This is the Eulogy I wrote for my Grandfather, and spoke at his funeral:
Lloyd Baker, “Mr. Baker,” “Coach” “Grandpy” “Dad” was truly representative of The Greatest Generation. He was kind, loving, steadfast, headstrong and loyal. He expected great things out of the people he associated with. “No compromise” was his favorite saying.
He lived an incredibly full life. He piloted B-24 aircrafts during WWII receiving the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was an iconic, undefeated Football coach. He was a Vice Principle of schools that turned into an unfailingly fair Principle you didn’t want to cross. He was a respectable, valuable community member. Despite his “no comprise” motto Lloyd Baker was a loving husband and a doting Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather to his 11 great grandchildren. I’ll never forget the time at my house last Thanksgiving when he got down on the floor to do a puzzle with my 4 year old. We were all pretty happy he was able to get back up on his own.
Grandpy used to call me his “special girl” and he was certainly my special guy. Lloyd had a way of making everyone around him feel special, though. He looked you in the eye. He asked interesting questions. He always wanted to know what your next step was and he wanted to make sure your shoe laces were tied before you took it. He was an intellect and a gentleman. He told the best stories. Someone said to me this week, “They don’t make ‘em like your Grandfather anymore.” We aren’t just saying goodbye to a family member or a friend today. We are saying goodbye to a piece of history.
Grandpy loved the babies in our family. If any of them cried we would hand them over to his gentle giant hands and they would melt right into him. He adored his grandson in laws. You could often catch him around town bragging about them or wearing clothes from the various companies they worked for or colleges they went to.
He loved his granddaughters. Joan, Christmas wasn’t Christmas until he received one of your beautiful trees. Beth, he was so proud of your children’s accomplishments. Kate. We’ll never forget when your son walked onto Lloyd Baker field hand in hand with his Great Grandfather to do the homecoming coin toss. He loved you with all of his heart. Rebecca. Being the youngest, you spent a lot of time at Nana and Grandpy’s house. Kate and I would be lying if we said we weren’t jealous of the amount of M&M’s Grandpy would sneak to his precious girl. His namesake lives on with my daughter, Paigely Baker Quinn and Rebecca’s son, Grayson Lloyd Muller.
He loved my Dad. Dad, he wasn’t your Father in Law, he was your Father, and you were his son. The countless, selfless things you did for him went above and beyond.
To Aunt Anne, his oldest daughter. What amazing memories you left him with. The trip to New York City and the Road Scholar Trips you took him on. When he chatted with me over the phone I always knew the days you were coming to visit because he couldn’t hold back his excitement.
And to our Mom. You devoted your life to your parents. You brought your Father such joy and happiness. You were there for the little things and the big things. You bore a lot of the stress that comes with an aging parent. It might have looked fine from the outside but your family we knew how hard it could be on the inside. You did it all …. and you did it how you do everything in life – with style and grace. You were your father’s shining light.
This community is so strong. Together with my family we’d like to thank you for not only your support during the last week but for your support of Lloyd in the last years of his life. His favorite barber Mike Siren, his favorite diner Brook’s BBQ, his favorite Mexican restaurant The Fiesta, the staff at Oneonta High School. You shook his hand, as bone shattering as that can be. You called him Coach Baker. You reminisced with him and made HIM feel special, too. You didn’t just take him to the movies or to dinner or to church. You took him in as your own and we are forever grateful for that..
We’d like to thank the nurses and hospital staff at Bassett Medical Center ICU. They were, as Grandpy would have called them, “Little Angels From Heaven.” And speaking of heaven…. What an amazing way to enter it – with both of your loving daughters by your side.
Our Grandmother passed away on my wedding day and our Grandfather passed the day after my birthday. Last week in the middle of the night I had a powerful feeling of being swept up in a huge bear hug. I think most of us in this room have been on the other side of Lloyd Baker’s hugs. I want you all to imagine a signature Lloyd Baker hug now. The way he would grab your hand and pull you in so tight you almost couldn’t breathe.
Imagine that embrace now…hold it in, and then let him let you go. Let him be in peace and let him live on in your memories. And know in your hearts that he is exactly where he always wanted to be…next to his wife’s side forever.