I'd like to share the Eulogy for my father-in-law which I delivered at his funeral on December 8th.
On behalf of Bill's entire family, I would like to thank all of you for joining us here today to pay our last respects to the man who we called our husband, our dad, our father-in-law, our grandfather, our great-grandfather, our brother, our brother-in-law and our friend.
For those you who don't know me, my name is Gary and I have been blessed to have been happily married to Bill's only daughter, Becki, for more than 27 years. I pray that Becki and I will enjoy the same long, loving life together that Bill and Tina shared for over 63 years.
As Becki's husband, I was legally Bill and Tina's son-in-law. But we shared a special relationship. They always treated me as though I was one of their own children, and likewise, to me they were the same as my own dad and mom, God rest their souls. I will never forget the love that Bill had for me and me for him, and I promise that I will continue to love Tina that same way forever.
Bill loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren as only a father could. I hope that we can all appreciate Bill's never-ending love for us, and that we can pay honor to him by always loving each other that same way.
I was always amazed by Bill's vitality and by how much he knew about so many different trades and activities. Whether it was carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical, painting, welding, auto repair, boat building, or his true passion, fishing, Bill was a wealth of knowledge. Best of all he was always eager to share his knowledge, provide advice, and pitch in to help his family and friends. Everyone who came in contact with Bill knew that he was a good, decent, hard-working and God-loving man.
Almost 8 years ago, Bill had open heart surgery, suffered a stroke and spent nearly every waking hour since then in his power chair. Bill got discouraged, and he cried, and often he wished he didn't have to keep living as a stroke-survivor. Throughout it all, Tina made caring for Bill her #1 priority, unselfishly sacrificing herself for the wavy, dark-haired young man that she gave her heart to so long ago. No one could have given Bill better care than that which Tina gave him and it stands as a testament to the love which she had for Bill.
Even on the darkest of days, Bill never stopped trying to regain his mobility. All he wanted to do was to walk again. Shortly after Bill returned to his winter home in Florida in late October, he became ill and was weaker than before. But Becki told me that she watched him one morning on her way to work, still using his parallel bars, walking as best he could, even though it wa s hard for him to raise his left foot.
Just over a month ago, Bill was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. After learning about his disease, he pleaded with all of us to make sure that we began a regular schedule of preventative examinations. Although he had said many times before that he wouldn't have any more surgery, he decided to fight his illness and had surgery about three weeks ago. His recovery was progressing slowing, but steadily, until last week when he took a sudden turn for the worse.
Throughout Bill's entire hospital stay, his loving wife Tina and devoted daughter Becki stayed by his side nearly 24 hours a day. They were both there with him in his room all night before he went to the operating room last Saturday morning. Although we all prayed for a miracle that morning, it was God's will to call Bill up home where he could be free of this life's pain and suffering, to live forevermore with all of God's children.
Today our hearts are broken, and our tears fall like rain. We wonder if we have the strength to live on without Bill. But I know that if we are blessed with only a fraction of his strength and perseverance, we'll be able to carry on in the way that he would want us to. Never doubting what happened, always remembering his life and his love for us, loving each other, and always looking forward to the time when we will be reunited with him on the streets of Glory.
Christ, as we know, called the fishermen to follow him. Today I am sure Bill has taken his place with the apostles.
God bless you Bill. I'll miss you.