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Opa Eulogy
Martin Harth
September 2, 1911 - December 7, 2009
Eulogy - Spoken on December 10, 2009

He was an Opa and an Opapa.

He was a husband, father, brother, son, and uncle.

He was a tailor, a soldier, a boxer, a coxswain.

He was a philanthropist, activist, and poet.

He was an artist and a strong coffee maker.

He was a thumb twiddler and a hand holder.

He was a black squirrel feeder and a Twin Donut purchaser.

He was a piano player and super 8 filmmaker.

He was a bushy eyebrow owner and a soft gentle speaker.

He was a shenanigan creator and an orchestrator of fake tripping.

He was a Chanukah Mench and a brown paper bag party commander.

He was a sweater vest connoisseur and an expert challah slicer.

He was a survivor, a veteran, and a democrat.

He was a German, an American, and a Jew.

He was a master at the creation of Quaker Oat Meal cylinder cars.

He gave himself haircuts, recycled tin foil and reused napkins.

He taught me how to draw perspective and how to see light in a dark corner.

He sewed holes in my shirts, shortened my pants and fastened my buttons.

He had a direct connection with God and a direct connection with my heart.

If you asked Opa, "How do you feel?"
Even until a few weeks ago he would respond with "I feel with my fingers."

When you asked Opa what day it was - he would answer something like this,
"Yesterday was Wednesday, tomorrow is Friday."

While on the 11th floor of a 12-story building, if you wish to go down
on the elevator, Opa would press the up button, not the down button.
His reasoning: The elevator must come up first to get you.

On rainy days, Opa would always say that the sun was always shining.
It was after all still shining if you were above the clouds.

If you were with Opa in a parking lot full of cars and you were looking
for a spot to park, Opa would say, "I see plenty of parking spots"
Only they were all already taken!

Opa would always say to me before I would fly on an airplane "Don't
open the door when the plane is in motion." I continue to take his advice.

He saved piles of coins for Cara and I that were issued in the years
we were born and every year would give them to us on our birthday.  

Every time you said goodbye to Opa, he would walk you out or see you
down the road while waving his hand or white handkerchief.

He and Oma took Cara and I everywhere. To the Concord in the Catskills
and to the The Train & Plane parks of Orange County. From the
USS Intrepid to Lady Liberty. From the Circle Line to the A-Train.
From Rockefeller Center to The Empire State Building.

He wrote letters to the President of the United States and he received
correspondence back from the President of the United States.

To all those who commute into Manhattan by car; if you are traveling
down the West Side Highway and you get to 23rd St, you can make a left
onto 23rd St at the traffic light. Years ago there was no traffic light
there. Opa had written the city and suggested this traffic pattern
alteration. He may have made it happen, or not. But he had a good
idea, was active about it, and one day - the traffic pattern changed.

I was in the hospital for months as a teenager. Every day my Oma and Opa
were there for me. Every day they visited me. Every day. For many weeks.
For many months. I will never forget the love they have given me for
all of my life. In his last days, I was with Opa every day. And every
day, he will be in my heart.

Opa would often say "Have a good day, and a better day tomorrow."
Today is a good day for Opa.

Ever since Oma died in 2005, Opa wanted to die as well. He would often
tell me how he was tired - Dead Tired. Opa never feared death. He was
never afraid. If you would ask him about death he always responded with
"You aren't around to experience it, because you are dead."

There is a poem I would like to have read at my own funeral. I won't
be around for my own funeral so I shall read that poem here. The poem
is by W. H. Auden and was first published in 1936. It is titled
"Funeral Blues" and is also known as "Stop all the clocks."

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, 
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, 
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum 
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead 
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead. 
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, 
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West, 
My working week and my Sunday rest, 
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; 
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. 

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, 
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, 
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; 
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

A few more things about Opa:

His love was more powerful than the gulf stream,
and larger than Mt. Kilimanjaro.

His love was brighter than a thousand stars,
and more solid than the Great Wall of China.

His love was warmer than the earth's core,
and had a greater duration than eternity.

He was the definition of chivalry.

He was the king of giving.

He was the teacher of love.

He was an institution.

He was a hero.

A gift.

A legend.

He was my Opa.

 2009 David Greg Harth