Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Funeral

Yesterday my father's funeral was held at St. Mary's Church in Muncie, Indiana. You can read about it here.

As the article I linked to above states, I was asked to give a eulogy for my father. The text of my speech is below:

Some of my fondest memories with my father are from the times when he would help me with my homework. He would never give me the answers, but he would always lead me to them so that I could find them myself. In fact, he would often add more homework to the work I already had just to help me figure out the answers I needed. It frustrated me then, but I thank him for it now. He taught me to think for myself even though I'm sure there were times he regretted that later.

Once I moved on to college and beyond, I didn't need his help with my homework as much anymore. Mostly because he had given me the confidence to solve my problems for myself. As I got older he changed his approach to helping me with my "life homework". He challenged me not to simply find the correct answer, but the right answer. He challenged me to think about how my decision impacted others and to think about how my decision would impact my personal integrity and most importantly, he challenged me to make the honest decision. He knew that despite all of his accomplishments - and he had his fair share: he was graduate of Indiana University, member of the Indiana University Marching 100 who marched in the Rose Bowl and Rose Bowl Parade in 1969, he graduated from Indiana University Law School, got his MBA from Ball State, was Blackford County Prosecutor and trial lawyer, world traveler - he went to Brazil and Poland, State Senator, and pilot and member of the Civil Air Patrol, to mention just a few - even with all that he still knew that his most prized possessions were his honesty and his integrity. And he made sure that I understood that any accomplishment of my own meant nothing without my honesty and integrity.

And that is the final homework he left me. He's left me with the task of living up to the standards of honesty and integrity that he lived by but more importantly he left me with the task of raising my children to live up to those standards of honesty and integrity. And he would challenge all of us to do the same because he would tell you that everything he accomplished was due to the fact that he strived to live the right way. And I would argue that his greatest accomplishment was being the best father and role model a man could ask for.

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