Monday, July 25, 2005


Tribute to My Father

This was the eulogy I gave for my dad.

A Tribute To My Father
Robert S. LeClair
(3/1/1930 – 5/16/2002)

Our father, who art in heaven
Were the last words Dad heard spoken.
When he joined our mother on Thursday
The Circle of Life no longer was broken.

Thank you all for coming
As we pay tribute, remember and share
Dad earned a place in each of our hearts,
For this man’s name is Robert S. LeClair.

He was born on March 1st in 1930
Which made him a young 72.
Most of the stories you’ll be hearing
Have elements that might just be true.

Dad got his start in Long Island, NY
As the youngest he wasn’t much fuss.
He had two older siblings to help him
His sister, Mae and a big brother, Russ.

The details of his childhood remain sketchy
As he described the neighborhood he roamed.
One thing was certain and all would agree
His love of music was learned in his home.

His father, George was a professional musician
A soft-spoken man with plenty to say.
But he would let his fingers do the talking
Having the music express the words he would play.

Grandpa was a gentleman’s gentleman.
Who went to work each day in a tux.
Dad also carried those traits inside him
But he worked with vacuums and big fire trucks.

Horoscopically, dad was a Pisces
So, it’s no wonder he was drawn to the sea.
Crabbing and Clamming in Sag Harbor
The best part is knowing it’s free.

During high school he loved to go bowling,
And even got a job setting pins by hand.
But, he yearned to get back to the water
leaving this manual labor on land.

After high school he got a job on a tugboat,
Learning all sorts of nautical knots.
Which helped him decide on his future
To focus on dashes and dots.

Dad signed up and went into the Coast Guard
His enthusiasm to learn new skills never slowed.
He trained as a Radio Operator
To send messages in Morse Code.

Dad met Mom at a Northbrook house party
and they married and moved back east.
Dad was back working on a tugboat
Which Mom didn’t care for … in the least.

Within two years they were back in Glencoe
And the first of seven children started to arrive.
In 1953, Dad joined the Fire Department
And wondered how they going to survive.

Twenty-four on and Forty-Eight off
Is the schedule firefighter’s keep.
It’s not too bad if you have another gig
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in too deep.

So, Dad became a Renaissance Man,
trying different jobs to make extra bucks.
Lumberjack, cabbie, and lubricant sales rep
were tried before there was Electrolux.

Starting in 1961
and for the next 37 years,
Dad was “The Electrolux Man”
and he had to overcome his shyness fears.

I know this fact may come as a shock
to anyone who knows Bob LeClair.
But, before he studied Dale Carnegie’s stuff
he wouldn’t public speak on a dare.

Dad studied and practiced to overcome
the fear he felt inside.
Once he discovered the secret to life,
his inner shadow man up and died.

Dad realized early on
that mediocrity just wouldn’t do.
Why live only half a life,
when the decision is up to you?

Love your neighbor as yourself
might better describe Dad’s life.
He was a true humanitarian
trying to lift people out of their strife.

We have so many instances to call on
where Dad acted on this belief.
He sought to ease the suffering
when pain was borne with grief.

Barbershop singing was Dad’s vehicle
for spreading joy and goodwill.
There are so many stories of Dad’s kindness
that it just gives the heart a good thrill.

Operation North Pole is but one of these
that BBSing has played a major part.
By giving Christmas to families in need
and doing it from the heart.

Acting in groups to cover his tracks
Dad often would sneak away.
Then spring an unsuspecting miracle
and lift the spirits for someone’s day.

Dad was unique in a special way
he wore more than his heart on his sleeve.
When he monkeyed around with his Bud named Tyrone
Dad knew this Bud would never leave.

Tyrone could break down barriers
without ever saying a word.
It was just another way to communicate
by being seen and seldom heard.

Bob LeClair was more than unique
because he had this unending gift.
The cup of his love would fill and run over
when offered to someone needing a lift.

Dad has always been the adventurous type
just to see what’s on the other side.
The last adventure was a bit too much
and became his final ride.

Dad didn’t waste a moment,
thoughhe was courageous to the end.
He taught us more about living
and how to be a better friend.

Dad’s doc is a guy named Dragon
who lives to fight the Big C.
His staff did their best with Chemo-Fest
All the while maintaining Dad’s dignity.

There’s too many in Dad’s support chain
to try and mention and get them all.
Please know Dad’s life was greatly enriched
by your thoughts and prayers and occasional call.

Dad believed in Random Acts of Kindness
practiced on a daily basis.
If you’d like to honor Bob LeClair
become someone’s unexpected oasis.

Dad also believed that life goes on …
a Celebration in constant transition.
Life is too short. Don’t wait till tomorrow.
Live your dreams without inhibition.

The truth embodied in the saying,
“A house divided cannot stand”
Thanks for the support provided by our spouses
with their much needed, helping hand.

Just when you thought it was over,
the next time you twist and shout …
What if the Hokey Pokie
Really IS what it’s all about?

Dad’s final request is simple
and it takes place right next door.
It’s called an After-Glow Reception
with great singing, food and much more …

May 22, 2002
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