On June 3rd, my dad had a massive heart attack.  I got the phone call around noon, and I rushed as fast as I could to be by my mom’s side.  When I got to Orlando, I found out that my dad’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for over 90 minutes, and it was by the grace of God that a nurse was able to perform CPR for 20 minutes until EMTs arrived, but it was ultimately too late.  He was in vegetative state, and the ventilator was pulled on June 4th.  My dad passed away immediately.  For those who cannot make the memorial service, here is my Eulogy:

My dad taught many life lessons, and today I am going to share with you the top ten Life Lessons he taught me.  There is a theme, so please sit back, relax, and see if you catch the theme…

Lesson 10:  “Let’s Go Fly A Kite:” In the book and movie “Mary Poppins” is about Saving Mr. Banks.  At the end of the movie, Mr. Banks realizes how enjoyable, and fun his children are.  My dad never thought that my brother and I were a nuance, but we would always find time to either coach our teams, camping with Y-Guys/Y-Princesses, and sometimes I would even run in a track meet and see him at the track cheering my on during a race.

Lesson 9:  “Life Is A Highway:” My dad was a typical man.  He would never ask for directions.  He had the propensity for getting lost.  One time we traveled from Orlando to NASA by way of Daytona Beach.  He started stating that getting lost was going on an adventure, and we went on A LOT of adventures.

Lesson 8:  “You Have a Friend In Me:”  Everywhere my dad went, he would talk to anyone who would listen.  He frequented O’hana’s and the Polynesian so often, he befriended Sue, a waitress, and Walt, the bartender.

Lesson 7: “Feed The Birds:”  My dad loved bird watching, he would sit in the porch in Minnesota, or in the Florida Room, and try to identify the birds.  When John and I were younger, he would take us to Grandma’s work at General Mills and feed the ducks in the winter.

Lesson 6:  “Be Our Guest:”  My dad loved to entertain.  He loved to host parties.  When he wasn’t hosting a party, he would make one of his famous watermelon boats (by the way, I know how to make them too, I learned from the best!).  He would also volunteer to be kitchen help at weddings, or graduation parties.

Lesson 5: “Heigh Ho Heigh Ho:” His favorite movie was “Snow White.”  I always debated what dwarf my dad was.  He used to always wear Grumpy clothing, but he was not Grumpy.  He was often Sleepy, sometimes Doc, but never Dopey.  Right now, I believe he is Happy.

Lesson 4:  “Bella Notte:” My favorite movie was “Lady and The Tramp,” and I loved Spaghetti we always used to go to Kelly’s On The Ninth after Saturday mass.  “Lady and The Tramp” was the first Disney movies we saw in the theater.

Lesson 3:  “When You Wish Upon A Star:” My dad always used to wish that my son would come out of his autism.  He truly believed that Disney was magical, and that Disney would cure all that ails.  Every time I hear that song, and think of how much he wished for his grandchildren (I included names, but for privacy, no names).

Lesson 2: “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes:”  On my wedding day, I had told my mom that I wanted to be Cinderella, which is odd for me, as grew up as a tomboy.  My mom and dad made that possible.  For our daddy and daughter dance, we danced “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes.”  A few weeks after my wedding, my mom told me that she had found my dad in the basement listening to the Cinderella Album crying.  He finally remembered the significance of the song, and told her, “Now, I know what that song meant.”

Lesson 1: “When my dad was a young man, he found his aroma lacked a certain appeal.  He could clear the living room after every meal, he was a sensitive soul, though he seemed thick skinned, it hurt that his family never stood down wind…”  I will leave you with this final thought– Hakuna Matata, it means no worries, and my dad would want everyone in his life to have no worries, so Hakuna Matata.

One thought on “Eulogy

  1. Janette Peterson

    Jodi, I was so sad to see today’s obituary in the Star Tribune. Your dad had a zest for life and always treated me like one of his own grandchildren. I pray for you, your family, and your mom that you find peace knowing he’s up in heaven riding his favorite rides and singing with everyone at Disney! I loved your tribute, very touching. I’m so sad I’m not able to make it tomorrow night as I’m in Atlanta for work, but I’m there in spirit. Please give your mom a big hug for me. xx

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