Arthur Earl

This is Father's Day, 2004. When my Father passed away in 1992, he didn't want a fancy funeral. We had a gathering of family members at the home of my step-sister Tammy and I was asked to say a eulogy for him. Then his wish was to have his ashes scattered over the ocean. His passion was the sea having served our country in the Navy for 22 years. I just want to share what I wrote about Dad back then.

We are gathered here today to honor the memory of Arthur Earl, and our presence bears testimony to the value he held closest to his heart, the family.

First, he was a son. Born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on November 26, 1920 and found stubborn as a mule as his mother said after a long labor, he was five when his family left their log home for Oregon. The Model ďTĒ Ford took them first to The Dalles and later to Portland. By now he was also a brother and the family grew dearer to him with each new brother and sister. 

He loved the outdoors and spent many hours working in the fields or the garden. He attended Hudson and Glencoe Elementary and Washington High School. When his concern for his family combined with his great love for the open seas and infinite skies, he embarked on a twenty-two year career with the Navy. It was 1938 when he left home to provide relief for his dear ones financially and pursue his dream of seeing the world. One brother was lost while he was gone and another also served in World War II and when news reached him that this young man had made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country, he wrote home with these words of condolence:  "He is absent in body hut his spirit will always he with us. He was good and therefore he will be waiting for us to join him in heaven."

Those words he so kindly expressed echo in our hearts today as we remember him. The family came first and loved ones were never forgotten. This wonderful man carried on with his noble determination and in 1946 he met his first wife and was now a husband and father. She gave him a son and three daughters and he set Oregon aside to make a home for her in her home state of Pennsylvania. He retired from the Navy in 1960 and always concerned for the welfare of his loved ones, he continued his education at Rutgers University in New Jersey. It was hard to leave the gentle countryside of Pennsylvania, but a new life was to begin in New Jersey with employment at the Telephone Company. In 1968, when tragedy took the wife and mother his family loved, it was Oregon where he sought comfort with the loved ones he had left behind so long before.

Renewed and restored with his closest kin, he suddenly found his family expanded when he took a second and just as dear wife with her four youngins' under his wing. Always a father and brother and son his life grew richer and his love stronger and he retired from his second career after twenty years. He bowled and fished and traveled his retirement years, always with family as his companion and inspiration. His joy grew and grew and he became grandfather and great-grandfather as well. Like his father before him, this manís spirit was made stronger by the love that surrounded him. He may now not be with us in body but he lives forever in our hearts and with his passing we gather to say goodbye and thank you and pay tribute to Arthur Earl and imagine him to recite to us:

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
And the wheels kick and the windís song and the white sails shaking, 
And a grey mist on the seaĎs face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide.
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
and all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying
and the flung spray and the flung spume and the sea gullís crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life
To the gullís way and the whaleís way
where the windís like a whetted knife
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trickís over.

Sleep quiet dear father, dear brother and son
and dream sweet dear love for all time to come.

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