Larry H, RIP

My apologies to regular readers of this blog for the lack of activity this month. My father passed away on July 4th. I’ll try to pick the pace back up in August. The eulogy I gave at his funeral is below. RIP, Dad.

There is no way I will be able to encapsulate my dad’s entire life in the short time I’m going to speak. But I’ll try. To do that, I’m going to share with you a rundown of the various roles in life we all knew my father for.

Starting with Larry the outdoor enthusiast. Dad loved to fish and hunt pheasant. Along with presents, chocolate cookies, and repeated viewings of “A Christmas Story,” a family Christmas tradition for years was eating the pheasant he shot for Christmas dinner.

Larry the little league coach. Dad coached little league for, I believe 6 years. The Giants were the little league equivalent of a dynasty, the hardest-working, the most fundamentally-sound, the most aggressive, always in the hunt for championships, winning them more than losing. Of course, it’s the ones you lose that always stick with you the most, as happened at the 1991 July 4th tournament. I won’t go into the details since the events of that day are still in dispute with someone in this church today.

Larry the jokester. Dad could make us all laugh, and if we heard the same joke a thousand times, all groan. The one that sticks out is the one he told Gina and Logan at least 300 times. He’d ask them if they’re going to the movies. “No, why?” they’d say. Anyone want to finish the punchline?

Larry the Harley rider. I’m a book worm, I know nothing about motorcycles. But I know riding his Harley was a passion, and I’m grateful he spent the last few years once again a proud Harley owner.

Larry the New York Yankees fan………I’m a Kansas City Royals fan, so I’m moving on……

Larry the CHICAGO BEARS fan. The last few years haven’t been kind to us Bears fan. Maybe our lowest point came on February 4, 2007. Super Bowl 41, Bears vs. The Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning vs……Rex Grossman. And not “good” Rex Grossman, but “bad” Rex Grossman. When Grossman’s final interception was returned for a touchdown, sealing Chicago’s fate, my father gets off his recliner, walks into the kitchen, stands there for a moment, and bellows out “STINKIN’ GROSSMAN!!!!”

There’s Larry the brother ,uncle, and friend. Over the last few days, I’ve heard stories about fishing trips gone awry, midnight visits and waking up the Williams kids, cattin’ with Scottie in a bug, and tackle football games where his sister got the best of him…………it’s these stories that now sustain us. It’s these stories that keep his memory alive.

Larry the war veteran. I don’t know a lot about my father’s time in Vietnam………I do know that when he returned, his service to his country was treated like complete garbage. That is why it is so important to my family to have the service we’re having today, in order to treat my father’s time in the service with the HONOR and RESPECT it deserves.

Larry the grandpa. ‘Papa.’ I asked my kids about their favorite memory of Papa. For Gina, it was a Christmas tree shopping trip gone wrong. Right as they pulled up to the tree farm, they had to turn around to find Papa a bathroom. When they got back, the place just closed. For Logan, it was the time he came over and dressed Papa up in pigtails while Papa just sat there, watching TV like nothing was going on. How much Dad meant to my kids, and how much they meant to him, was confirmed in these last few days. When Dad’s sedation was turned down, watching him look at his grandchildren, acknowledge his grandchildren, and watching his grandchildren bravely stand by him in his dying days, forever showed me the unbreakable bond Dad had with my kids.

Larry the father. Dad was my baseball coach, my confidant, my friend, and my mentor. He took me to my first ball game, witnessed and was responsible for my most cherished childhood memory, took me to the airport to meet the love of my life, treated Leslie as his own daughter, spoiled my kids, listened to me rant, and taught me the value of respect.

Larry the husband. This is the most valuable lesson Dad taught me. I was extremely lucky to have as my father, a man who stood by his wife. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, my mother and father tackled every challenge, overcame every roadblock, rejoiced in every triumph, and they did it TOGETHER. Every marriage should have a husband and wife totally devoted to each other as Mom and Dad were. Their love for each other created the home I was raised in, and the love I received from them. My marriage to Leslie is a testament to the marriage I witnessed first-hand for 36 years.

Dad, we miss you, we love you……give Keaton and all our loved ones a hug, and we’ll see you again.

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