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He Served Us Well

January 6, 2011

Today is the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death. He passed away in his sleep in his own bed the morning of January 6, 2009. It was the Feast of the Epiphany – he made it through the Christmas season with us.

Below is the eulogy I wrote and delivered after his funeral mass.

I miss you, Dad.

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My father, Ed, was a lot of fun. He loved to entertain and attend parties. He celebrated life. He made life enjoyable and look easy. As my brother-in-law, Curt Fisher, once wrote about him so eloquently, ‘he wore the garment of life loosely’.
But if this alone is how you knew Ed, you weren’t watching closely enough. Because thru this all, he worked hard, lived his values, followed God’s word, and served us well.

In Ed’s professional life, he sold life insurance – not a particularly fun way to earn a living. He worked six days a week, and often late into the evening. He called on customers, chased down sales appointments, and collected insurance premiums to make sure his clients kept their insurance in force for their protection. He often went into some tough inner city neighborhoods to keep those appointments and collect those premiums. He had stories of being shot at trying to do his job. He struggled dealing with some difficult and dishonest people. He often spent hours going over his collections making sure his book of business balanced, and sweating accounting for pennies when they didn’t.

One summer during college I worked in dad’s office. One of dad’s client’s came to the office about their account. Dad wasn’t there, but his boss, and friend of many years, George Gunkel, was. The customer was angry because they were confused and thought they had been cheated on their account. George helped them, and I overheard him confidently assure the customer that he’d known Mr. Novick for many years and that Mr. Novick would never do something dishonest. I sensed that George truly believed that, and felt confident in the knowledge that his employee was honest and trustworthy. George helped the customer understand their account and resolve their concern.
Ed served his customers and his company well. He was honest, dependable, accountable, productive and caring for his clients. These are the values Ed would want us to learn from his life.

In Ed’s public life, he coached baseball – the Marauders – the Orange. He loved baseball, and coaching it lit his fire in life. In over 30 years of managing he won over 400 games and won many championships.

Dad celebrated after games, seasons, and championships. He loved strategizing and competing. He reveled in the discipline of practice, practice, practice, that helped his teams succeed, and the confidence of knowing that his team was always the most prepared team on the field, even when they weren’t always the best.

Ed served his players, their families, and his community well. He was disciplined, knowledgeable, committed, and driven to succeed. These are the values Ed would want us to learn from his life. These are the values he taught to his players and he was proud of the fact that he taught these life values to hundreds of young men in his community – values that would serve them down the road of life.

In Ed’s faith life, he worshiped regularly and prayed daily. As a young man I would frequently find him sitting quietly in the basement fingering his rosary. He loved the Lord and walked with Him through his days, trials, illnesses and triumphs. He worked to send my brother Michael and I to Catholic schools at no small expense. He promoted and modeled a sober faith in God and His Word. Faith in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and keeping God’s commandments, are values Ed would want us to learn from his life.

In Ed’s personal life, he loved his friends. He was proud and celebrated in the end the wonderful friends that were close to him. Many of you surrounded him so beautifully in his illnesses, and recently in his dying. He took much comfort in your presence.

But to have good friends, one must be a good friend, and dad was one of the best. He was responsive to our needs. He celebrated at our parties – regularly arriving early, and often staying late. He was there for us in our illnesses. He comforted us in our grief. These were values Ed would want us to learn from his life.

Ed loved his family. He was a good husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and godfather. He was supportive, loving and worked to provide for the needs of those who relied on him, and give gifts to those who didn’t.

Ed’s friends and family knew him as charming, fun-loving, caring, concerned, funny, and ever-ready to be there, whenever he was needed. He had charisma and a delightful sense of humor. Treasuring friendships and faithfully loving family were values that Ed would want us to learn from his life.

Ed served us well. He served his customers, his company, his community, his friends, his family – well. In living out the values he held so dearly, and in living out the Gospel and the word of our God so actively, he served us well…and in doing so served our God well by teaching these things to his brothers and sisters in Christ around him.

I’m so proud to be his son, and to bear his name. Thank you for everything, Dad.

In life, Ed was blessed. He was blessed with work, security, and comforts. While challenged by health issues through much of his life, he was blessed with wonderful medical care, the comfort of encouragement and care from loved ones, and a positive mental attitude to overcome whatever challenge life handed him. He was blessed with good friends with good values and loving hearts. He was blessed with a loving family. He was blessed with healthy and able children and grandchildren who were his pride and joy. He was blessed with one of the most precious gifts a man could ask for – a loving, faithful, and frequently forgiving, wife, who helped him through life, and served him so gracefully in his dying and death. He was blessed with an abiding faith that often carried him through the toils of life, and on which he could hope as he passed through the door to eternity.

As we go forward from this place, may we ever cherish Ed’s memory, and honor it by following his example and living the values he demonstrated for us. May we serve each other so well as he as a testament to our own abiding faith, and may we some day join Ed in the communion of saints with our Father in heaven.

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