A few words for my Dad!

15 November 2013

I’ve been off the radar of late as I’ve been in Canada to visit my Dad and family. I spent 12-days with him but he hung on longer than expected and I had to come home just a few days before he died, on November 11th. I sadly couldn’t return for the funeral, which is today, and my childhood friend Webby is kindly reading the eulogy below.

Thank you for all your Facebook and e-mail messages.

‘I’m so sorry that I couldn’t be with you all today but I’m very grateful to Webby for saying a few words on my behalf, as well as the family. All of Mom and Dad’s friends and family here in England are thinking of you today.

Words can not easily describe what a wonderful man my Dad was: he was warm, loving, kind, considerate, loyal, generous, funny, responsible, compassionate, trustworthy, and always fun. Several people over the past few days have just simply said, “He was such a beautiful man.”

Dad was many things to many people. He was a cherished son to Mary and Lorne, and a fun-loving and mischievous brother to Doug, Daureen, Audrey and Linda. He was my Mom’s world, her life long companion and her best friend for over 60-years. And how can you aptly describe him as a father? He was the most incredible Dad that Wendy, Dennis and I could ever wish for, and if I can be half the man and half the father to my children that Dad was to us, I’ll die a happy man. Dad was also an adored Grandfather to Millie and Katie, who meant so much to each other, especially during these difficult last few years. BG was also the perfect father-in-law to Gill and Marilyn, and he was loved by all the in-laws and their families.

Dad was a highly skilled and compassionate veterinarian, and valued his partnership and friendship with Gary and Emery enormously. He was a fantastic neighbour to the Finch’s, the Webster’s and the Rasmuesan’s. He knew every family on the street and all the 35th avenue children benefited from Dad playing quarterback for our street football teams or playing baseball with us in the park. Dad worked long hours but was generous with his precious time, and remained on as President of the Little League Baseball Association after Dennis and I had graduated to a higher league, because he knew that if he didn’t do it, the children would suffer and not have a league to play for. Dad was that kind of man and always put others before himself.

Dad loved the great outdoors, especially his hunting and fishing. He was a crack shot and he was rarely, if ever, ‘skunked’ on a fishing trip. But it was the camaraderie of his fellow sportsmen that made it so special for him, especially the company of my brother Dennis and his dear friend Bruce. They shared many campfires together and Dad would have them chuckling at his stories, or roaring with laughter and diving for cover when he would let rip with one of his world class farts, which he could conjure up at any time on demand. Dad also loved his skiing, and gave our family a great opportunity and an enduring love of the mountains. He spent endless hours in the Rockies hiking with Mom and he was a bandit on the golf course, often bringing home prizes after a good round. Dad was also an excellent umpire, volunteering his time when he would rather have been sitting in the stands. He was a terrific fan, who travelled far and wide to watch our games. BG used to love to needle the umpires and could be often heard yelling, “hey ump, poke some holes in that mask, you’re missing a good game!” And one night at a High School basketball game Dad was having a go at the referee and he went a bit too far. The ref spun around and mistakenly pointed directly at John Juilfs, who was sitting right next to him and yelled, “You, out of the gym!” Poor John had to climb down out of the bleachers and walk the entire length of the gymnasium, past all the students, all the parents and players, including his own son Mike, to the exit at the far end. Dad mulled it over not knowing quite what to do, but in the end the moment passed he let John walk the ‘walk’. John was himself notorious for giving the officials a tough time so Dad didn’t feel too, too badly about not owning up and we both enjoyed a good laugh about it just the other day.

I think being a friend is what Dad did best. He made friends easily and once his friendship was won he was your’s forever, through the bad times as well as the good. You could always count on Dad, no matter what the circumstances. No one could ever ask for a better friend than our Dad and my ten-year-old daughter Millie summed him up quite nicely with this poem she wrote for her Grandpa.

This Is Why I Love You

My Grandpa is the Greatest,
He’s always there for me,
Wherever we go, he makes it fun to be,
My Grandpa’s very loving, he loves to cuddle me,
The other thing he loves, is his family.

My Grandpa is the best, he always makes me laugh,
And wherever he is, he always thinks of us,
That’s why I love my Grandpa, with every part of me,
He really is a superstar, of the very first degree!

Dad fought for life right to the end. He never complained and he remained positive. He found something to smile about each and every day at the hospice, and even managed to joke during such a difficult time.

November the 11th was always an important date to Dad. He had enormous respect for the sacrifices of the veterans and he and I had toured the World War One gravesites and battlefields in Northern France and Belgium together, and we visited the War Memorial Cemetery near our home in England with his Grandchildren on his annual visits. Trust Dad to pick his time and give an added poignancy and extra meaning to Remembrance Day.

You have made us all very proud Dad and we love you very much. You’ve been an exemplary example of how we should try to live our lives and how we should treat other people, and we will always carry a part of you with us wherever we go. Thank you from all of us and please rest in peace.’

I’ve posted a few photos of the girls last visit with their Grandpa.

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