It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of my dad. As most of you know, he battled acute myeloid leukemia for 3 1/2 years. He was a special guy — with so many loved ones in his life–many of whom attended his service today. Thank you to the friends who came to support me.
Instead of writing a blog about him, I’ve shared the eulogy I gave at the service. It captures his essence.
I also hope that this is the last sad story I write in a very long time. Soon, I’ll be ready for new and happy adventures. But first, I need a break, from everything.
Julie in Seattle
PS: you can read his obit and see a photo of him at: http://obits.oregonlive.com/obituaries/oregon/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=170358282
My dad was born William Eads in Olympia, WA on January 10, 1934. He had a challenging childhood with a broken family. But his life changed at 15 when he had two significant introductions: the first to the Chase family and the second to Jesus Christ.
His new faith and family were pivotal to the man he would later become. He finally experienced unconditional love and a true sense of belonging. My dad became a brother to Sanna and a son to Charles and Peg Chase. He appreciated his new life and never took it for granted.
Our life experiences shape who we are, but don’t define us. My dad was a testament to that. He made a conscious decision to live a different life than the one he experienced during his early years. Once he found his way, he stayed on course.
The Bill you know is a caretaker, a loving husband and a proud father. He’s probably helped most of you in this room: driving you to an appointment, mowing your lawn, helping you move or supporting you through prayer. Dad always made time for others and was generous to a fault.
He liked marching to the beat of his own drum. You’re all familiar with his quirky sense of humor: delivering jokes in a stern manner, wearing his nametag upside down, shaking hands with his left hand, and his signature lines – like the one he used when introducing myself or my brothers: “he’s good looking just like his pa.” Of course, it’s a little funnier when used with me.
Dad had a positive outlook – seeking the best part of any challenge, focusing on the lesson learned and looking forward. He wouldn’t admit to worrying or being afraid. He felt that if he stayed positive, it would all work out, and it usually did. He gave the best hugs and had the biggest heart.
What you may not know about him is his love of classic cars, especially Studebakers, tugboats, movies and everything Alaska. Or his keen sense of direction. Or that his favorite meal was breakfast. Or that he had a weakness for sweets, especially cookies and ice cream.
Of course, dad wasn’t perfect. He was stubborn and overly independent. It took a major stroke AND cancer for him to learn how to ask for and accept help. He also didn’t like to disappoint people, especially my brothers and me. Sometimes he modified answers for each of us depending on what he thought we’d like to hear. My brother Darin coined this as “dad spreading the jelly.” Dad liked that so much, he used the expression himself ☺
And while he liked all sorts of people, he especially had a soft spot for women. The truth is he liked most everyone except my boyfriends. Most were intimidated by him. At 6’2”, his broad frame and crew cut – he didn’t have to try very hard. But as you all know, he was truly a gentle giant.
Dad was most proud of his children. He loved that each of us found our path to happiness. That we earned college degrees, including advanced degrees for John and me. He was proud of John’s artistic talent and following his calling, Darin’s ability to fix anything and friend everyone and my adventurous spirit and successful career.
He was also a proud grandfather. Darin and Susan’s baby, Logan brought him great joy over the past year – watching him crawl and explore. He enjoyed thinking about Logan having his height and Darin’s personality.
I was fortunate to spend the final weeks with my dad—time that I will always cherish. One of my favorite stories he would tell is about the time I arrived from Korea. My mom had terrible morning sickness—pregnant with John. So my dad took care of me the first few days while she stayed in bed. When he had to go back to work, he showed her the routine and where to find everything. On the first day, dad came home during lunch to check on us and he said I had the biggest smile when I saw him and nearly fell off the couch, reaching for him.
So I guess we bring the expression “daddy’s girl” to life – we had a special bond from the beginning. As he would often tell me, “I wouldn’t send you back for anything” and I would reply “It’s too late anyway.”
I love you dad.