Dad's Eulogy

My name is Jennifer Woolf. I am Jerry’s favorite youngest daughter. Please forgive me if my thoughts are a bit scattered, but I just wanted to share a few of my favorite moments with you about my dad.

My dad was…..well, my dad. He was big and tough and strong and yet sweet and caring and compassionate. And he knew everything about everything – or at least something about everything. I have never known a person whose quest for knowledge never ended. There was always more for him to learn, another book for him to read. And I am very curious to know if he had actually gotten the opportunity to read every book that he owned. Books were one of his many passions. It made me laugh to know that the women at the library had limited him to the number of books he could check out at one time. My dad read to me every night before bed for as long as I can remember. Even after my parents divorced, my dad would keep books at his house and call every night to read to me over the phone. He taught me how to experience other lives and places by simply losing yourself in a book.

I am the baby of the family. My sisters are 8 and 12 years older than I am. This is a position that at times I took full advantage of. One time, my mom and sisters were watching a movie. I was being obnoxious and was sent to my room. However, I wanted to finish watching the movie. My dad was in the basement in his office. I knew that his office was somewhere below my bedroom and I also knew that if I made enough noise he would come upstairs and fix everything. That way I could finish watching the movie. So I laid myself on the floor and started kicking my feet, banging my fists and screaming at the top of my lungs. I continued to scoot myself all over the floor to try and get his attention. Sure enough eventually he came storming up the stairs to see what the heck was going on, and eventually I got to finish watching the movie.

Every Saturday morning my dad would cook us breakfast. He would always open the freezer and ask what we wanted. Then he would say, “How about some buffalo butts, pig snorts, and a side order of snake lips?” Finally, breakfast usually included pancakes and sausage – jimmy dean sausage (since that was the best!). Then we would go to K-Mart. We would walk around and look at stuff. Often my dad would find some item that looked funny on his head or something he could goof around with. He would take some pictures of us being goofy (because he always taking pictures). But before leaving I would get a pack of Zebra Stripe Bubble Gum – I don’t even know if they make that gum anymore.

Dad and I often went on daddy-daughter dates. We would get all dressed up and go to dinner. Once we met for Easter brunch downtown Minneapolis. After our meal, I walked him to his car. He had decided not to park in the parking garage for the restaurant because he found a better spot. However, after eating he couldn’t remember where that spot was. We spent two and a half hours looking for his car in random parking lots around downtown Minneapolis.

Dad was always telling a story. He used to take my boys out behind his house to look for Fred the Bear. They would go out and call his name and try to find where he was sleeping. They would look for the sticks and leaves that would indicate where Fred was hiding. Dad would even call them once we moved to Arizona to tell them what Fred was up to. He often said he wanted to write a children’s book about the adventures of Fred the Bear. Maybe someday we can do that for him.

My dad loved every one (except Hillary Cliniton, but we won’t get started on dad’s political views). My dad would walk into any store, or even just down the street and strike up a conversation with anyone he saw. He loved being around people. He would often stop during our outings to tell a woman how beautiful she was, or make a comment to the man standing in front of us in line. There are so many people that he considered friends, even those whom he had no contact with for years. But most importantly he was very good about savoring every moment by taking the time to stop and smell the roses. He loved life and enjoyed the beauty around him. That is what we have to do to honor him. So please, in honor of my dad take a moment everyday to savor the moment you are in. Listen to the sound of the birds in the trees, or listen to your favorite music, or enjoy the taste of your favorite food. This is how his memory will live on in each of us.

I love you Papa Bear and I will think of you often!!

Thank you so much for coming tonight to celebrate my dad’s life. Please take the time to look at all the pictures, for my dad loved taking them. And take some time to share your stories with each other for I know you all loved him. Because how could you not?


GeoWulf said…
What wonderful and beautiful comments. I love you!

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