Grandpa

My Grandpa died peacefully last Thursday. His funeral was yesterday. Below is a poem that I wrote for him the day after he died. My cousins and I read it at his funeral. I wanted to share it here so that other people can get a taste of what a wonderful guy he was.

A Poem to Remember You By                                                                   02/03/2012

By: Veronica Ripp

You made us flapjacks
and we got to sit on the counter while you cooked.
You told us riddles
and sometimes I rolled my eyes when you weren’t looking.
You gave good grandpa hugs that lasted extra long.
You gave us toys to play with:
lincoln logs and marble racks and inner tubes
tricycles and tennis rackets and rubber band guns.
You gave us candy.
You always had candy outside
and those sugar wafer cookie things
that come in packs of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
You didn’t swim,
but you made sure the pool was ready for us each summer
and you watched us jump off the diving board
again,
and again,
and again.

You worried about me,
about all of us.
You worried because some of us had stopped going to Church.
That broke your heart.
You worried about me finding a husband.
Lately, you always asked if I had a boyfriend
and usually I said, “no, still looking”
and you told me to never settle, to find a good guy,
and that it was okay to wait, because you had waited.
and so I am waiting
like you said.
but I really wanted you to be at my wedding.

You had a garden, a log cabin, a two story shed,
and heaps of land.
Your house was better than any playground.

You were sly and stolid and strong
and I thought you would live forever,
but yesterday you went to take a nap
and Grandma couldn’t wake you up.

You had been telling us for a while that it was near the end for you
and your advice was more solemn than before
and you wanted to tell us more about how you grew up,
but I ignored you.
We all did.
We thought you were too strong to die,
but you always knew the answer to the riddle
even the hard ones
and it didn’t matter how much we rolled our eyes
You had already figured it out
and your answer was always right.

If only I could have figured out this riddle before you.

 Here are a few photos of him, to get a taste of what Grandpa was like.

Grandpa was born in 1917; he grew up as one of 12 kids in a German Wisconsin farming family. Here he is with the family dog, Pal:

And here he is with one of his sisters:

He married my Grandma in 1955:


He had four sons who liked to cause hi jinks. Here they are at the pool with friends:He was gregarious and outgoing and love playing with his grandchildren. Someone caught him making this face while holding my cousin Katelyn as a baby:


Grandpa worked as a steamfitter for almost fifty years, many of those years at Hiram Walker’s Whiskey Distillery. He had a bottle from 1973 put away for safekeeping. We opened it and all did a shot in his honor:

Grandma did one too : )
His funeral was held at his parish, St. Marks in Peoria, Il. Grandpa put hours and hours of work into the Church. Grandpa made the cross that hangs above the altar from a walnut tree on his property. Here it is, at the visitation before his funeral:
I love you Grandpa. Say hi to Mother Mary for me. We will keep Grandma Mary safe for you. See you on the other side.
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