From the Eulogy given by Chris Zaetta
December 24, 2018, Holy Family Church, Latrobe, PA
How do you do justice, in just a few short words, to a life of a man who has done so much for so many, who has touched lives beyond what even he could ever appreciate, and a man who was loved by everyone who ever knew him?
Alan was a lot of things to a lot of people, and I’ll never capture them all. Here’s my attempt. To you, he was a teacher, a mentor, a carpenter, a drinking buddy, a fishing guide, a hunting partner, a metal detecting partner, the best golfer in your foursome, a coach, a trivia partner, the Chief, a brother, a husband, a cousin, an uncle, a grandfather, and a father. To me, he was a father figure, a friend, a moral compass, and someone who was an inspiration on how to lead life the right way. And I’m going to miss him terribly.
Upon Alan’s retirement, Deneen said her father was “the richest man she knows.” Deneen wasn’t talking about the size of Alan’s bank accounts or assets, the size of his house, or the number of cars he owned. Deneen was describing the way in which her father led his life. Every day it was filled with love for his family and friends, an enthusiasm for living, and a boundless energy and compassion for those who needed it.
Indeed, if the richness of one’s life is measured in large part by those they’ve influenced, you don’t need to look any further than the quality of the people in the pews of this church to give an A grade to Alan.
Alan had so many classic sayings, many of which he repeated over and over again. I thought I’d share some of my favorites:
On parenting, “the greatest gift you can give is your time,”; On golfing: “Let the club do the work,”: on teasing his daughter “I didn’t mean to,”; on life, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it”; on election day, “Elizabeth, you just canceled out my vote,”; on the Masters, “A sure sign of spring,” on surprises, “What the hell?”; on the guy who good-naturedly gets under every one’s skin: “That Benji,”; on hard times “Oh well,”; on happy occasions, “I’ll have to have a beer on that.”; on battling cancer: “it’s nothing we can’t handle.” and finally at the end of happy times, “all good things must come to an end…”
On behalf of Alan who was a teacher in one way or another to all of us, I have a homework assignment for all of you. Some of my very best times with Alan were drinking a cold beer together, particularly after a round of golf. I ask each of you as some point over this Christmas and New Year’s holiday to raise a glass of cold beer to Alan. Close your eyes and think of what he was to you, how his rich life enriched yours, a great story about him, or one of his classic sayings.
Then tell him how much you loved him.
I sure did.
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