Eulogy For My Father

dad portrait
July 28, 1926 – November 21, 2011

There are many talents that my father possessed: dedication to work
and generosity are among the many and the quickest that come to mind.
But, when I think back at his many qualities, the one talent that may
not have been so apparent, but it is one that I hope I have inherited.
What I have been able to distill of his many talents is this:

My dad was fearless.

I think of how he survived a plane crash that gave him a metal rod in
his femur and how he always spoke of that incident as a mere
experience, and how it didn’t stop him from flying again.

Fearlessness.

Going into the middle of the desert in North Africa to build an
amphitheater that would host King Ydris of Libya. An amphitheater in
the middle of the desert. All of which included a throne. And then
finding out the next day that everything had been taken away by desert
tribes as if nothing had ever been there in the first place.

Fearlessness.

Drafting and designing and creating every day sometimes pulling all
nighters; and then traveling to promote his big, beautiful, expensive
vessels; speaking of projects that sometimes were just seedlings in
his wonderful creative mind.

Fearlessness.

Having great problems with his eyes, temporarily losing his sight at
age thirty five; facing not one, not two, but four corneal
transplants. And yet, he approached all these, potentially devastating
operations, with almost excitement at the medical advancements that
permitted him to have new eyes.

Fearlessness.

I like to imagine, that when his time came, on November 21st, that he
approached that moment with the same fearlessness that he had with
every other moment in his life.

His other great talent was creativity. Mom and I (and people who knew
my dad very well) would often sit in awe, listening to his “creative
versions,” of things. It wasn’t that he didn’t agree with what he was
reading, seeing or listening to. It was just that he didn’t see it
that way. I remember going to the movies with him, watching some
fantastical work and on our way out of the movie theater, when mom or
I would ask him what he thought, if he had liked what he had seen, he
would say, “Yes, it was good, but I would have done it completely
different.”

It is these two talents, fearlessness and creativity that I believe I
have made my own thanks to him. If it weren’t for his fearlessness, I
would not be able to stand in front of you all, to find the courage to
speak to each of you, sharing a part of my dad. If it weren’t for his
creativity, I would not be able to find the words to hopefully speak
to your hearts, reminding each of you what an awesome man, husband,
father and friend he was.

There is one more lesson, one more talent, one more piece of him he has left me.

It is impossible to speak of my father without also speaking of my
mother, because they were one. Together, they showed me what true love
was like, they taught me what a marriage should be. Companionship,
trust, friendship and a deep respect for one another.

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