A eulogy: All I need to know I learned in a ten minute call with my dad


All I need to know I learned in kindergarten. That was the title of a popular book back in the early 2000s. Ever heard of it?

I’m going to borrow from that title as the theme for my remarks. My theme is “All I need to know I learned in a ten minute call with my dad.”


Note: This is the eulogy I delivered at my dad’s celebration of life in March 2019.


Dad-prayer-card-Charlie-Marshall

I’ll come back to the main message, but for now let me just talk about who my dad was.

“All I need to know I learned in a ten minute call with my dad.”

John held many roles over his time on earth. Some he dabbled in; some he mastered. He performed all with passion and to the best of his abilities.

Here are some of the roles he played over his lifetime:

  • Son
  • Brother
  • Husband
  • Protector
  • Father
  • River rat
  • Salesman
  • Hustler
  • Airman
  • Sergeant
  • Master Sergeant
  • Sarge
  • Manager
  • Mailman
  • Entrepreneur
  • Inventor
  • Marketer
  • Accountant
  • Counselor
  • Physical therapist
  • Coach
  • Fisherman
  • Hunter
  • Tour guide
  • Lifeguard
  • Author
  • Photographer
  • Cattle rustler
  • Retiree
  • Story teller
  • Gardener
  • Scientist
  • Philanthropist
  • Church choir
  • Volunteer
  • Friend
  • Financial advisor
  • Banker
  • ATM
  • Hibachi master
  • Explorer
  • Pioneer
  • Shell collector
  • Planner
  • Activist

No matter what role you knew John best for, today we remember him and the impact he had on each of our lives.

For me, John was mostly the role of father. However, we were also business partners at one time. That’s when I learned many of the skills to be successful in business.

He taught me how to camp, hunt, fish and in general just to “rough it“. But more important than anything, this man taught me how to grow my faith.

He always insisted that our whole family went to church when we were kids. He even went so far as to send us to a Catholic grade school.

I never knew dad to quote scripture in his everyday conversations. But he showed his faith in his actions.

Now for that ten minute phone call

It was the night that Hurricane Harvey was coming on shore in 2017. It would make landfall within a few miles of my parents house in Rockport, TX.

Mom and dad had evacuated to a hotel about 4 hours away. I called my parents while I was watching the hurricane hunters share live footage and reports from Rockport in social media.

Dad assured me everything would be okay for them. I was convinced he was in denial.

He then told me that God has taken care of him through all sorts of storms in life and he will take care of him this time too.

They couldn’t return to home for about four weeks, due to all the down power lines and trees and such. They came home to a house with a few missing shingles and a ripped screen on their porch from a tree branch that had fallen.

All around them was devastation. Many homes an buildings looked as though they’d been hit by a bomb. It took nearly 18 months for the town to get fully cleaned up. And the rebuilding is still happening today.

The lesson he taught me in that ten minute phone call was that no matter what storms of life you find yourself in, always trust in God to get you through it.

Dad, I love and miss you. But I know you’re in a better place. I’ll see you in Heaven.

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