Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stephen Graham Rainey (Aug 23, 1942 - Sep 20, 2014)
Bruce’s Cousin and Grandson of Carl Gustav Westerdahl                           
Eulogy by Stephen’s son Keith, edited to fit the TWIG format. 

My dad embodied the Cajun phrase “joi de vivre”, or “love of life.” He always had a smile and a quick joke even for someone he never met. He received great joy in helping others – either on his own or through numerous service organizations. He was on the Board of Trustees of this church (First United Methodist), he helped make repairs anywhere and anytime they were needed.

Dad loved sports. We used to go to almost every University of Louisiana at Lafayette football or basketball game. He supported the Ragin’ Cajuns for a long time even though he attended Auburn.  Golf, tennis, bowling, and fishing were his personal favorites. It was his chance to be outdoors and to be with friends.

Speaking of friends, if you were his friend for a day, you were a friend for life. Many of the people here have known him for 30 – 40 years or longer. Even if they didn’t communicate often, he was always ready to spend some time with friends.

Dad loved to sing, and his deep baritone could fill any room with sweet music. He spent many Sundays sitting in the choir loft doing something he loved.

Dad was a conservationist before that was the thing to be. He was always turning off lights, adjusting the thermostat, saving metals for recycling, and growing his own garden. We ate  organic foods before we knew what organic was. He always wanted us to be members of his “green bean” team so we would eat our vegetables.

I am sad that he had to leave so soon. I am sad that he won’t see all of his grandkids grow up and maybe become a great-grandfather. I am sad that I won’t see his smile or hear any more of his golf or fishing stories.

I am glad, however, that he didn’t have to suffer. With his disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease), that was a real possibility. I am glad that he was such a positive influence on so many people. I am glad that I was able to talk to him and thank him for teaching me about life. And I am glad that he touched each of your lives in a way that led you here today so we can  all say our farewells together.

So many of you told me that you will always remember his smile, which I will too; but also remember him as a husband, a brother, a dad, a cousin, an uncle, a grandfather, and a friend that spent his life selflessly helping others in an expression of Christ’s love and sacrifice. When he stood at this altar over forty years ago to join this church; he promised to support it by his prayers, his presence, his gifts, and his service. I think he fulfilled his promise and it is our turn to carry it on.

I love you, Dad, and I will miss you.

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