As many of you may know, I attended the funeral of my grandfather last week. The time spend in Kenosha, Wisconsin was bittersweet. It was a sad occasion that marked the passing of a wonderful, wonderful man, but at the same time, a celebration of not only his life here on earth, but his life in heaven with our Lord. He was a devout follower of Jesus and couldn't wait to see his Lord face to face.
My uncle Richard wrote the following eulogy for "Papa". I wanted to share it because it sums up the man he was and the life he lived – perfectly.
"To most people, Ernie was a conventional man. But to those of us who knew him well, he was a rebel – a Rebel with a Clip-on Tie.
He defied modern convention as only a true rebel could with steadfastness and solitude. NEVER did he draw attention to himself as so-called "rebels" of today do; he did it quietly.
His unconventional lifestyle was apparent in the way he drove. Road trips began at 3 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. No speeding, lane changing, or passing. (Wouldn't be prudent). He avoided rush hour, stoplights and gas stations. He also ignored the occasional stop sign.
He had a collection of modern art called the plastic grocery bag. He also collected clothing. New items, mostly – still in the original wrapper – in the closet or in a drawer. Some said they were gifts, but we're not sure. He also had some shoes older than I.
Ernie was never motivated by money, fame or fortune. Some might say he was frugal; I say he knew the value of a dollar. Yet with the one truly irreplaceable commodity—time—he gave freely.
While everyone was watching the new reality TV shows, Ernie watched the only actual reality show on TV, the Weather Channel. Long before exercising was popular he rode his bicycle everywhere. He was a do-it-yourself guy before "This Old House," and a self-taught man with voracious reading habits. He new much, yet boasted not at all. Humble to a fault, yet unyielding in the righteousness of his Lord.
A Patriot, a Father, a loyal Husband, and Friend, he crossed the generation gap as easily as he cut corners while painting. My grandson, Mike and Papa (as he was respectfully known to the children) became fast friends taking many trips to the local firehouse. Ernie and Lil played no favorites and accepted everyone on equal terms. Wisdom and experience left judgement to a higher power.
I remember Ernie as a teacher and a surrogate father, but mostly as an example of a life lived in moderation for our earthly needs and grand excess in his love for the Lord and Savior Jesus."
My grandfather was a great supporter of the clip-on tie. Yes, they do make them for grown men and they can be bought SOMEWHERE. Papa had about 50 of them. I got to pick one out to bring home with me as a rembrance. It's white with little black horse-drawn carriages all over it. It makes me smile to think of Papa wearing this clip-on tie.