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[personal profile] lordshipmayhem
It was a very nice funeral, as funerals go. I have to say though, that like Kalten of the Sapphire Rose I prefer to keep my friends and relatives alive.



We met many, many friends from Dad's past: from his youth, from high school, from General Motors, from his 31 years on the fire department, from his church, from his income tax business, from the grief support group he and Margaret met at. One of his buddies toured Ontario with him on their motorcycles in a more innocent, pre-Hell's-Angels age.

It was a firefighter's funeral. There were honour guards during the visitation, standing stiffly at "repose" with drill fire axes (I never saw "drill" fire axes before - rifles yes, but not fire axes) with thickly-varnished ash handles and shiny silver blades, and six pallbearers all from the Oshawa Fire Service. We're told that there was a major bunfight as to who would be pallbearers - Dad was quite popular, and there were far more volunteers for the six positions than needed. Apparently rank was pulled, and in the end we had four captains, one platoon chief and the Deputy Chief.

The City went all out too. My cousin works for them, and showed us the e-mail the Office of the Mayor sent to "*everyone" who works for the City. The language was nicely inclusive (usually you get three silos, "city employees", "firefighters" and "police officers", not this time, a "retired employee of the City of Oshawa, Fire Service Captain [etc.]) and included a line stating that City Hall was lowering the flag to half-staff and "suggesting" (i.e., "do this or else") that all other buildings the city owned/leased that had flags out front do the same until after the funeral.

One of the visitors was a man who had worked for the City when Dad was on the firefighters' negotiating committee. He had to come, he said, because Dad always treated the City's team in even the most acrimonious negotiations as just human beings doing their jobs, not as clones of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

One of the amusing moments was being told that apparently pedestrians and drivers out on King Street were being startled into thinking that the funeral home was on fire, as a shiny red-and-white fire truck would be in front with its four-ways flashing. They rotated trucks from all four stations across Oshawa so all on-duty firefighters could spend some time consoling us. The fire department figures that it's OK - the truck's crews are still reachable by their belt radios.

At the funeral itself, they had an overflow crowd at the funeral home's chapel. So many people, all united in memory of one kind man.

Until we meet again, Dad.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-12-01 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] musicgeekstress.livejournal.com
Dear Gary-- we should all hope to live a life as full as your dad's, even within the limited time he had. His memory will live on with all the people he's touched.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-12-02 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lordshipmayhem.livejournal.com
Definitely. All who have met him have talked about how kind and generous he was, and how much he enjoyed life and those around him.

The more friends you have when you pass away, the old saying goes, the more truly wealthy you were. In terms of friends, Dad was a billionaire.

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