And the hunter, home from the hill.
We are gathered together to celebrate the life of MCPO, USN (retired, expired). Beloved husband and father.
He was born in the summer of 1879, exact date unknown because of the courthouse record fire of aught-seven, the seventh son and fourth daughter in his family. He was a precocious child, doted on and spoiled by his loving sisters. In high school he loved to play all sports but his first love was football, where as the team captain his senior year, he developed as a natural leader, encouraging his teammates with exhortations like “If ya ain’t cheatin, ya ain’t tryin”, and “who the fuck put my cup in the freezer?”
His fondest desire was to serve the country he loved in the Navy. As a boy his grandfather thrilled him with tales of the sea, adventures, fantastic stories of bravery, victory, and triumph.
Let’s pause for a moment as MCPO’s nephew Bob Earl (or as his mom calls him, “Josh”), the third boy on his sister’s side of the family, renders this tribute.
Please be seated.
MCPO enlisted in 1909, just missing Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” World Tour. He served through two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, the Polyester Conflict, and the off-Broadway productions of Annie, The Lion King and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe. His military decorations include twelve Purple Hearts, various campaign medals, the Croix de Boix with “F” for Fabulous device, and the “White Pantaloon”. Not many people knew he wrote poems, mostly about life in the Navy. I have read a few that his family shared with me, and I was both entertained and very impressed with them. My favorites were “You Say Potay-to, I Say I Slipped and Fell On It”, “There’s Nothing Like Scrubbing a Gun in the Morning Sun”, and “Mistakes from Subic Bay”.
In retirement, after a long and honorable service to the nation, MCPO found joy in spending time with his family, square dancing, political activism, and, the thing he loved most. The game of golf. He spent hours on the links refining his game, whether in sunshine and blue skies, or slightly inclement weather, which, sadly, brought us here today.
Mrs. MCPO, incidentally whose phone number and email address are printed in the back page of the Memorial Brochure you are all holding, confided to me that he was lucid to the very end, and at peace with the end of his struggle. She asked me to share with each of you his final words, which were “Boy I sure hope there’s golf in heaven” and “Having a foot disease named after you isn’t as hot shit as I thought it was gonna be”.
Fair seas and fair winds Master Chief. We’ll never forget you, a shining beacon that helped us avoid the rocks close to shore.