Writing a eulogy is really difficult. Finding the right words to express your feelings about the deceased, remembering those special moments and memories of them, not getting overwhelmed by the emotions – that’s before thinking about the things you need to avoid saying and making sure it’s appropriate for the family.
There’s so much involved. And it can be very challenging.
So it’s understandable to be struggling. What can help is some eulogy examples and samples.
An example eulogy can inspire you in what you want to say or guide you in the type of eulogy you’re going to write. It just gives you an idea of what a eulogy actually looks and sounds like.
So that’s why we’ve compiled these moving eulogy examples. Some are prewritten eulogies whereas others are readings given by famous
Hopefully they will provide you with some inspiration if you’re writing your own eulogy. Alternatively you can use the examples as they are or edit and change them so they fit your situation.
What is a Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or reading that is given at a funeral. It is to pay tribute to and remember the deceased.
A eulogy is usually given by a family member or a close friend of the deceased. It gives them a chance to share what they remember of the departed, tell their stories and memories of them and let others know just what type of person they were.
It can also help those grieving to mourn but also focus on the positive aspects of the deceaseds life, remembering the good times and not just the pain that comes with losing someone.
Writing a Eulogy
The process of writing a eulogy is probably the hardest part. It doesn’t come easily to anyone and requires a lot of thought and planning.
It’s best to try to organize memories you have of the loved one first. Maybe speak to family and friends to get their thoughts and what they remember most of the deceased.
Write it in stages, with a beginning middle and end. Remember to speak from the heart and with sincerity.
Writing your own eulogy is very tricky. It can help to see other eulogies to give you an idea of what they’re like and the type of things to say.
The below example eulogies for all types of family members and loved ones should help you to compose your own.
Short Eulogy Examples
These example eulogies are short and quick for if you want an idea if very simple and straightforward readings for a funeral.
I’ve been lucky enough to know Rob my entire life. We grew up living in the same street and as kids would play out in the road. We even went to school together. As the years went by our friendship grew and we became really close. We would do everything together, from sports to chasing the same girls! Rob became more than a friend and just like a brother to me.
Even when life took us in different directions we stayed in touch and kept our friendship alive, seeing each other as often as we could. Rob was just a great guy. Humble, kind and always there for everyone.
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say he won’t be forgotten and the warmth and joy he brought to us all will live on forever.
I want to thank you all and say how pleased I am to see so many people here to give Denise the send off she deserved.
I met Denise over 10 years ago when we worked together and we instantly bonded over our love of
She was someone who didn’t want any fuss or attention and so I know would hate the fact that I’m eulogizing her now.
Denise was kind and generous though and loved her friends and family more than anything. Her sense of humor and the fun she bought to the lives of those lucky enough to know her will live on long after she is gone.
She really was an inspiration and someone I considered a true friend. Goodbye Denise.
Eulogy Examples for Mother
Writing a eulogy for a mother is always going to be so difficult. How can you possibly sum up the life of someone so important to you in a mere few paragraphs. The example eulogies below will hopefully show you the sorts of things you can say to pay tribute to your mom.
Today we honor the life of my mom, Rachel. She was a truly amazing woman who was the kindest and most loving person in the world.
I can honestly say she was my best friend and to try and do justice right her in this short eulogy will be impossible. She dedicated her life to family and making sure we were supported in whatever we did and that we never felt anything other than loved.
She sacrificed more than I’ll ever know and even when she was putting everyone else before herself she still made time to listen to all our problems.
Everyone who was fortunate enough to know her was in awe of everything she achieved. And the warmth and happiness she bought to us cannot be overstated.
I loved her more than words could possibly say and she will live on in my heart forever more.
I can’t think of anything I’ve ever had to do as hard as give this eulogy for my mom. Saying goodbye to her is a pain I will never get over.
My mother was compassionate and loving. She put everyone before herself – friends, family, even her pets. That attitude meant we never felt anything other than loved and safe.
Mom loved to teach. It was her passion and she never grew tired of it. I’ve had so many former students reach out to me to say how she was their favorite teacher. After close to 40 years teaching, all at the sane school, she finally retired happy with all she’d given.
Teaching may have been her passion but it also gave her greater opportunities to spend time with family. The school holidays meant for weeks she could do things with us without interruption. Some of my best memories come from those times and I cherish them like no other.
Moms legacy will live on forever in the hearts of those who knew her best. She was a truly inspirational woman who leaves behind a huge hole in so many lives.
Eulogy Examples for Father
Much like your mother losing a father and having to write a eulogy for him is extremely hard. Use these example eulogies to help you find the right words for remembering your dad.
No one was like my dad. He was my biggest inspiration and a true hero to me. Our family leant on him during any tough times and he was a rock that never let us down.
That strength he possessed wasn’t flashy or in your face. In many ways he was a quiet, unassuming man who just got on with things. But it was beneath the surface that his principles and determination lay. That was most evident in how he put us, his family, first and the way he made sure we were protected no matter what.
I’ll always remember the good times as well. The fishing trips we would take to take together and how much he would make me laugh.
It’s hard to imagine a life without him and I will miss him dreadfully. I will hold on to memories we made forever though.
Seeing all these faces, some of them familiar others not as much, it just makes me realize how much my dad was loved. It also makes you remember how much he loved a good party. If he could see first-hand, everybody that came here for him today I know he’d be thrilled.
So I want to thank you all on his behalf for coming out, honouring his memory, and just being here with us today. It really means a lot to me. It means a lot to my mom and our extended family that’s here with us.
I will keep it brief but I really could probably go on for hours with everything that dad and I had together. On that note, those of you who knew me and my father personally, you knew the kind of great relationship we had but it wasn’t always like that. In fact, I think it started probably how most teenage boys and their fathers start out a little something like this.
I swear there were a couple of years during my teens when dad and I must have butted heads just about everything. Now I mentioned this primarily because most of you out here in the crowd have to have had a good enough relationship with my dad.
He was a very opinionated man, to put it politely. He voiced his opinion pretty regularly – a quality I also inherited from him. However, the element with my dad that I don’t think anybody could argue is if he had a point.
If there was logic behind what he was saying, you just couldn’t fight it there’s no way of going against it and, as a kid, I always kind of kept it in the back of my mind. It was that quality really that led him to become my best friend and my confidant in my grown adult life. I went to him for anything when he had you been around. When I was 18-year old when I truly made that realization and from that point on I maintained a very close, very steady relationship with him. When I moved out to Pennsylvania five years ago, we talked over the phone almost every single day.
It didn’t matter what it was that day at work gave him a call. There was a little success in my life. I sent him a text message. He knew everything that was going on. On that note, he always had something to say. He always had something, usually a positive motivational tone. If it was something that I was talking about that was negative, he had a spin on it to keep me going and truthfully that’s going to be the biggest adjustment for me. But at the same time, one of the biggest motivating forces is that he always inspired me to do better than my best. He was always so openly proud of my accomplishments and kept pushing me to do more and more, but not in any sort of negative forceful sense of course. It was always something that was very uplifting and inspirational to me and in having done that I think he passed something on to me that’s a very difficult thing to do.
He got me ready to be a strong, upstanding man who can lead a good quality life in the world. And I don’t even know he might have been unwittingly on his part just might have been doing his thing, but he really imparted that to me.
Going forward from today I’m going to just keep on pushing his memory, keep on getting better, living a good name, keeping the Camaro untarnished doesn’t work. And you know to that end that’s what I’m going to miss!
I bet that he’ll be looking down and seeing it, I would have loved to have as we all would. More years, more time but you know that gets him to be a little bit of a selfish end. He’s in a great place now, very much at peace and you know he is happy to be looking down on all of us today.
So, goodbye, dad. I’m going to miss you. I love you and thank everybody for coming here today, listening to me babble for a few minutes.
Eulogy Examples for Brother
Losing a sibling is utterly heartbreaking. So finding the words to write a eulogy for your brother is awful. Use these examples to help make it a little easier.
I can’t believe my big brother has really gone. We have lost someone so special far too soon. Dan was just a one of a kind and loved by everyone. That live-wire, fun spirit he had was infectious and charmed everyone who met him.
He may have been my bigger brother but I never felt left out by him. In fact he would take me a long with him and his friends when they got up to mischief. It was so exciting for me to be included by the brother I always looked up to and was the “cool one” to me.
We didn’t always see eye to eye though. There were definitely arguments! But it was the usual sibling stuff, and as we got older we grew out of any stupid rivalry or jealousy we had towards one another. We actually became really close as we grew out of our adolescence and a true bond formed.
That’s what makes this even more difficult. My brother became my best friend. I just can’t and don’t want to imagine my life without him. But he leaves behind such a legacy and one that I will keep alive with my memories of him.
“My name is Len Leatherwood and I am Ray’s sister-in-law and Jim and Kevin’s aunt. Let me say on behalf of our entire family that we appreciate that you are here today to help commemorate the life of our beloved Ray. I am certain everyone in this church has been touched by his amazing spirit and we are grateful that we can come together to pay our collective respects to this wonderful man.
I met Ray when I was nine-years-old, right after he graduated from the University of Colorado as a young engineer and just before he was going to marry my sister, Leslie. I liked his quick smile and gentle manner right away, even though I found his language odd. Growing up in a small Texas town, I had little occasion to hear any accent besides a drawl and I found Ray’s pronunciation of Nevada (long a) versus Nevada (short a) or Colorado (long a) versus Colorado (short a) very strange. Plus, he referred to me as a gal and whenever he was excited he would shout out, “Gad!” or “Egads!” Yes, all of this made my soon-to-be brother-in-law slightly foreign and distinctly unique. Of course, little did I know then exactly how unique Ray would prove to be, or what a profound impact he would have on my life.
I was the flower girl when Leslie and Ray got married in an all-white wedding save for a single red rose in the middle of the maid-of-honor’s bouquet. Over the fifty-three years since that event, I have periodically thought of the symbolism of that color scheme. The white for me signifies the goodness of these two wonderful people as well as the kindness that characterized their interactions with others; the red rose seemed to portend the trials each would face in the years to come. And they both did face tribulations.
Leslie and Ray’s marriage lasted only twelve years; however, in that time, they produced and parented two of the loveliest people I will ever know, their daughter and son, Kevin and Jim. Over time, Kevin and Jim have created their own families. Kevin has Scott, her sweet husband and her step-children, Ellery and Derek; and Jim has Karri, his darling wife, and their children, Eli and Sophie, who are two of the brightest and nicest kids on God’s green earth. These people have been the foundation for Ray’s life and he was exceedingly proud of each and every one of them.
Ray’s story has many chapters and is one of transformation. He started out as that earnest young engineer who worked very hard at his job at Chicago Bridge and Iron. For the first ten years of his marriage to Leslie, they moved to a different city every two years for his job. Finally, they settled in Salt Lake City, which was Ray’s home, and he worked at Industrial Supply, the company where his father was president. About this time, his marriage to my sister failed and later he remarried another woman, Mary. He also formed Agutter Engineering, which he headed from 1979 – 1998, at which point he retired. About this same time, unfortunately, his second marriage failed. Also, he had been battling severe mood swings for quite some time and he knew he was in trouble.
Ray was a journal keeper and on these pages he poured out his worries, concerns, hopes and dreams. In one of his journals, he revealed that he felt lost and alone, not sure how to proceed with life. In another, he wrote out a list of what he wanted to change: 1) To travel more; 2) To gain more meaning from life; 3) To love himself more, 4) To be a better man. He knew he needed to change; he just wasn’t quite sure how to make that happen. Two things occurred about this time: the birth of his grandchildren, Eli and then Sophie, which helped refocus his life on family with constant visits and shared activities. Also, he found Burning Man.
I haven’t been to Burning Man personally, but through Ray’s photos and stories of the thirteen straight years he attended, I feel as if I have a fairly clear picture of how he saw this experience. Cooperative community, creativity, love, joy, peace, kindness. These were all words that peppered his accounts of his exploits there. Most importantly, friendship. Connection with amazing people from all over the world that was evidenced on a daily basis by innumerable texts, phone calls, emails and Facebook interactions. “This is an instrument of peace,” he would say holding up his I-phone. “This single device has the capacity to unite people to save our planet.” (I am sure I am not the only person who heard Ray’s awe over the unifying power of technology.) However, I watched Ray’s phone become a conduit of connection for him; a true instrument of change, not only for what concerned him about the planet, but also for himself. He was no longer lost and alone. He was on track and connected to a bigger purpose for his life. To spread love wherever he went. And he did just that.
Ray made it his goal to be emotionally available not only to his children and grandchildren, but also to his wide network of relatives and friends. He travelled all over the world and made friends wherever he went. He cultivated true love relationships with women in his life and is the only man I know who could have five girlfriends come together to celebrate his birthday just this past year. He also battled cancer with a grace that is hard to describe. He brought hope, joy, and peace to that process and touched the lives of countless people with his positive attitude and endless optimism. In short, he transformed himself from an ordinary man to an extraordinary human being and many of us in this room have witnessed this firsthand.
I believe that single red rose at Ray’s all-white wedding symbolized not only the trials he would face, but also the singular beauty that comes when living a life that is ablaze with color. And Ray’s life can only be described as one that was on fire with passion, love, and joy. We are all better off from having known this man; we would do well to emulate his example when facing our own trials. He would encourage each of us to always remember, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Ray loved Salt Lake City, the Utes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Episcopal church, and the oatmeal at McDonald’s. He also held in high esteem the Huntsman Cancer Institute and the doctors and staff there. In addition, he loved his Mind and Body support group at Huntsman, so much so that a group that should have ended in six weeks has continued on for the past 2 ½ years, with plans to continue on in the future. He referred to all these as “world class,” and, certainly, they all are.
Again, our family appreciates your presence. Even on this sad occasion Ray would remind us, “This is the best day of my life!”
My only response is to say, “Amen, brother. Amen.”
Written by Len Leatherwood for her brother in law.
Eulogy Examples for Sister
Sisters are such important family members and they deserve a fitting eulogy. May these sample eulogies inspire you to write a touching eulogy for your sister.
My sister Joanna was a beautiful, vivacious young woman. She had a gentleness that you so rarely find and saw the best in everything and everyone. So to have lost her is like losing a limb. I feel like I’ve lost a piece of my soul.
We were always close, partly because we were only a year apart, but also because we shared such a bond. Growing up I idolized her – from the clothes she wore to the music she listened to. I must have been such an annoying copycat but it came from how much I looked up to and wanted to be like her.
As we got older we became an amazing duo. I will always remember the fun nights out together and spa days away where we could relax and gossip. I knew I had someone who would listen to any problem I had and be there for me whatever.
I loved her like no other and she was the best sister anyone could have ever wanted. Not a second goes by when I don’t think of her, and I am forever grateful for the treasured memories I have that will never be forgotten.
“Is it possible to sum up Lisa’s life in just a few short words? No, it is not. So what should I say about my beautiful little sister? Should I speak of her constant smile and sunny disposition? She kept her spirits high even in the darkest of times and hardest tribulations that she experienced. The death of her beloved baby daughter Madison something she always held close in her heart. Should I speak of her strength of character? The way she took charge in most situations, even as a small child, and led everyone forward towards better times or new places, earning her the nickname “The Captain.”
Maybe I should mention her wicked sense of humour or her great sense of adventure or her everyday joy at the interaction with her customers at work. Perhaps I should talk about her love for everyone she knew, her husband, her boys, her mum and dad, her sister and brother, a genuine, warm, radiant love that we all basked in. The way she ended every call to me with a sincere, “I love you Mike.”
All of these aspects of Lisa and many more combined to make her a unique and wonderful human being. Lisa was caring, kind, energetic and vivacious, filled with life and love and an unselfish need to care for everyone she knew, earning her the love and respect of her peers, her numerous friends and her family as is evidenced here today by all who are present. Although Lisa is now lost to us, she has left behind an everlasting legacy for all of us who she has touched and loved, guaranteeing that she will live forever in our hearts and minds.
There will never be another Lisa and we are all a little poorer now that she has left us. So let us now all try our best to be a bit kinder, a bit more sincere, a bit stronger and a bit more loving just like my beautiful little sister Lisa.
Eulogy Examples for Grandmother
The relationships with our grandmothers are some of the strongest we develop. Find the way to express what she meant to you with these examples.
Today I’m here to pay tribute to my beloved grandmother. She was a remarkable woman who brought love and happiness to so many.
I had a connection with my grandmother that was like no other. She was the one who could always provide the wisdom and advice you needed at just the right time. When things were tough I knew I could turn to her and she would do what she did best: be my nana and make things better.
But she also had an amazing life. From surviving the war as a nurse and then working so hard to provide for her family. She did all of that and more without ever complaining despite the challenges she faced. She embodied the attitude of just ‘getting on with it’, and that strength and determination was evident in every adjective of her life.
I know she was so highly thought of not just by me, or those in attendance today, but by the whole community. She will be missed dearly and we are all worse off without having her in our lives.
Our parents give us life.
Our grandparents give us a sense of who we are and where we came from.
This week, as we said goodbye to Grandma Sheila, it hit me how incredibly lucky I have been to have my lovely grandmother with me for 42 years.
Not only with me, but an integral, close part of my life.
It is rare for a grandparent-grandchild relationship to be so essential and so long-lasting, but then, Grandma Sheila was that exceptional kind of person every single day of her life.
Until the last couple of years, my grandmother had more energy and interest in life than anyone I’ve ever known.
When I was living in Washington, D.C. in my 20s, she and Grandpa Artie came to visit.
They must have been in their 70s at the time, and we went all over town – shopping, dinner, movies.
After seeing a Hitchcock film that Saturday night, Grandma and Grandpa said, “Ok, where are we going now?”
I was so exhausted that I insisted it was time for bed. They looked at me with surprise – and disappointment – because they would have gone for dessert, coffee, more living, more life.
My grandmother was an incredible matriarch. Really, she was the regal leader in our family.
She baked and cooked and babysat and took us shopping and saw our new clothes when we were little. She was always present, part of our everyday lives in such a tangible way.
As a child, I had friends whose grandparents had retired to Florida and I remember feeling that while they were lucky enough to get a yearly trip to warmer weather, I was even luckier, because I had my grandparents all the time.
That constant loving presence really shapes a person.
From our grandparents, we learn where we come from, we learn our history, we learn who we are.
Once, when I was 12, my grandmother took me for a day of shopping at Fairlane Mall. I was so excited to share with her my favorite music – early 1980s rap. She agreed to play my radio station in her car as she drove us carefully down the Southfield Freeway.
As we came up over a hill, we didn’t know there was a car stalled in the center lane. Grandma reacted quickly, extended her arm in front of me to protect me, and with the other arm, masterfully steered around the car, spinning out across the three freeway lanes onto the shoulder. It was terrifying. The first car accident I had ever been in.
The car stopped, she checked to make sure we were both ok, then leaned over and shut off the radio.
I felt terrible that my music caused my grandmother to get in an accident. Of course, it didn’t, and she told me that later, but she never said a harsh word.
She simply pulled back onto the road and took us quietly to the mall and we spent the afternoon shopping and talking as if nothing had happened.
What made my grandmother special? So wonderful? Her elegance. She always looked the picture of perfection and grace.
She knew everyone in Detroit, and everyone knew her. Even better, no one ever had a bad word to say about my grandmother.
She loved deeply and fully, all of us. She was the kind of person who just had more love in her heart for the more people who joined our lives.
This story of my grandmother wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t pay homage to her incredible cooking. It seemed anything she made was delicious – even my children thought her Campbell’s vegetable soup was amazing!
When I lived in New York, Grandma Sheila sent me Jacobson’s boxes full of her double-chocolate brownies and once, I made the mistake of bringing them to work – I barely got one for myself.
She taught me to make gefilte fish from scratch. I took this very seriously, as quite an honor, and showed up on a Sunday before Passover one year to help her chop the fish in her big wooden bowl, twice, so it came out extra fluffy.
There were fish heads bobbing in a pot of boiling water and carrots cooking and so many steps in this assembly line process.
The apartment reeked of cooking fish and by the time we were done, so did I—my hair, my clothing, everything.
I went home and showered to rid myself of the smell – but the next day at work, when I unzipped my purse that had been with me at Grandma’s apartment, out wafted the scent of fish. For a week I carried that smell with me!
One year when I couldn’t make it home for Passover, I called Grandma Sheila for her matzo ball soup recipe.
The secret, she said, was fresh dill. I wrote down everything she said and drove all over town looking for a whole pullet cut into eighths, parsnip, parsley root, everything she listed.
In my apartment, which I shared with one friend, I spent half a day cooking and when I finally sat down at our little table by myself with a steaming bowl in front of me, that first bite, full of dill, made me feel like I was at my grandparents’ Passover table, rather than alone in another city.
My grandparents were a large part of the reason I moved back to Michigan. After all, what is life without family to support you, to love you unconditionally, to be at your side through good and through bad?
As I have shared the news this week of my grandmother’s state, friends and colleagues have mentioned how old they were when they lost their grandparents. The oldest was late 20s.
I come back to this notion that for 42 years, my grandmother has been an influential and important part of my life. Until this last week, I hadn’t realized how truly exceptional that is. Many marriages never last that long!
She is so much a part of who I am that even though I knew she would one day leave us, I can’t quite believe she is gone.
Grandma Sheila – you impacted my life in so many ways. You shaped who I am. You shaped who my children are. You influenced all of us so greatly.
I will always love you and save a special corner of my heart to keep you with me.
And I know we will miss you every day of our lives.
Written by journalist and business woman Lynne Meredith Golodner.
Eulogy Examples for Grandfather
Think of your favorite memory with your grandfather. Use that as a basis for his eulogy. Hopefully these examples will be of assistance in finishing your eulogy.
It feels weird to be giving this eulogy. I know how private my grandfather was and averse to being the focus of any attention. He would have absolutely hated all this! He’d be telling us all to get on with life and not wallow or feel sad about losing him.
And that was the type of man he was. Unassuming, unselfish and far more keen to put others ahead of himself. But that didn’t mean he didn’t have a more fun side too. Grandpa loved a joke, mostly practical jokes, and would play them on the most unsuspecting people! No one was spared and I will never forget the cheeky, mischievous look in his eyes when he was planning something.
Family was so important to granddad too. He adored his grandchildren and i know he treasured spending time with them more than anything else.
I’m heartbroken he’s gone and will carry with me everything he taught me. The love and guidance he showed me will live on in my heart.
“For those who don’t know me, my name is Michael Werneburg. I want to say a few words in memory of my grandfather.
Kenneth McKenzie Johnston lived a remarkable life, one that inspired me greatly. His adventurous attitude, his broad range of interests, and his happy demeanor made him a wonderful person to know. He was patient, and generous with his time and affection.
He always took an interest in the people he met: there were few people he wouldn’t engage at any time or place. I introduced him to many of my friends over the years, and they always told me how interesting he’d been.
My grandfather pursued his many endeavors diligently, and always rose to meet a challenge. I always felt that he expected the same of me, too.
He was philosophical in his approach to life. He especially had a great perspective when it came to the little things, never displaying anger or impatience. Instead, he showed a great dignity and humor.
He extended this philosophy no matter what obstacle he faced. I have always admired this trait as it doesn’t seem to have been handed down.
The strength of his character showed even in criticism. With a few wry words, my grandfather could be far more damning than most people could achieve with any strong language.
I’ll miss the news of his strange adventures, and I’ll miss the stories from the seven continents he visited; I’ll miss the tales of evil two-year-old grandchildren; about his old friends; and his ‘child bride’. Stories he told again and again, in the same exacting detail with every telling.
I’ll miss his perspective and his gentle humor. I’ll miss the surprising depth and scope of his knowledge. I’ll miss the warmth he extended to everyone he met.
I will miss my grandfather dearly. But I will treasure his memory forever.”
Written by Michael Werneburffor his Grandfather’s funeral.
Eulogy Examples for a Friend
Losing a friend brings a grief that is hard to fathom. Writing or even thinking about their life whilst grieving their death is going to be a real task. Make it simpler with these helpful examples.
I still haven’t come to terms with Lee’s passing and I doubt I ever will. Life is not going to be the sane again. He was my best friend and we spent so much time together. To think I’ll never see him again is almost too much to bear.
Lee and me were inseparable for years. If we weren’t on the soccer field we were playing video games. I have so many good memories of our childhood and that lasted all the way through until we were adults (or just overgrown children!).
He was funny, kind and just a great guy to be around. I always considered him one of my best friends and he could make you laugh at the most inappropriate times.
Lee will be remembered for everything I’ve mentioned and more. His legacy will be the joy he brought to our lives and the true friend he was.
Funny Eulogy Examples
Some people prefer to write a light hearted eulogy and see the funnier side of death. If that’s the way you want to go then try these examples.
William Ziegler escaped this mortal realm on Friday, July 29, 2016 at the age of 69. I think he did it on purpose to avoid having to make a decision in the pending presidential election.
He leaves behind four children, five grand-children, and the potted meat industry, for which he was an unofficial spokesman until dietary restrictions forced him to eat real food.
William volunteered for service in the United States Navy at the ripe old age of 17 and immediately realized he didn’t much enjoy being bossed around. He only stuck it out for one war. Before his discharge, however, the government exchanged numerous ribbons and medals for various honorable acts.
Upon his return to the City of New Orleans in 1971, thinking it best to keep an eye on him, government officials hired William as a fireman. After twenty-five years, he suddenly realized that running away from burning buildings made more sense than running toward them. He promptly retired.
Looking back, William stated that there was no better group of morons and mental patients than those he had the privilege of serving with (except Bob, he never liked you, Bob).
He was never one for sentiment or religiosity, but he wanted you to know that if he owes you a beer, and if you can find him in Heaven, he will gladly allow you to buy him another. He can likely be found forwarding tasteless internet jokes (check your spam folder, but don’t open these at work).
Expect to find an alcoholic dog named Judge passed out at his feet. Unlike previous times, this is not a ploy to avoid creditors or old girlfriends. He assures us that he is gone. He will be greatly missed.
I remember Dzia Dzia’s retirement party when I was about 7 years old. When the then state minister for education Tom Roper gave a speech I realised the Dzia Dzia must’ve been pretty important. Then growing up, hearing the stories and reading his book, I came to learn what a brave man he was, considered a hero by many. 12 years ago, at the age of 82, he was proof reading my masters thesis and advising me on some pretty hard-core statistical analysis, I really became aware of what a sharp and intelligent guy he was.
But those aren’t the things that define Dzia Dzia for me.
When I think of Dzia Dzia, I think of what a generous, loveable and unself-consciously quirky person he was. And to be honest, it’s always been hard to reconcile the guy that evaded the Nazis for 5 years, but was barely able to change a light-bulb, let alone a tyre.
I think of Dzia Dzia the swimmer, well into his 70s banging out 800m a day in the Brighton Sea baths, and swimming deep into the colder months. But if you’ve got the image of Dzia Dzia slicing through the water like a seal, I’ll have to shatter that illusion. His was more a hybrid of breast stroke, and, let’s face it, dog paddle. But he didn’t care about the aesthetics. He just loved swimming and that’s the point. He kept swimming in the sea baths until getting rescued became such a regular occurrence that the life guards politely insisted he look at other options.
I don’t think Dzia Dzia ever owned a pair of Reeboks, but their old slogan “Life is not a spectator sport” suited him perfectly. For him, sport is about participation, not watching.
But not all sports were created equal. I remember once he walked in when we were watching cricket, he watched for a minute, and then he said “I don’t see the point of this game, sometimes they hit it, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they run, sometimes they don’t”. And he walked out leaving us dumbfounded. After such a brutally succinct dismissal, cricket has never been the same for me.
I think of Dzia Dzia’s infatuation with the Centre Road shopping center in Bentleigh, which he claimed was the best in Melbourne. Multiple fruit shops, multiple butchers, and each with their specialty. And a shopping trip would consist of a visit to whichever had the cheapest price of whatever he needed. If that meant green apples at one shop, and red apples at another, so be it. And if he had to sacrifice quality for price, that’s wasn’t an issue either.
Not that he saw it that way. Dzia Dzia was always adamant that expensive wines, whiskeys and perfumes were a waste of money. Why spend $100 on bottle of Channel No 5 when you can get a perfectly good replica for $15. But getting mum a bottle of Channelette perfume for Christmas was a mistake he only made once. And whether or not he really believed this, it was a good way to torment my dad and uncle Peter – I don’t think you guys ever did manage to arrange the double blind whiskey test.
I think of Dzia Dzia’s massive repertoire of jokes. A couple stand out, but not as much as Babcia’s immortal observation: “with these jokes you can hang yourself.”
And his driving?
Well, I had a bit here about his driving. But before the service I noticed that as the funeral director was wheeling the coffin through the door back behind me, he miscued and bumped the coffin into the door frame. I thought that was a lovely tribute. Especially the way he sheepishly checked to see if anyone had noticed, and then continued as if nothing had happened.
Remarkable for the fact that he kept his license deep into his 80s, as much as that he got it in the first place. Mum says you’ll take 1000 reversing dings over one serious accident. But I say, just turn around and have a look.
But lastly, wherever Dzia Dzia may have moved onto now, I hope the waitresses have been forewarned not to bring out his tea before his dessert. Dessert can wait, but the tea goes cold and you’ve got nothing to wash down your dessert with. And if the waitresses haven’t been forewarned, they’ll find out pretty quickly.
So Dzia Dzia, I know you were a hero to many, but you weren’t to me. You were our Dzia Dzia, I love you for that. And I say with deep affection, there will never be another like you.
Famous Eulogy Examples
There have been some amazing eulogies given by some of the most famous people over the years. Here are a few to give you find inspiration.
Former US President Barack Obama’s eulogy for Senator Ted Kennedy
Your Eminence, Vicki, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy.
The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the United States Senate—a man who graces nearly 1,000 laws, and who penned more than 300 laws himself.
But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Grandfather. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, “The Grand Fromage,” or “The Big Cheese.”
I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, as a friend.
Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock.
He was the sunny, joyful child who bore the brunt of his brothers’ teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off.
When they tossed him off a boat because he didn’t know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail.
When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, “It’ll be the same in Washington.”
That spirit of resilience and good humour would see Teddy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know.
He lost two siblings by the age of 16. He saw two more taken violently from a country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his life.
He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.
It’s a string of events that would have broken a lesser man.
And it would have been easy for Ted to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.
But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us, “…[I]ndividual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in — and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves.”
Indeed, Ted was the “Happy Warrior” that the poet Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and the suffering of others—the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from.
The landmark laws that he championed—the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children’s health insurance, the Family and Medical Leave Act—all have a running thread.
Ted Kennedy’s life work was not to champion the causes of those with wealth or power or special connections.
It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding.
He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.
We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers’ rights or civil rights.
And yet, as has been noted, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did. While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that’s not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw Ted Kennedy.
He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and platform and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect—a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.
And that’s how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time.
He did it by hewing to principle, yes, but also by seeking compromise and common cause—not through deal-making and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humour.
There was the time he courted Orrin Hatch for support of the Children’s Health Insurance Program by having his chief of staff serenade the senator with a song Orrin had written himself; the time he delivered shamrock cookies on a china plate to sweeten up a crusty Republican colleague; the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas Committee chairman on an immigration bill.
Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manilla envelope, and showed only the chairman that it was filled with the Texan’s favourite cigars. When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the chairman.
When they weren’t, he’d pull it back.
Before long, the deal was done.
It was only a few years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, when Teddy buttonholed me on the floor of the Senate for my support of a certain piece of legislation that was coming up for vote. I gave my pledge, but I expressed scepticism that it would pass.
But when the roll call was over, the bill garnered the votes that it needed, and then some.
I looked at Teddy with astonishment and asked how had he done it. He just patted me on the back and said, “Luck of the Irish.”
Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy’s legislative success; he knew that.
A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time.
Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, “What did Webster do?”
But though it is Teddy’s historic body of achievements that we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss.
It was the friend and the colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “I hope you feel better,” or “What can I do to help?”
It was the boss so adored by his staff that over 500, spanning five decades, showed up for his 75th birthday party.
It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank-you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. senator of such stature would take the time to think about somebody like them.
I have one of those paintings in my private study off the Oval Office—a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who had just arrived in Washington and happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office.
That, by the way, is my second gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog Bo.
And it seems like everyone has one of those stories—the ones that often start with “You wouldn’t believe who called me today.”
Ted Kennedy was the father who looked not only after his own three children, but John’s and Bobby’s as well.
He took them camping and taught them to sail. He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him.
Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, “On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to been spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love.”
Not only did the Kennedy family make it because of Ted’s love—he made it because of t heirs, especially because the love and the life he found in Vicki.
After so much loss and so much sorrow, it could not have been easy for Ted to risk his heart again.
And that he did is a testament to how deeply he loved this remarkable woman from Louisiana. And she didn’t just love him back. As Ted would often acknowledge, Vicki saved him.
She gave him strength and purpose; joy and friendship; and stood by him always, especially in those last, hardest days.
We cannot know for certain how long we have here.
We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way.
We cannot know what God’s plan is for us.
What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and with love, and with joy.
We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves.
We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures.
And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of others.
This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy.
He once said, as has already been mentioned, of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death because what he was in life—and I imagine he would say the same about himself.
The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy’s shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became.
We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office.
We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy—not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country that he loved.
In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack.
But he didn’t stop there. He kept calling and checking up on them. He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counselling.
He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along.
To one widow, he wrote the following:
“As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved ones would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us.”
We carry on.
Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those that he has loved and lost.
At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good that he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image—the image of a man on a boat, white mane tousled, smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for whatever storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon.
May God bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.
Charles Earl Spencer’s eulogy for his sister, Princess Diana
I stand before you today, the representative of a family in grief in a country in mourning before a world in shock.
We are all united not only in our desire to pay our respects to Diana but rather in our need to do so.
For such was her extraordinary appeal that the tens of millions of people taking part in this service all over the world via television and radio who never actually met her, feel that they too lost someone close to them in the early hours of Sunday morning.
It is a more remarkable tribute to Diana than I can ever hope to offer her today.
Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty.
All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity. All over the world, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality.
Someone with a natural nobility who was classless and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.
Today is our chance to say thank you for the way you brightened our lives, even though God granted you but half a life.
We will all feel cheated always that you were taken from us so young and yet we must learn to be grateful that you came along at all.
Only now that you are gone do we truly appreciate what we are now without and we want you to know that life without you is very, very difficult.
We have all despaired at our loss over the past week and only the strength of the message you gave us through your years of giving has afforded us the strength to move forward.
There is a temptation to rush to canonize your memory, there is no need to do so. You stand tall enough as a human being of unique qualities not to need to be seen as a saint.
Indeed to sanctify your memory would be to miss out on the very core of your being, your wonderfully mischievous sense of humor with a laugh that bent you double.
Your joy for life transmitted where ever you took your smile and the sparkle in those unforgettable eyes. Your boundless energy which you could barely contain.
But your greatest gift was your intuition and it was a gift you used wisely.
This is what underpinned all your other wonderful attributes and if we look to analyze what it was about you that had such a wide appeal we find it in your instinctive feel for what was really important in all our lives.
Without your God-given sensitivity we would be immersed in greater ignorance at the anguish of AIDS and H.I.V. sufferers, the plight of the homeless, the isolation of lepers, the random destruction of land mines.
Diana explained to me once that it was her innermost feelings of suffering that made it possible for her to connect with her constituency of the rejected.
And here we come to another truth about her. For all the status, the glamour, the applause, Diana remained throughout a very insecure person at heart, almost childlike in her desire to do good for others so she could release herself from deep feelings of unworthiness of which her eating disorders were merely a symptom.
The world sensed this part of her character and cherished her for her vulnerability whilst admiring her for her honesty.
The last time I saw Diana was on July 1, her birthday in London, when typically she was not taking time to celebrate her special day with friends but was guest of honor at a special charity fund-raising evening.
She sparkled of course, but I would rather cherish the days I spent with her in March when she came to visit me and my children in our home in South Africa.
I am proud of the fact apart from when she was on display meeting President Mandela we managed to contrive to stop the ever-present paparazzi from getting a single picture of her—that meant a lot to her.
These were days I will always treasure. It was as if we had been transported back to our childhood when we spent such an enormous amount of time together—the two youngest in the family.
Fundamentally she had not changed at all from the big sister who mothered me as a baby, fought with me at school and endured those long train journeys between our parents’ homes with me at weekends.
It is a tribute to her level-headedness and strength that despite the most bizarre-like life imaginable after her childhood, she remained intact, true to herself.
There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time. She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment that she received at the hands of the newspapers.
I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling.
My own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.
It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this—a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.
She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate and I do this here Diana on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.
And beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned.
We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role.
But we, like you, recognize the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know you would have expected nothing less from us.
William and Harry, we all cared desperately for you today. We are all chewed up with the sadness at the loss of a woman who was not even our mother. How great your suffering is, we cannot even imagine.
I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies he has shown us at this dreadful time. For taking Diana at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had joy in her private life.
Above all we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.
Eulogies are tough. Tough to write, tough to deliver and hard to deal with the emotions they evoke.
But they’re worth it. Having that opportunity to pay tribute to and help others remember whoever it is that has passed the way you want them to be remembered.
So use these eulogy examples to help you compose the perfect eulogy to remember a loved one.