Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The mighty oak appears a little barren now as the leaves continue to fall from its branches and these precious few men of The Greatest Generation walk into the sunset, one by one. We summon courage at times that are the bleakest. We hope our integrity will remain virtuous in moments that defy such reasoning.

Chuck McHenry

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching!” Chuck McHenry taught us that.

It is not with a sense of loss that we gather here, but a sense of pride that we knew him.

How does a person honor this good and kind and gentle man? Do we salute him as one would the pride, courage and strength of a flag? Indeed he embodied all those virtues as a WWII veteran. Or should we close our eyes and bow our head in humility, and say a prayer of thanks to the good fortune of the many memories he graced within us?

“Honesty is the highest form of intimacy!”

His story has been written and it is a good one! He is lucky because of the luck he created from hard work, dedication to his family and the abundance of love within him. If you knew him, you were touched by his honesty. Your heart and soul were the better for it. A gas station attendant was equal in his eye to any judge, general or politician. They were all equally rewarded with a composition of the larger mosaic of good he scattered throughout his life.

His grandchildren if they hold his words true will one day say; “Dear Grandpa thanks for all the lessons. Dear future, I’m ready!”

If you strain hard even now, you can hear his belly laugh, of how he turned his past into a treasure trove of stories. And just as an Irishman would do, each time at a gathering, the stories tumbled out effortlessly and each time there was a sparkle, a glint in his eye and the embellishments that only he could conjure. For the most part, his words were grace under pressure, to educate and inform. His living of his life was the reason we looked down and smiled inwardly and then absent-mindedly walked into a pole. The stories became parables for his children and then for our children, of how not to do and of how to be. After all he was an endearing husband, a wonderful father, a jovial grandpa and a tender great grandpa. He had wisdom. He coached life. But for all that he was always our cousin Chuck.

Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Churchill must have been thinking of him.

So how do we toast him?

With an ice cream sundae? He would love that! He never drank though, of that he was slightly at odds with the rest of the Irish clan. He loved life, and as he would say, "AND HOW," more so because he loved his family and friends. He lived on without regrets and mostly because he did not want to miss in the joy of a new birth or a potential birth of a new story. He was a-shirt-off-his-back kind of a guy, generous to a fault, with his time, money and emotions and expected very little in return. The richness of his wealth cannot be measured in metrics only in love for his family and friends and theirs for him. He was truly blessed.

At family gatherings of the future there will always be a place for him as the echoes of the stories he told will float in and out of our minds and from our lips. The memory of his hearty laughter will ring true and bring smiles across the table as he looks down and double winks while flying on the wings of our better angels. His stories will be long remembered. His laughter will echo within us. His temperate soul will help us through our crises. His quiet strength will be a place to come home for rest.

We will miss you.
We loved you.
He will forever be with us.
He was a good and kind and gentle man, the likes of whom I have never known.
And as this day mourns, the night will find him in a peaceful slumber.
Good Night gentle Chuck
Rest in Peace Dad.

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