories that fed laughter now create heartache. Let us comfort this heartache hand in hand knowing that Dad is now embraced with peace. Dads contagious smile embraced all of our hearts with warmth that will never leave out thoughts. That warmth has not only helped shape who we are but it continues to live through all of us. When ever you think of Dad the first thing that comes to mind is his contagious smile and sparkling blue eyes. We've had so many occasions where his presence had stolen the show. I remember a bachelor party in Old Orchard beach where a lovely young lady was refusing to dance with anyone who asked her. We all made bets on who could get her on the dance floor. After several attempts by us younger folks we gave up and then Dad walk over to ask and the next thing you know he was swinging and dancing like he was 18 again. I later asked him, “What did you say to get her to dance?” His response was “ I just asked, would you like to dance?”. I am convinced to this day that it all had to do with his warm, gentle, and inviting personality that you can not teach a person to have, Dad just had the mojo!
Dad knew that God was an extremely important part of our lives. He would pack us in a car each Sunday morning in the station wagon with the paneling on the side doors and take us to St Mathew's church where at least one of us would be serving mass as an alter boy. In fact at one point 5 of us six brothers served as an alter boys at the same mass. Dad the never forced us to believe in God but he gave us all the opportunity to believe and as the years passed we all went our own ways and our beliefs may now all be the same but we can thank Dad for giving us the direction that has led us to our values today.
People often say that they could not imagine raising 8 children in today's world. If you think back in time, it was just as difficult then as it is today. It took an enormous amount of love, dedication, hard work, discipline, which sometimes involved spankings. Donnie received the most spankings as he was the leader of us all but David came in a close second. Frank…never understood where the F came from but I am so glad Dad & Mom continued bringing D's back into the picture. Barbie and Doug could never do wrong so I hung around them the most. Donna became a mother long before she ever had children. Her entire upbringing involved one of us being in diapers...thank God for huggies today. Donna and Barbie stayed closest to Dad throughout his entire life. If you ever wanted to know “Where's Dad?” or “How's Dad?” one of them knew. Financially we were not richest family in the neighborhood, but I would place all bets that our family is the richest in Love as is shown here today. Dad strived to provide us the most that he could and worked endless hours and numerous jobs. He set the bar extremely for all us to follow…so high even Betty has to use a step stool.
Dad figured out what it took to fulfill his life and the lives of people around him. He was strong and a talented individual. As we all grew older together we became more aware of the gentle and emotional man he truly was. He stood by the people he loved no matter the circumstances. When Mom took ill he stayed by her bedside every day. Dad always knew what the priorities were. He put his life on hold to help Mom be comfortable. We were not all there to help him through the most difficult time of his life and we owe a great deal of thanks to Doug because he was.
As Dad continued his journey through life he was so fortunate to have an “extra” family. Betty (sometimes known as Big B….) has always been a part of his life. I am convinced to this day that Dad lived to be 80 because of his relationship with Betty, Tom, Michelle, Donna, and Chris. They were on the receiving end of just how much love Dad had. This part of his life may not have been the same as a farmer but I know he was appreciative and so thankful for the experiences her shared with them and I from the deepest part of my heart I personally thank each and every one of you.
Dads don't to die. As a young child I heard those words and never understood what it meant. Over the years I've seen some of my friends Dad's pass and those words “Dad's don't' die always came into my thoughts. It was not until standing by our Dad's bedside as he took his last breaths that I really understood what that meant. Although our hearts were aching, the tears flowed, the feeling and spirit of Dad stayed with us. I feel his presence and feel stronger today than I have ever felt. Now I know, Dad's don't die.
In closing, I say it's okay to cry, it's okay to laugh but whatever you choose please hold your heads high and be proud that you shared your life with Dad. Remember to hug and express your love for the people around you each and every day and keep the faith for whatever you believe in.
DAD WE LOVE YOU!
You are so special to so many people and I am truly blessed to call you my Godfather. You have lived a wonderful life and will forever live in our hearts. Rest in Peace Uncle Don