This is a tribute to my Dad as given at his Funeral Service ten years ago today…October 25, 2006:
Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
My father was a thoughtful, committed citizen. Thanks to my dad, by the time I turned twelve I had stuffed more envelopes, knocked on more doors and passed out more political brochures than most people will, or would care to, in their life time.
My dad wasn’t just someone who cared, but was someone who was usually leading the charge – the ring leader of the small group of thoughtful, committed citizens. And for him, it wasn’t just about politics. Sure he served as a Republican County Committeeman, an Elector for President Nixon, a town councilman and president of the Republican Club in Franklin Lakes, but he was also a volunteer and the president of the Franklin Lakes Ambulance Corps, President of the Parish Council and PTA at Most Blessed Sacrament, and he was even my softball coach.
His life of community involvement started as a member of the Knights of Columbus and then he went on to serve his country in the Army Air Corps during World War II. While retired on Shelter Island he became an active member of the American Legion and although he said he planned to stay out of politics in retirement, he found himself leading the Shelter Island Republican Club and running my mother’s successful campaign for Tax Assessor.
As committed as my dad was to his community, he never missed an opportunity to be with his family. Some of my fondest memories are of our many vacations. He also never missed a Girl Scout Father-Daughter Square Dance. He was always in the bleachers cheering me on and he was ahead of his time – a dad, who in the 1970s arranged his work schedule so he would be waiting for me with milk and cookies after school anxious to hear about my day. I have often thought how much better the world be if every little girl had a caring father with milk and cookies waiting for her after school.
I believe my father has left a legacy in everything he has passed on to me and I, in turn, hope to pass on to my daughter. I am a Rotarian, not because he was, but because he taught me the importance of “service above self.” I am the executive director of a non-profit organization, not because he was, but because he taught me the importance of being passionate about what you believe in. I like to think that I too am a thoughtful, committed citizen – I am because he was.
My dad shared all this with me, but he also let me find my own way and my own passionate causes. He always was there to support me, even if he didn’t agree with me. I will remember that and hopefully be able to do the same.
Palisades Interstate Park, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. October 2016.