It’s not every day that you get asked to write and share a eulogy, but when it happens, it is a precious and joyful honor. When my mother-in-law asked me to perform the eulogy at my father-in-law’s funeral, I was humbled. As I attempted to sketch David’s life—in around five minutes—the tasked seemed overwhelming if not impossible! Yet, this was what was asked of me. I sought God and searched my memory banks and this is what I shared.
David was a firecracker in more ways than one. Born on Independence Day, July 4th, 1938 he came into this world with a bang. However left this world like a lamb.
A firecracker describes David well. With a twinkle in his eye, he shared stories of how, barely able to walk, he would escape from his mother’s attempts make him stay put. He seemed especially amused with his Houdini heroics. David was a fiery, independent man, and a leader that loved and served Rosie, his wife of 55 years, family, and friends.
As you know, David never met a stranger. If you couldn’t find him, it was because he found someone to talk to. Sometimes they were willing and later in life, he just plain cornered them! He loved visiting with family and friends.
One of David’s strongest attributes was his work ethic. Although he wasn’t a big man, he was extremely strong and determined for his size. He valued work; the harder the better.
I’ve only been in the family for 18 years. The first time I visited David and Rosie’s home, Rosie gave me “the talk”—not that talk, but the one where it was David’s house. I knew I was expected to honor David.
I took to David right away. Maybe it was because of disappointment with my own father that I saw how David served his family. He worked hard. He worked many jobs and did whatever it took. Before I entered the scene, he even worked multiple jobs at a time and when he came home, he worked some more. He built-on to their home to make more room for his kids. He worked in order to provide them a secure home. David was a stable and constant force in his family’s life.
Besides being wired to work, I believe he worked hard for a number of reasons: he was raised working and he raised his kids with that same, strong work ethic; he found value and satisfaction in his work; and it was his gift to serve others. David did not say he loved you in words, but he would be the first one there laboring alongside you, showing his love, giving you the gift of his time and presence. And, I say alongside of you, because you better be working too!
You have heard it said that a man is king of his castle, but I say that David was the king of any castle! The first time David and Rosie came to my home, I was intimidated by the fact that Rosie cleaned for a living. I heard that she moved her refrigerator three times a year to clean behind it! I cleaned as best I could. I did NOT move my refrigerator, and I DID shove stuff in my closets. Tony assured me that he did not expect me to be like his mom. What I didn’t know, was she wasn’t the one I needed to worry about. As soon as David came in, he started investigating my house, opening all my closets! I was busted and I was mortified! Welcome to the Buchberger family.
I hear I met the kinder, gentler version of David. He changed a lot from when I first met him; he drank and smoked and was a force to be reckoned with. At some point he quit both drinking and smoking and I praised him for that. Our families enjoyed our long visits much more. David was great at puzzles. Often times we’d sit around hours on end putting together difficult puzzles. One family member would traipse in as another one would leave.
After his stroke, he could no longer read his cowboy and western books, and wasn’t able to focus on puzzles. Work became increasingly difficult for him and David’s value, in his own eyes, declined.
I’d ask him, “How are you doing?” and he’d say, “I’m still kicking.” or “I’m still here.” I would always reply with a hearty, “Good!” His response to mine was always, “Why?” And I’d always answer, “Because I’m not ready to lose you yet.”
In David’s final years, he needed to know he still mattered, even when he couldn’t “do” for others any longer. I would share with him that he mattered to me, to others, and to God; just because he was David. He had value apart from what he could or couldn’t do. This was hard for David; probably one of most humbling battles he fought. I wanted him to know that I, we, were not ready to lose him “yet.” However this last month, we all knew it was time.
The day will come when we will long to hear one of David’s stories one more time. None of us know for sure what Heaven will be like, but I think of David planting new Christmas trees and tenderly tending to them. When we go to meet him, we’ll have a perfectly pruned tree in our new home and I am sure he will have many new stories to share.
David was in my life 18 years, about the amount of time it takes to raise a child. Dad was a gift to me and I pray that each of you will find your own story about how God used David Buchberger to be a blessing in your life.
You can learn more about David’s life by reading his obituary.