Eulogy for grandfather

Example eulogy - by Mike Buechel

Today, I have the honour of reintroducing you to Francis Alois Buechel—better known to many as “Pa”.

Born December 3, 1928. Son of Edwin and Helen, brother of Viola, Husband to Alice, Father of six children, 17 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, friend and storyteller to all else who meet him.

We are here today to remember the life and legacy he leaves on the earth.  It was a long and simple life: never complex and always with good, honest intentions.

I would like to reflect on the person Grandpa was. 

I could stand here for the better part of the day and reminisce about all the stories grandpa was either part of or he told, and for those who knew Grandpa, you understand how long those stories could be.

We will cover some of those, but overall I would like to remember the person grandpa was and what he has done for everyone he met.

Grandpa was above all else a family man, followed very closely by storyteller. 

He had the ability to have a witty comeback for almost any conversation, something that he definitely passed on to everyone in the family. 

You never knew what little pun he had just waiting for the conversation, but you knew there would be one, followed by that smile and laugh you just knew he loved to show off.

Family man is a term not appreciated nearly enough these days.  Today, there is more emphasis put on who we are and what we accomplish.  Grandpa though, was the epitome of how great and unselfish it is to put those in your family first.

Grandma and Grandpa never asked for much.  They drove plain, simple vehicles, lived in a modest home, and never took anything in life for granted.

Grandma and Grandpa put everyone in their family first. 

I have heard the story a hundred times about grandpa selling the business to the boys.  It was always presented as him seeing the boys wanting to grow the business and move it at a pace he wasn’t really interested in.

He was happy with how things were, so he sold it to them so they could expand and grow the business the way they felt best…

Now I was barely even alive at this point, so I am going to take the following assumption from what I knew about Grandpa and what made him tick.

I personally believe the sale of the business had more to do with Grandpa wanting to keep everyone happy and keep peace in the family.

Knowing Grandpa, I don’t think it was in his nature to just give something like that over when he was so young.

Grandpa, was of course, a very driven person.  You do not become the largest pig farmer in a whole county by being ok with “average”.

You do not pay off a bank loan on your first splitter ahead of schedule, when you were first told by the bank “we aren’t going to give you the money because you will fail”.

No—Grandpa had a work ethic and drive that he was very modest about.  So why then would grandpa sell his business that he developed into a success?  I believe it was because his love of his family and desire to keep the peace with his boys.

It was not only this act that showed what a family man grandpa was.  If there was a holiday to be celebrated by Grandma and Grandpa you were pretty sure it wasn’t going to be on the actual day—Christmas was never Christmas day.

This way everyone in the family could celebrate with their other families on that day.

Grandpa, was of course, all about keeping the peace in the family.  I don’t know if we all really thought about it that way.

It’s easy to just dismiss it and say it’s what our family does, not really thinking about why.  That’s ok, It keeps the peace then, just as Grandpa wanted it.

Grandpa was also a very devote husband to his wife.

They used to go to the mall every Sunday, just to walk around and hold hands, and maybe buy grandma a piece of jewellery at JC Penny’s.

I don’t honestly know if I ever really saw one without the other.  Just like going to their house, if you came to the door, chances are they were at the table together, grandpa at the head of the table, grandma to the right.

They had a life together that was inspirational.  Sure, through the years I’m sure there were issues they had to work through.  No matter the issue, they made the most of their life together.

Even these last few days, the love you could see in Grandma’s eyes for this man she went through life with was nothing short of amazing.

Grandpa hanging on to allow grandma time to smile at him and gently hold her hand one day longer.  We can all learn from them, our time together is short, even 63 years together is barely a blip in the realm of the world.

Some say it’s what you leave on this earth that shows what you did with your life.

What Grandpa was able to help me see is it is more important to grow old with style and dignity and give everything you can to the people you love.

Now, Grandpa would likely state how difficult it was in his golden years: hard to breath—coughing those three deep coughs in a row over and over that made you think a lung would spit right out on the table.

Yes, no amount of bee pollen pills was going to make him feel better… (but of course to him they did).

Grandpa grew old with dignitary because he kept his wife happy.  He’d chauffeur Grandma and her sister’s around like they were rock stars—it was always funny when he’d stop at work with them—he’s had the biggest grin on his face!

Grandpa made sure grandma was happy, and that is something that we should all take pride in.  It was never about individual accomplishment with him, it was about their life together.

I would never say I was the closest in the family with grandpa, or the best grand kid, but what I would say is there is no one else in the world I would have wanted as a grandpa.

He taught all of us in the family what it meant to do an honest day’s work. I can remember as a youngster playing outside on a Saturday or Sunday watching grandpa drive his little Massey Ferguson forklift to his quarry on Paradise road.

He’d get together a pallet of stone, and then drive back to work to do what he needed with it.

Work had to be done, and if there was time, it needed to get taken care of.

He was not one to sit still too long, whether it was to saw stone, or later in his career driving his single axle truck he was so proud of, he’d make sure he did his job.

As a side note—Grandpa was a perfectionist that would drive us non-perfectionist absolutely crazy.

Loading grandpa’s truck was an art form, and if you had something a little out of place, he’d make sure you knew it… every pallet had a place, every strap had a location, every load an exact drop spot to be delivered to.

Grandpa’s maps were a source of extreme pride for him…  Don’t try to give Grandpa a direction that didn’t have an exact route.

I’ll never forget how excited he was when he got a Calumet County road map that had every road and route you could take.

When being “the gofer”—pa’s nickname for himself because he would “go for” whatever was needed at work, it wouldn’t matter where he was going or how many times he had been there—those maps were getting whipped out.

For those of you who knew Dick Kaiser, those two going around and around about how to get to a job site was always a battle to the end.  The man who couldn’t give a direction with the man that couldn’t get there without.

Anyway—back to my point from before—it wouldn’t be a eulogy about grandpa without a random story getting thrown in the middle.

Grandpa taught all of us the importance of being honest in our work and doing the best job you can.

When Grandpa was getting older, he got into woodworking, specifically doll cradles and Christmas mangers.  Grandpa was always so proud of the work he put into these.

His mangers were a thing of beauty, taking old barn board off his barn and cutting them down to the last piece of wood he could get out of them.

He had an assembly process for making those mangers down to a science that Henry Ford would have been impresses with.

Did I mention grandpa was fickle?

I loved the way he would save every little piece of wood and nothing would go to waste.

I cleaned out grandma and grandpa’s car garage this past year… what a good laugh I had inside.  That man saved every little scrap piece of wood you could imagine. 

It was so funny because he was feeling pretty good the day I did it, so sure enough, grandpa made his way to the basement to see how I was doing, or more likely, what I was doing.

I loaded the wood onto a pallet, and as I was taking the pallet away from the house a cutoff shovel handle rolled off the pallet. Of course grandpa picked it up and said, “I’ll keep this one piece, I might need this yet.” 

But I digress… I’m certain I have grandpa’s random storytelling and smart alack dysfunction too…

So in concluding our memory on the life of “Pa” Buechel, I want you all to remember that he was one of the best people you may ever have had the honour of meeting.

I understand that’s a bold statement, but I believe it to be very true.

The people that make the biggest impact in the world are people like grandpa—honest, truthful, and putting the needs of their family first, it’s bigger than I think Pa even realized.

Remember, this is a man who likely did not realize how big a deal it was that he took a risk and made a decision that affected thousands of people.

As Rick Schneider, a salesperson at Buechel Stone was told by one of his customers: “That very decision Francis made that day to buy a stone splitter did not just change you and me, it changed the stone industry” …

Yet I stand here telling you that decision was not nearly as significant for everyone here as the decision he made to love and care for his family.

I know one thing for sure—Grandpa will always have my back.