Eulogy for Gramps

I meant to post the eulogy I said at Gramps’ funeral last year, but didn’t get around to it. Posting now as a method of archiving it so I can toss the paper copy. I kept it short because I knew I was going to be unable to hold in the waterworks. As it was, this still took me nearly 5 minutes to say.

My hero died on Wednesday. Since I was little, Gramps has been the man I want to be. Many people are known because the do something very well. In Gramps’ case, he was a firefighter. I once watched him run to a burning cabin from the Ponderosa community club. That was great, knowing he saw that danger and knew what to do. But I didn’t want to be a firefighter; I wanted to be like Gramps.

I want to be loving and open. Gramps and Gram were married over 60 years, and their marriage was still as strong last week as it was 30 years ago when I was a kid. I want to be able to call my wife lover-girl, in front of anyone. He didn’t hide anything. Like him, I want the self-confidence to tell people what’s important about me. He was generous and without judgment. He patiently taught me how to drive a standard shift, while I killed the engine of his car over and over. Never once did he tear me down. When a student I was mentoring started applying for scholarships, Gramps gladly spent an afternoon going over scholarship applications with her so she would be ready. He gave his time because I asked and because she needed it. Nothing more. I could list his good qualities for some time.

Now he’s gone. I miss him already. We all do. That’s why we are here. But what I’ll miss most is the living example of who a man can be. I’m proud to say I’m his grandson. I hope that people who knew him will tell others, That’s Cleo Hathaway’s grandson, not because of blood-line, but because I’ve learned well from him. Because I still want to be like my hero.

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