My Eulogy for my Dad

By | Thursday, July 19, 2018 Leave a Comment

My father and I at the Space Needle, Seattle, WA, many years ago

Fathers and sons… need I say more?

Father son relationships can be complex, and ours was no exception.

Let’s face it, my dad could be a pain in the ass… But, he was always there to pick me up when it mattered.

I recall one night when I was very young, falling down a short flight of stairs landing on my face. My father was right there. He picked me up - literally - carried me down another flight of stairs and out to the car. He rushed me to the hospital. No questions asked.

Some of you might know of my, er, shall we say, “indiscretion”, when I was at Harvard. My father was right there. No questions asked. No, “What were you thinking?” No, “that was pretty stupid.” He was there to see me through and got me safely to the other side.

I could tell many more stories. But, I’m sure that many people in this room could tell of a time when my father was there for them. And I know for a fact that there are others here today who aren’t aware that he was there, behind the scenes, helping them.

Dad was a stubborn man. It took me years to convince him to get a computer, but, when he finally got one he readily admitted that he then couldn’t live without it. He refused to even try hearing aids until a decade or more after we all knew he was deaf. And he was stubborn when faced with a problem - he was damned well going to solve it.

He was a tough guy to love, but an easy guy to respect.

You have to respect his accomplishments. He was an eagle scout. He got into Harvard College from a small town in what was then rural Pennsylvania. He succeeded admirably at Harvard Business School. He got my mom to marry him – that in itself is worthy of respect. He bought a bankrupt chemical company and turned it into Solutek Corp – a venture that was a great success for decades. He helped to save the Shirley-Eustis house, now a national historical landmark. And he assembled one of the world’s foremost collections of antique musical instruments. He was internationally regarded as a major figure in the world of early music, its instruments, and its preservation.

He was a tough guy to love, but in the past year we learned to love each other. Some of you may know that 11 months ago I had a heart attack. Dad was in Europe at the time and hopped on the next available series of flights to get him to my bedside in California. The process of re-bonding and healing old wounds began in earnest in my hospital room. And it continued a few short weeks ago as I sat with him at the Brigham here in Boston. I am deeply grateful that my father and I began creating a relationship based on both love and respect. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time for this process.

Sometimes I feel my dad inside me. These hands are his hands. I feel him looking out through my eyes. As I look out at this room I - no, we - we are grateful that all of you are here today to demonstrate how many people he touched, and how important he was in all of our lives.

He will not soon be forgotten.
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