All I do is go to funerals anymore. A full house at St. Raphael’s Church in Bay Village said goodby to my old friend Mike Hayes, 72, one of the funniest guys we ever knew.
His older brother, Terry, did the lead eulogy. He recalled that on his deathbed, Mike complained that the room was too hot, that he was burning up. Terry said that he felt Mike and he seemed normal. Furthermore, the temperature in the room was very comfortable. Terry explained all that to his brother.
“Thank you, doctor,” said Mike.
George Condon, the old Plain Dealer columnist, passed away recently at age 94. Congressman Dennis Kucinich delivered the lead euology at St. Angela’s Church in Fairview Park. It was beautiful. Dennis has a gift. He is quotable. But he was so good, every line was loaded with emotion, that I don’t remember them. I should have written them down but I was unprepared. I had no notebook.
On the other hand, I’ll never forget John Betchkal’s eulogy at the funeral of Bob August, the old Cleveland Press sports columnist. Bob passed away a month ago at 89. His memorial service was at the Presbyterian Church in Wooster, Ohio.
Betchkal recalled going to the opera with Bob and Marilyn August in the 1960’s when they worked together at the Press.
“We’re quietly enjoying opera when Bob started to chuckle,” Betchkal said. “For Bob to chuckle was like someone else breaking out in gales of laughter. I leaned over to Bob and said, ‘What’s so funny?’
“Bob replied, ‘They just killed the wrong guy.’ He was an expert on opera. And they did kill the wrong guy. The next day the review in The Plain Dealer pointed that out.”
A good eulogist can be wonderful entertainment. My daughter, Mary, will do my eulogy. I told her that I want bursts of uncontrollable laughter early in her remarks but at the end I want her to leave them weeping openly. Bring plenty of Kleenex.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more.