Larry Flanigan - Lisa's Dad

Larry Flanigan – Lisa’s Dad
Husband, father, grandfather, fisherman, golfer, fireman and first aid/EMT 

“Grief is like the wake behind a boat.  It starts out as a huge wave that follows close behind you and is big enough to swamp and drown you if you suddenly stop moving forward.  But if you do keep moving, the big wake will eventually dissipate.  And after a long enough time, the waters of your life get calm again, and that is when the memories of those who have left begin to shine as bright and as enduring as the stars above.”

Dad was a fisherman, a captain and a Keys fan – what better way to think of him then with this passage from Jimmy Buffett’s book set in the Keys. – Excerpt from A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett (Chapter 43, Page 474)

Eulogy  Read June 8, 2008 

Let me begin with heart felt thanks to all of our friends, neighbors and family who have extended such profound support and caring during these past few years and more specifically the past weeks. Hibernia Co 1, the many medical professionals, the dialysis center, the hospice workers, the friends on the internet, the neighbors, the old friends and simply everyone – Thank you does not even begin to say enough, we are humbled by your compassion.

My father’s life should not be measured by how he left this world, but how he lived his life. Although my father’s life was marked with the loss of so many he loved, he never forgot to enjoy life and LIVE it to the fullest. He lost his father when he was 17 shortly after he lost his aunt, both to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, only we did not know it then. A few years later he lost his only sister to a car accident, he spoke of her fondly even 40 years after her passing. In 1990 his brother was taken in his late 40’s and 5 years later we lost our sister Lori at the age of 36 both to HCM. While each of these took a toll on dad – he was filled with life, energy and a passion for adventure. He could smile in the face of pain, crack a joke and make just about anyone smile – even if the joke were a bit worn.

My dad was born in Dover and lived his entire life as a resident of Rockaway Twp. He was the oldest of 3 children, his parents Lawrence Sr. and Catherine lived in Hibernia, and his father was a founding member of Company 1.

My parents were married for over 52 years – 52, long, interesting, turbulent, fun, rarely dull and story filled years. In the past 2 years mom went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure dad had the best care, it was not easy on her and we appreciate all she did for him, and he appreciated it too.

Early in his professional life his adventurous side took over and he set out to forge his own path by becoming a sole proprietary and opening Viking Sewing Center – around the corner from the Singer store, his former employer – not a simple task by any means and it became a true family affair with both he and my mother as well as each of us kids taking our turns working Saturdays and summers in the store – some of us even had our very own “office” space in the back – also known as a play pen! Larry joined him in the business as a young man and continues there to this day.

We, his children, and grandchildren knew him like no others, we knew his sense of humor, his work ethic, his need for levity in a serious situation and his passion for real gourmet food, hot dogs, sausage and peppers, egg foo young, stuffed cabbage – all really HOT – with a really cold ginger ale! And let us not forget his attempt to convince his young kids that cheese cake and ketchup make the perfect desert!

He had a passion for fishing which began in the streams, brooks, rivers and lakes of NJ and took him to the Rocky Mountains to fish the Bitterroot and to the Florida Keys where he graduated to the position of “Captain Larry’ aboard the “Lori – Anne” where he set out to Pickles and Molasses Reefs in search of yellow tail or on the bay to enjoy the beauty of the mangroves and catch some snappers and maybe a look at a manatee.

His passion for golf brought him to the Water Gap Country Club and the over the hill gang – he loved golf so much that one of us actually got married on a golf course as not to disrupt his Sunday tee time. All that golf did finally pay off when 2004 he got his first and only HOLE IN ONE! He was also great at organizing golf outings and did a great job on the two outings that were nearest and dearest to his heart – the fire department outing and the HCMA – Lori-Anne Memorial Outing.

Dad was a wonderful grandfather and spoiled his grandkids in so many ways! If it was not fishing trips on the Lori-Anne, or use of the golf cart (even when you were not quite 14!), it was hand made building blocks made with love (al be it a bit bigger then the ones from the store) or funny gifts at holidays (like jars of pickles), Your grandfather loved you all.

While family was keenly important to my father there was one other relationship that shared his heart – Company one and all the men and women who served with him, he loved you one and all. You will know just how much my dad liked you by his choice of greeting he gave you – the cruder the comment the deeper his affection – and you all know what I mean! To those who helped arrange the transport and to those who actually came to pick dad up from Cleveland in 510 there are simply no words to tell you how much that meant to him and to the family – you loved him as much as we did and we know that.

Two weeks ago while dad was in the hospital I had a meeting with the staff of Morristown Memorial and asked them to assist me in a program for the volunteer fire and first aiders of Rockaway Twp. They have agreed to conduct a free and confidential heart screening for all Rockaway Twp. volunteers on September 20, 2008. The idea for this originated from the loss of our dear friend’s Keith Idland after his sudden passing this past year. Originally I thought it would be named in honor of my father and in memory of Keith – now the event will be in memory of 2 neighbors, brothers in the company and friends of 35 years – Keith and Larry’s Heart Fair will help you each ensure that your hearts are strong, healthy and fit. Had someone done this for them when they were younger they may have both lived longer and or healthier lives.

I will share an email I received this morning from an HCM researcher in Minneapolis it really sums up my dad’s life in just a few words.
“Your dad was a good guy who lived life the right way—-with integrity, fairness and with love of family. It is the highest compliment.”

I will share one story about my dad with you and ask 2 things in closing: First the story – one day when I was about 12 my dad stopped at the bus stop and asked – “do you have any tests today” I said “no” He then said – get in the car we are going fishing – it was a fun day – I can't remember if we caught anything – but I know we had to get home before the bus so mom would not find out!

The moral of the story – take the time to just say – the **** with the rules and go FISHING – life is simply too short.

In closing I will ask each of you to commit a random act of kindness in memory of dad he was a kind sole with a great big heart –

We loved him and will miss him –
You have earned your rest.
Rest in peace dad.