My name is Bruce Perry and I am Georges largest nephew, and one of his Biggest Fans!
When I was asked to give this eulogy, I must admit, I was a bit reluctant as I’m not a very strong person when it comes to these situations…dealing with death or dieting, have never been my strong points.
In searching for the right words to describe George, I turned to my dad Francis (his only living sibling).
He talked about family life on the farm in Hardwick, as young boys growing up (George being the youngest of 8 boys with one younger sister), how smart George was at school, graduating with high honors from Hardwick Academy in 1948. Also how George always took extra attention to his appearance, being well groomed and neatly dressed.
During Georges high school years, he worked for a local soda bottler. After graduating high school George joined the military and served for the country he deeply loved.
Upon returning from serving in the military, George stayed my father Francis, and mother Eleanor in New York City while working at a furniture store. My dad told me of how Georges late nights of playing the harmonica, just about drove my mother crazy.
George then met and married the love of his life Jeanette, together they went on to have two adorable children, Spencer and Katie. He was very proud of his kids and their accomplishments. Accomplishments like Spencer bringing his wife Kim and Minnie (the Grand-Dog) into the family and Katie keeping them all in tow with her law degree. Family meant a lot to George, whether it was his wife and children, his siblings spread out across the States, or his nieces and nephews, George always cherished them and held them close in his heart.
I then turned to my cousin Sharon for her memories of George; she told me how George always made her feel special, how he lit the room up with his smile and how important family was to him. She recalled how close George and her father Lawrence were throughout the years. How they did not need to voice their thoughts, that they always knew what each were thinking by just looking into each other’s eyes.
The next person I spoke to was Buster. Buster was his classmate in school and I had asked him if he could share anything about George that I could pass along to everyone here today. Buster recalled how he was friends with George and he remembered him as one hell of a football player….obviously George being (at best) 120 pounds soaking wet, I felt that maybe I needed a second opinion on this….after checking with dad, I guess maybe Buster might have been hit with one too many footballs to his head in his Football career.
I have many fond memories of George over the years, from the times spent at weddings, birthdays, reunions, funerals and many phone conversations. When I would hear from George, he would always say “Hi Bruce it’s Uncle George, Just calling to check in”. He was always calling to check in, not because it was routine, but because of his love of his family. He had a heart of gold, and always put everyone else first before thinking of himself. I received a call two weeks ago from George, he was just checking in, but it was more than just that, he heard that my house was flooded and he was calling to make sure that we were okay, offering his support and asking if we needed anything and how he could help. George truly was one in a million.
One thing I will never forget, that makes me smile even to this day, was the look on my uncle Georges face when he opened the breakfast menu in a hotel in New York City. I’ve never seen Georges eyes get so big, his expression was priceless when he looked at me and said “Bruce, we cannot afford this coffee, Lets Go!” The $6 cup of coffee and $14 scrambled eggs, was just a bit too much for George to handle. While we walked out of the restaurant, He turned to me and said that we can find something cheaper off the street.
Every spring and fall, I would drive dad and Shirley while Katie would drive George and Jeanette to meet at Bellows Falls for a visit and have lunch. The common theme at these lunch dates were George and dad arguing over who’s turn it was to pick up the check, I remembered this all too well as I would watch them arguing while I was up paying our bill. ….true priceless moments, which was money well spent!
In closing I want to read this poem I came across and thought it would be fitting, although I rewrote it to fit my point……..it is now entitled “I’m proud to be in your dash George”
I’M PROUD TO BE IN YOUR DASH
I read of a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on his tombstone from the beginning to the end
He noted that first came his date of birth and spoke the following date with tears
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time that he spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved him know what that little line is worth
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash
So think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged;
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So George as I read this eulogy with your life’s actions to rehash,
I’m so very proud to be with-in your dash.
Rest in Peace George… and Thank you for being you…..