Dear friends, my beloved father has passed on to glory. On December 7th, he suffered a massive stroke, and he took his last earthly breath on Friday, December 8th. He was peaceful throughout, and Chris and I are so blessed to have spent several hours with him just before the stroke. The sorrow for our loss is great, sometimes desperate; but our hope and faith have been a comfort beyond measure. I wrote a eulogy for him, that my older sister read at the service, and he was buried with military honors at Fort Indiantown Gap on December 14th. I am publishing the eulogy here in honor and memory of my loving father, Larry Weirich. May it be a blessing and inspiration to all who read it, just as he was a blessing and inspiration to all who met him.
One of my Dad’s favorite sayings was that a grateful heart is a never ending feast. And as we celebrate his life today, our grateful hearts have so many blessings to count.
Larry grew up in Middletown. He was a devoted son and spent a lot of time with his grandparents. He was a real Huck Finn, always having adventures on the River and the Swatara Creek. He was a tremendous athlete. In high school he was the quarterback on the football team, the point guard on the basketball team, and the pitcher on the baseball team. His love of nature and athletics would follow him through life.
Dad was drafted during Vietnam, and served first in intelligence, living in Panama. He then served in Vietnam, where he became a Christian in a foxhole, and the seeds were planted for Dad’s ever deepening relationship with God.
After Vietnam, Dad attended Penn State, where he met Rosemary, the love of his life. They were married for 42 years.
Somehow, God saw fit to give the 6 foot one star quarterback three girls. And Larry loved it. He delighted in his girls. He taught them how to fish, how to canoe, and how to run a button hook pattern. Larry was completely dedicated to his girls and set his priorities by spending time with them. He was always up for a spontaneous daytrip or a drive, and carted his family all around the state of Pennsylvania and the East Coast.
His love for nature was contagious, and he instilled it in his children. He took us for hikes, out in the canoe and to see new sites from the time we were little up through our college years and beyond. He always had an idea for an adventure, and he shared that adventure with those most important to him, his family.
He loved sports, and he loved to share them with us. He was always ready for a game of pickle or catch in the backyard, and spent countless hours with us playing one sport or another. He never played a day of soccer in his life, until his girls did. Once we started playing, he would take us to a field on Saturdays and play with us. My Dad also never missed a game. I still cannot understand how he was able to juggle work and still make all of our games a priority. Even while we were in college and travelling all around the state and neighboring states, my Dad would be on the sidelines. While we were sure of his steadfast support for us, he was always quiet on the sidelines. Never saying a word. He was there to show his selfless love and to be a consistent part of our lives.
Some of my father’s proudest days were walking his daughters down the aisle. He certainly loved adding some men to the family! My Dad was a spiritual leader to his new sons and a mentor.
Speaking of his proudest days, the births of his four grandchildren are at the top. It was his great joy to spend time with his grandchildren: Annie, Ben, Jane and little Rosie. He taught them how to care for the garden, he was an endless source of story telling and imagination for them and he loved to hold them in his lap or put them on his shoulders.
At work, my Dad was well loved and respected. His generous heart made him a man that people could count on. He went out of his way to hire people who needed a second chance. His work was a ministry that we only know a tiny bit about, because he was very humble. From the little we are aware of, my Dad gave work to the homeless, was well respected in the Puerto Rican community of Reading, helped immigrants to make their way, and even financially supported one of his employees when they opened a church in the Dominican Republic. Only God knows the true impact and all the seeds my Dad has planted here on earth. But, we can be assured that God has now called my Dad a good and faithful servant.
Our Dad was an avid reader, which Katie inherited. An avid gardener, which Jen inherited. And a lover of the Pennsylvania woods and mountains, which Sarah inherited.
But more important than the traits he gave us, were his continual life lessons that he instilled in us and in everyone he came in contact with.
He taught us to never make someone else’s job more difficult. Which meant we had to always clean up after ourselves at restaurants or in public. He would even have us line the trash bags in a certain way on trash day to make it easier for the workers to pick up.
He taught us that if anyone steals from us, they needed that item more than we did.
He taught us that chocolate is the most important food group.
Our Dad was a perfect earthly picture of our Heavenly Father. He was humble, patient and loving. He was generous, always giving freely of his time and resources. He was compassionate and understanding. He was physically strong, yet always so gentle. None of us have ever heard him raise his voice. His judgement was sound, and he had the tremendous gift of being able to see things from another’s perspective; which meant that he gave the best advice.
He also demonstrated how to be a Christian to us. His Bible could always be found beside his recliner, and he read it daily. He loved listening to worship music, and Sundays in the Weirich household were filled with it. He prayed with us and for us; and he fasted when he felt called to. He lived by faith, and in doing so, passed on a legacy of faith to his children and grandchildren.
While our loss here on earth is so very great, celebrating my Dad’s life is easy. We have the blessed assurance that my Dad is now joyously with his Heavenly Father. My Dad has gone home, and we will be with him again.
We have so much to celebrate. My Dad’s life was one of blessings upon blessings for everyone he came in contact with. Blessings upon blessings that move forward with us along with his greatest advice…
Love your family and be intentional in spending time with them.
Be generous, humble and compassionate.
Look for opportunities to give people a second chance.
And above all, have faith and lean on your Creator who has a plan to prosper you and give you hope.