Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Eulogy For My Father

My father passed away at 3:31 pm on 3/31.  My heart aches and my head is fuzzy. Until you go through something like this, you will never understand the pain, confusion, depression, and millions of details you have to deal with when something like this happens.

One of the worst things I had to do was write and deliver a speech at my father's funeral.  My siblings decided not to do this, and I felt that one of us should give him that honor, so I did it.  Below is what I wrote and delivered...... along with his obituary that I had to also write.... which is at the bottom.

Rest in peace daddy, you did good, real good.


Before I begin I would like to thank all of you here on behalf of my mother, and my siblings, for your efforts large and small to be here today, it means more to us than words can express.

It is said that you can measure a man by the number of friends he has, and if that is true, then by what I see before me- my dad was a great man.  My dad has been many things to many people and I want to touch on just a few of them today.

My dad’s been a cowboy. In fact, I remember a time he was trying to break a horse on my grandpa’s farm down in Las Animas. My dad was giving that horse a good lesson in behaving, and that darn horse bucked him off.  He cracked some ribs, and was hurting, but I never heard him complain. Well, at least until we watched The Great Outdoors, a John Candy film, and he was laughing soo hard he would cry out in pain as he clutched the pillows to his side and we had to turn the movie off.

My dad’s been a farmer. We lived on 5 acres in southeast Loveland and we had horses, pigs, dogs, cats and many other unwanted creatures especially prairie dogs.  My siblings and I all have memories of bailing hay, but my sister’s is the most hilarious.  She was tasked with driving old whitey, the manual pickup truck, and Michael and Larry were in the back. Dad was throwing bales of hay into the truck.  If you knew our property at all, there was a slight downhill slope on the south end. Well, apparently, as Crystal (who was only maybe 14 at the time) was driving downhill and trying to turn the truck she almost lost control as she was trying to shift and turn. Dad was banging on the side of the truck, Michael and Larry were hanging on for dear life in the back…. And that’s something that I wish I could have seen.

Believe it or not, my dad’s been a cheerleader. I played sports from 5th grade through college, and my dad was at every possible game he could make.  He would harass the refs and simultaneously be cheering me on. I never had to look into the stands to wonder if my parents were there, because I could hear him encouraging me the whole game through.

My dad’s been a tax accountant.  Now I don’t know the full story of how he chose that career, but he was very good at numbers.  I don’t know how he did what he did, but I always seemed to get money back, well, most of the time.  I’ve met many other tax accountants, and somehow my dad never seemed to fit that mold. I think because his laughter was so big and he could cut loose with the best of them.
My dad’s been a gamer.  He always loved to play games. He could be tired after a long day at work, or not feeling the best, and if anyone was up for a game of Yahtzee, or cards he would perk right up.  He loved hearts, spades, phase 10, golf, the dice game, Yahtzee, and more.  His entire face would light up as he would go out, or get a really big dice roll and he would do a little jig in his chair.  On the other hand, if anyone else would get a good hand he’d call out, “cheat cheat cheat”. 

My dad’s been a fisherman.  He loved to go fishing. He’s fished in rivers and lakes across the United States, and in many of the oceans.  He loved to walk and fish for hours on end, but would always find the time to teach us kids. He taught all of us how to fish. I remember after a big rain storm I’d be outside with my flashlight picking up the fattest slimiest nightcrawlers putting them in a coffee can, dreaming about the big fish it was going to catch. 

My father has been many things, but he’ll always be my daddy. 
(Here's how I was going to close but my daughter asked to read a verse at the funeral and I had her say her verse here instead, it's below in blue)
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my Father’s favorite Celtic bands, the Elders:
Please don’t cry my Father as you sit by the hearth
I will dance your memories with joy in my heart
I will go now and pray as I travel this land
And live by the lessons you gave

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy, Philippians 1:3-4

The obituary can be read at the Loveland Reporter Herald:

Lyle Dean Landis
August 1944- March 2015

Lyle Dean Landis, a-typical tax accountant, outdoor enthusiast, vacationing buddy, and overall friend died peacefully on March 31st, 2015. Lyle was born in Steele City, NE to Roy and Eutha Landis.  He graduated high school from Fairbury, NE in 1962.  Shortly after graduation he joined the United States Air Force in 1964 where he served for 4 years which included an 18 month tour in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Lyle completed 2 years at Fairbury junior college and received his bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Metro State in Denver, CO.  Lyle worked for the Airline industry for 10 years where he met the love of his life, Mary Teresa Sanchez to whom he was married for almost 39 years.
 Lyle was a self-made man who the IRS learned to fear during his 35+ years as a tax accountant. When he wasn’t busy with the tax season and making his clients laugh, he loved to golf.  During the summers he loved fishing, and was known to tie his own flies on occasion.  One of his great adventures was hunting black bears in Iowa. Lyle also enjoyed elk & deer hunting, all over the state of Colorado and was nicknamed “The Great White Hunter” by his brothers.
For a good time, Lyle was the right person to call. He loved to travel and he loved vacations.  He traveled to Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, and visited most of the United States. He particularly loved the rugged beauty and amazing fishing in Alaska.
Lyle was loved dearly by his wife Mary, and children Crystal (husband Mike, children Daniel, and Matthew), Michael (wife Stephanie, child Aryana), Larry (girlfriend Tanya), Shamree (husband Josh, children Abigail, Nehemiah, and Josiah); mother Eutha, siblings Charlotte, Les, Paul, Sharon, and Mark; and many-in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family too numerous to list but not forgotten.
Memorial Service will be held at 10:00am on Friday April 10th at Foundations Church in Loveland.  Memorial Contributions may be made to Nation to Nation Ministries, Inc. (serving the Lakota people on Pine Ridge Reservation) and/or the Cancer & Caregiver Art Program at the McKee Medical Cancer Center, attention; Gale Coddington. 

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