Friday, 12 April 2013

My father's funeral

It was my father's funeral yesterday ... and his family and friends did their utmost to give him the sort of send off he would have wanted and enjoyed. There was a nice mixture of solemnity and humour, with a touch of tradition.

The music played included some of his favourite tunes:
  • AMERICAN PIE written and sung by Don McLean
  • THAT'S LIFE written by Dean Kay & Kelly Gordon, and sung by Frank Sinatra
  • JERUSALEM written by William Blake & Hubert Parry, and sung by the King's College Choir, Cambridge
  • THE LAST POST, a traditional trumpet call of the British Army, played by the Band of the Royal Marines
  • I'M FOREVER BLOWING BUBBLES sung by the West Ham United Cup Squad
I read a short history of my father's life, my sister read a poem she had written, his grandchildren spoke about what my father had been like to have as a grandfather, and my brother finished off with some observations about my father's attitude to life and how he acted as a role model for the entire family.

After the funeral we had a wake, during which members of the extended family exchanged news and told lots of stories about my father.

It was a great pity that he was not there, as he would have enjoyed himself no end.


My father, George Cyril Cordery, in 1945.

My father at the 61st Anniversary of Operation Varsity, held at FIREPOWER, the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich.

32 comments:

  1. Glad to hear it all went well and was what people of my late Grandmother's generation would have called a 'good funeral'.

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  2. Hi Bob,

    I am also glad to see that it all went well on the day. That is a very good selection of music that would fully embrace the varied emotions of the day - solemn, uplifting, serious, funny and personal. Reflections on a long life really.

    All the best,

    DC

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  3. Bob, I'm sure your father was there and did enjoy himself. What greater tribute to your father than the stories and love shown.

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  4. Glad to hear that everything went well. I read your notes and they are really moving. A great man of values ( a rare spicies these days) who lived a plentiful life. I hope my children will remember me with the same afection and admiration as you have shown to your father. Rest in peace

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  5. Tim Gow,

    It was exactly as your grandmother would have described it!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Francis Lee,

    Considering the fact that it was a funeral, it was a good day for all of those who attended.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. David Crook,

    We sat down as a family and all of us suggested two tunes that we remembered our father liking ... and this was the list of music we can up with. Surprisingly it all seemed to fit together seamlessly.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Jhnptrqn,

    It certainly felt as if he was there, and the memories of him that people had increased that feeling.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Anibal Invictus,

    Had you met him, he would have told you that he was just an ordinary bloke who lived an uneventful life. To his family, he was neither of those.

    He had a set of morale standards that he always kept to ... and he instilled that same attitude in his children. He never walked away from something that he thought needed sorting out.

    One story that I did not include in my eulogy was about my father intervening when he saw a young teenage girl being harassed on a railway station by two older boys. He asked them to stop ... and they made the mistake of turning on him instead. That was a big mistake. He laid each of them out with a single punch. This happened just six years ago when he was 80!

    He is a tough act to live up to ... but I and his other children are trying to do so ... and I am sure that your children will feel the same about you.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Conrad Kinch,

    It was about as good a day as one can have at the funeral of a parent. Even the rain stopped just in time for the funeral!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Glad it all went well Bob.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

    Steve

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  12. Bob

    They say that 'old soldiers never die, they just fade away' but in this case with a bit of a fanfare.

    I would have been happy to have had a chat with your father over a cup of tea or a beer. He would have had so many stories to tell.

    God bless him.

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  13. Stokie Steve,

    Thanks very much for your best wishes.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  14. Jim Duncan,

    There was no way that we were going to let my father's passing go quietly, so we put on as good a send off as we could. I think that you would have enjoyed meeting him.

    My brother has asked me to collate and write down all my father's wartime stories over the next few months. We are even thinking of publishing them ... but as I will have some difficulty pinning down all the historical details, it may have to be a fictionalised account of what happened to him.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Hi Bob,
    May I offer my sincerest condolences and best wishes for you and your family during this painful time.

    Regards,
    John

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  16. He sounds like a fine man and it's good that you were able to send him on his way with style and with some wonderful memories.

    All the best to you now as normal service resumes and you start to find and slowly mend those little holes that appear in the fabric of one's life after the loss of a loved one.

    Aaron

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  17. Prayers are with your family. Sounds like it was a good celebration.

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  18. The Ferrymen (John),

    Thank you very much for your condolences. They are much appreciated.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  19. Prufrock (Aaron),

    I hope that we can all think that our own father was the best in the world. In my case I was very lucky to have mine around for so long. He was an inspiration and an example to everyone in the family.

    I suspect that the next few weeks - or even months - are going to be difficult, but that in the end things will return to something like 'normal'.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  20. Itinerant,

    Thank you for your prayers and support. My father was a great bloke (but then we would all think that about our own fathers, wouldn't we?) and deserved the great send off that we gave him.

    He will live on in our memories for as long as we live.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  21. I am glad to hear all went decently and in order and pleasing to the memory of your late father.
    As I approach the first anniversary of my mother,s death you will indeed be in my thoughts.
    Best wishes
    Alan


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  22. Tradgardmastare (Alan),

    It went well, and it felt like an apt celebration of my father's life.

    My mother died almost ten years ago, but even now I remember her every day, and I suspect that the same will be true with regard to my father.

    You probably do the same for your mother, and that as the anniversary of her death creeps up on you, that remembrance will be all the greater.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  23. Glad it went well Bob- sounds like you gave him a fitting send off and one he would have been proud of.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  24. Pete,

    We did our best ... and I think that my father would have been proud of the send off we gave him.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  25. Ross Mac,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    I don't think that we could have given my father a better send off ... and everyone who attended his funeral agreed.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  26. Sounds like a good and fitting send off. And an interesting mix of music.

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  27. Fitz-Badger,

    We tried to make the whole thing about my father; hence the choice of music. His favourite song that he sang whilst gardening ('American Pie'), his favourite singer (Frank Sinatra), his favourite hymn (Jerusalem), his favourite football team's song ('I'm forever blowing bubbles'), and the 'Last Post' because of his service as a soldier during the Second World War.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  28. I guess that is the what a funeral is for; to remember to the departed as they were at their best, in the peak of their humanity. The tragedy of age in the decline from that peak that often goes with it.
    Best wishes.
    Ion

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  29. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    Thanks for your best wishes.

    You are absolutely right about the funeral ... and it was my father at his best that we were remembering. His decline came relatively swiftly, and although that was difficult to deal with at the time, the funeral reminded us of what he had been, not what he had become.

    All the best,

    Bob

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