Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 21, 2012

Celebrating the lives of our departed pals

Someone recently asked me for advice on giving a eulogy for a close friend.

I reminded her that most funerals are religious services so she shouldn’t risk getting in trouble with the Lord by saying the person was always a saint, especially if they weren’t.

It was five years ago that I delivered a eulogy of a dear friend, a retired professor, whom I said sometimes was as warm and cuddly as a porcupine.

He could be sarcastic and standoffish, even snooty. He sometimes refused to pull into the waiting area at a fast food drive-thru.

But to those he cared about, he could be incredibly loving, generous and patient.

He was the kind of man who would provide a comfortable home and personal, lifelong care for his mother and an aunt.

He was the kind of man who would provide a trip to the beach for their kindly caregiver who had never seen the ocean.

He was the kind of man who would provide $100 worth of tickets and a free trip to the big city for a teenager and her boyfriend who shared his love of Broadway music.

He was the kind of man who would provide free use of his condo or frequent flier miles to help a young couple have a real honeymoon.

He was the kind of man who would spend hours doing chores for an exhausted young mother who was recovering from an operation and whose husband was away on military duty.

He was the kind of man who would reach out many times to a troubled teenager who saw him as the only adult he could trust.

He was the kind of man who would take small-town college kids to New York and to the great cities of Europe on study tours to build their confidence for living in today’s global village.

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