Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Many thanks to those of you who were able to come to the funeral and shiva for my mother this week, and thanks as well to those who could support and help us out in other ways during this difficult time. The outpouring of help, emotion and good wishes has been tremendous.

For those of you unable to make it to the funeral, I thought I would share the eulogy I gave, as well as the one from my dad. Grab a tissue for his.....

Life does not cease to be funny when people die, any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. A quote by George Bernard Shaw, I feel that this is our family's credo

When I form a picture of my mom in my head from when I was growing up. I see her in the kitchen. Around her she has a stack of newspapers, three handwritten lists containing the phone numbers of people she needs to call every day, a checkbook-sized calendar, and a carefully organized box of coupons. 

The kitchen was mom's control center, her bridge. From there she managed the family, stayed in touch with her world around her, planned her grocery lists and told people what to do. She was always cooking, usually something for the next visit from a large crew of relatives, or the "Mongolian hoard" as she like to call them. A couple of weeks ago, I found a mysterious container of Tupperware in my freezer in Pittsburgh. I took it out and let it thaw, and discovered it was left over stuffed cabbage she brought on a previous trip out to visit. Even as six-month old leftovers, they tasted so good. I will miss that stuffed cabbage. 

As the strong and all-knowing matriarch of the family, mom served as the central processor for all information. She was Facebook, Google, WebMd, and the Hartford Courant all rolled into one, despite stubbornly refusing to even be in the same room as a computer. I will miss getting those cut outs from the Bristol Press with news about childhood teachers and friends whom I barely remember and could have looked up on the internet. 

Mom was always the martyr. When my wife and kids and I would come to visit, she would send dad out to join us to do whatever we had planned for the day, but would stay home herself so she could continue the cooking process and to be sure she wouldn't miss an important phone call.

Mom taught me many things growing up, and shaped me into who I am today. She taught me to be grounded. To feel empathy. To volunteer my time. To show pride on the world around me. She taught me to think for myself and to form my own opinions. 

I think my wife will agree that she also taught me to be frugal. Like mom, I'm never without a coupon. As a kid being dragged to Shop Rite for groceries, whenever I wanted a box of Frosted Flakes she would tell me they were on sale at "the other store". To this day I don't know where "the other store' is, but I use the same tactic on my own children today. 

Mom, and dad also taught me to care for my world around me. To care for others. To help in any way I can. To tirelessly volunteer. In many ways mom and dad have been LIONS first, parents second. But I mean this as a good thing, because the core values that they've learned and displayed throughout their many years as active Lions became their guiding principles when it came to raising kids.

With that, I want to read a portion of a get-well card that mom received in the mail the day she died. It's from Steve, a Lion and former general in the US Army Reserve, now retired to Arizona...
"You have always served as a shining example to me of what "WE SERVE" really means. I can think of no one I've known who so generously gives of themselves as you and Alan.

You and Alan have a depth of character and a strength of spirit that I know sustains you in difficult times. I hope it is of some comfort that you know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of so many people who regard you as very special. True Lions in every sense of the word. And the kind of people we would all do well to emulate."

There are no words that I can say
To tell you of my grief today
And so I write this simple poem
For I cannot take my Judy home
For 50 years we shared a life
For 50 years she was my wife
Together we have traveled wide
Hand in hand, she was my guide
She was my sail for every trip
She was the rudder of my ship
She was my compass and my friend
She lit the way at every bend
We danced, we sang, we laughed, we cried
Together always, side by side
We raised a family, built a home,
And navigated life's unknowns
And always, always she was there
To love, inspire, help and care
Opinions, yes, she had a few
And made them known to me and you,
But I found out more times than not
That she was right and I was not.
And so my friends I will not weep
For I have memories to keep
Memories of 50 years
Memories that need no tears
Sure, there are things we left undone
Things we two would have found fun
But I will do them all alone
While God's hand takes our Judy home.