This is just a photo upload for jabberboard revenge. ;)

Grandpa, Pt. II

So my Grandpa's funeral was yesterday, and it was amazing. There were more people in their church than are in attendance on Christmas or Easter. The fire department was there, in uniform, and they made an honor guard type thing to the sides of us as we recessed to the graveyard. The american legion was there, and my grandma was presented with a flag, taps was played, and Grandpa got a three-volley salute (due to his service in the Navy during WWII). It was moving. I think at last count there were over 450 there, but I'm not sure about the exact count.

The service itself was very celebratory. My dad gave a tribute speech to Ray, who is actually his father-in-law. I sang a couple of songs with my cousin, Gretchen, and my cousin-in-law, Dan. My cousin Eric, a baptist minister, gave an excellent homily. Gretchen read a piece on my grandpa that she'd written for his 90th birthday, the choir sang (I've never seen a funeral where the choir sang!) and other cousins did the readings. The pastor of the church gave, hands down, the best sermon I've ever heard him give.

It was just what grandpa would have wanted.

Rest in Peace, Grandpa

As is obvious from the title, my Grandpa passed away. It's been a hard weekend and a hard week, but I just have to take a few moments here to celebrate this man's amazing life, because he was an extraordinary guy. Also, he lived to be 90 and his mind was as sharp as a tack. He died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family, at 4:30 a.m. this past saturday. Death comes to everyone, but that's about the best way to go possible. Still, it's really difficult for those of us who have to say goodbye. A mighty oak has fallen.

Here are some tidbits about my Grandpa, because in a lot of ways this guy is larger than life:

Grandpa was born in 1920 and grew up during the Great Depression. He was the son of a Democratic State Senator, and grew up to be the strongest Republican I know, so that says a little something for his rebellious nature. (Wait...he was a rebel because he was a Republican? LOL.) Besides being a Senator, my Great Grandfather (A man I never met) was also a farmer, and my Grandpa was a farmer for much of his life.

Grandpa was an Ensign on a Destroyer in the south pacific during World War II. His boat was somewhere near Hong Kong, mainly after the war had ended.

Grandpa was a recreational pilot. When he first started dating my Grandma (an amazing woman in her own right), he would fly to her place (About 133 miles away) and pick her up for dates. Once, a storm kept him from flying home, and he slept outside on my Grandma's parents' porch.
My Grandpa and Grandma got married and got a farm near where my Grandpa grew up. They raised 5 kids -- four boys and my mom. After Grandpa retired from farming (and his other job of insurance sales) they built a house on the farm property and one of my uncles took over the family farm.

My grandparents have been all over the world -- Norway, Sweden, Russia, China, Singapore just to name a my Grandpa's office there is a map with red stickpins shoved into every place he's been. The northern hemisphere is pretty much covered, and the southern is getting there.

Most importantly, my Grandpa was a conversationalist. I have never met (and likely will never meet) a person more genuinely interested in what other people have to say. In one of the books that my Grandpa published (there are 3, short paperback memoirs) he mentions that everybody has a story to tell. He actively sought to learn a piece of that story from everyone he met. Those of you that met him likely had interesting (and sometimes wacky) conversations with him.

He was a heck of a guy. I'm thankful to have known him my whole life -- not many people get to keep their grandparents around this long, and I know that my family is fortunate.