I’ve been quiet on my blog for longer than I’d like because three weeks ago, my grandfather Charles J. Zeidler of Pittsburgh, PA passed away unexpectedly and we traveled to Pittsburgh to be with my family. Today he would have been 83 years old. He was a Korean war vet and up until March 23rd, he was healthy and lived on his own. Since my grandmother died he had established his routine of hanging out at home watching TV, going to the Allegheny Country Rifle Club to have beer and a cigar, and heading to my Aunt and Uncle’s house to have dinner every Friday. In recent years, my grandfather has been a touchpoint for the family, serving as a common connection that we could all come back to. During his memorial service I was impressed by the sheer number of the friends my grandfather had established this late in life. I’m thankful for their support and that of all of my immediate and extended family. I’m glad that so many knew and loved him the way that I did.
To celebrate his birthday, I’d like to share the eulogy I gave at his memorial service just after the taps finished playing.
Thanks for joining us today in celebration of my grandfather’s life. My PapPap was a quiet and friendly man, quick to smile, liked by everyone. I’d like to share with you a few of my memories of him.
I remember staying at Grandma and PapPap’s house, often with my cousins, and asking Grandma repeatedly what time PapPap would be home from work at the steel mill.
I remember walking with him to the top of the hill to play at rosecliff park.
I remember riding with PapPap to take Grandma to and from work at Eat’n Park, with his shouted reminder not to slam the car doors no matter how softly I closed them.
I remember how all of my cousins and I liked to sit on his lap, he had a very comfortable lap.
I remember watching Price is Right with him. I never got the prices right, and he always did.
I remember him visiting us in Ohio for important events like kids softball games and our birthdays, always with a few dozen Dunkin Donuts in tow.
I remember how he made the trip to see the actual important events in my life: my high school graduation, my college graduation from Miami University.
I remember how he took his second plane trip ever to see me get married in Austin, Texas in 2007. I will be forever thankful that I had my two grandparents there. His only previous flight had been during the Korean war.
I remember how he started to talk more as my Grandma got sick.
I remember how he always made the effort to see me, even on my short trips home from Texas. I remember how he visited me in Edinborough during my overnight stop on a two day BikeMS event in 2011. I didn’t know he was coming and I ran into him at a corner gas station as I was pausing to check directions at the end of my 100 mile ride. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see him.
My last memory of him is how excited he was when I talked to him after sending him a Yuengling pullover for Christmas just a few months ago.
So in celebration of his life, I ask that you toast him this evening by drinking his favorite beer, Yuengling.
Thank you for the memories PapPap. I can only hope to have such an outpouring of support when my time comes.
Charles J. Zeidler Jr. April 16, 1930 – March 23, 2013