Monday, May 19, 2008

Eulogy

My Father passed away last week. Writing the Eulogy was very difficult for me and my two brothers, Chris and David. Fortunately, my brother in law Jim was kind enough to make himself available and organize our thoughts into a beautifully written eulogy. We simply could not have prepared such a well written eulogy that properly conveyed the love and respect we shared without him. My oldest son Brady delivered the eulogy. I have never been more proud of anything, at anytime in my life as I was of Brady that day. I include the text here in honor of my Father and for those who requested a copy to read:

I thank you all for coming to this celebration of the life of Angie Santos
For those of you who don't know me, I'm proud to tell you that I am Angie Santos' grandson Brady Santos. It is an honor and a privilege for me to deliver this eulogy for my grandfather. I know that he would be overwhelmed to know that there are so many good people here today who are paying their respects to him, and giving their love and support to his family at this difficult time.

Angelo, Angie, Ange, Papu, Grandpa, Grandpa Angie, Uncle A, Skip, Nutsy, Mr. Santos. Those were some of the names for the man whom we knew and loved as a husband, a father, a father-in-law, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend, and a colleague.

To fully understand just who Angelo Santos was, it is important to know about his beginnings. He was born in the United States on Sept 19th, 1935, to a proud Albanian immigrant couple. Born in D.C., Angie was proud of the fact that he was a true Washingtonian,
His parents, Lillian and Leo (AKA, the Captain), like many immigrants, saw the beauty and promise of life in the United States, and they left everyone and everything they knew and loved in the Old Country to come to the United States to create a life of opportunity and prosperity for their family. And, like so many other immigrants, Lillian and the Captain succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in building a new life in the United States and starting a family
Angie followed his beloved brother Charlie in birth, and was the 2nd child and 2nd son of Lillian and the Captain. Soon Angie and Charlie were joined by their beautiful and loving sisters Helen and Tina. These four children of Lillian and the Captain would grow up together and grow close, remaining nearly inseparable as they made their way through the vagaries of life: In times of joy, they were celebrants together. In times of sorrow, pillars of strength to one another.

Lillian and the Captain prized the ideals of family, honor, integrity, and hard work, and they ensured that those ideals were instilled in Charlie, Angie, Helen, and Tina. All of you who knew my Grandfather know personally how he lived his live in accordance with those ideals. By any measure, my Grandfather's life was one of success and fulfillment.

After college he graduated from accounting school and became a CPA. Then, not content merely to be a successful accountant, he set his sights on the very important work of raising a family and being a successful husband and a father. In particular, he set his sights on a certain genteel Southern lady named Margaret McCreight. Although none of you should be surprised to know that Margaret was a former beauty queen, many of you will be surprised to know that she was a renowned Washington nightclub singer way back when, belting out torch songs in the smoky gin palaces of the city. In June 1965, they married. They raised three fine sons together Randy, Chris, and David, and my Grandfather worked hard to ensure that the ideals of his parents were also instilled his boys. Randy, my dad, and Chris and David, my uncles, are successful today, in part, because of my Grandfather's efforts.

My Grandfather was not only successful as a husband, father, and provider, but also as an entrepreneur and businessman. At the beginning of his CPA career, my Grandfather worked for the IRS. After a few years, he left the Dark Side, and set up shop with his beloved brother Charlie. My Grandfather and Charlie started their CPA firm in the late 1960s and it still exists today. Their other business ventures, such as the late, great D'Angelos Restaurant, were very successful as well. Many of you here today have such fond memories of D'Angelos and the cast of characters who, it seems, resided there on a permanent basis. My Grandfather and his brother Charlie were successful, I think, not just because they were smart businessmen, but also because they were each other's best friend and true partners for life. My Grandfather and his brother made the most of their respective strengths in each venture, and in each venture the love and respect they had for one another was plainly evident.

In retirement, my grandfather took great joy in spending time with his 7 grandsons, and watching his beloved Cardinals, Caps, and Fighting Irish. Even towards the end of his struggle, he still asked whether Alex Ovechkin scored a goal or whether Albert Pulholes hit a home run.

Family was the centerpiece of his life. He adored his extended family of wonderful loving nieces and nephews. Being surrounded by such a unique closely knit family with so much love provided him with imesurable happiness in life.

But aside from his family and relatives, and his business, perhaps nothing gave my Grandfather more joy than food. He would plan his day around food, At breakfast, he would discuss what to have for lunch and where to have it. At lunch, he would start to plan what to have for dinner and where to have it. And so on. When he travelled, it was not just to see new places, but more importantly to eat. Also, I can’t think of very many people who think nothing of driving over a hour just to have dinner.

It is impossible to describe a person fully in just a few short paragraphs. My grandfather's life did not lend itself to such a tidy summation, and this eulogy is but one small attempt to illustrate a life richly lived.

Certainly, all of us here today have our own memories. And those memories merge into a beautiful mosaic of the man we knew as Angelo, Angie, Ange, Papu, Grandpa, Grandpa Angie, Uncle A, Skip, Nutsy, and Mr. Santos

But however beautiful that mosaic may be, it is still incomplete. It is incomplete because it cannot capture the infinite scope of relationships that we the living have with one another because of my Grandfather's presence in our lives. I think, however, one common theme to be found in each of our memories of my Grandfather is that he was an unconditionally loving husband and father who provided so much for so many people through the fruits of his labors

He passed from this world with his loving family by his side. This, I feel, is a true testament to the character and success of a man so deeply loved in his lifetime.

So let us celebrate his life today. Let us remember him well as a quiet man of integrity and honor. Let us treasure the relationships that we formed through my Grandfather's presence during his time with us.

4 comments:

Keith Barraclough said...

Very, Very nice Randy
Beautifully written.
All my best to you and your family!

Dave Santos said...

Randy, where have you been? Get back to the blogging.

Randy Santos said...

Dave-

The gravitational pull of the Black Hole I currently reside in has been more powerful than initially anticipated. Recent calculations indicate a return to Earth's relative space/time the first week in July.

See here for further explanation:

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1997/blackholes-1112.html

Tom said...

Randy...my condolences to you and your family. The eulogy was truly poetic. Take care and continue to create!

Tom (DRR)