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The Funeral

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									Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s Library

Funeral with Marine Honor Guard and Grandchildren
Celebrant: Elizabeth Phaire

Opening Words
Welcome. I am Elizabeth Phaire, a Funeral Celebrant. On behalf of the Queen family, I thank everyone for coming to support the family and to honor the life of Ralph Queen. I also thank the Oakland Funeral Home and Anthony Fasetta for their caring service to the family during this emotional time. After the ceremony, the family invites you to join them at the Elm St. Grill, which is just around the corner from here. They also ask you to sign the guestbook. Please take a moment to turn off your cell phones, thank you. We begin with the highest honor that is given a faithful servant of our country. As you know, Ralph was a proud Marine and federal police officer. The Federal Honor Guard stands with us, and the Marine Color Guard will now perform the traditional Flag Ceremony. Marine Color Guard – Flag Ceremony Taps The Folding of the Flag Presentation of the Flag to the King Family

Eulogy
Celebrant: In the words of Ralph’s favorite hero, John Wayne: “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.” Ralph was a man who had a clear sense of right and wrong, and was consistent in what he believed. In his life and his work, Ralph lived the core values that are the Marine character – honor, courage and commitment. Perhaps it was also his proud Scottish heritage shining through, an ancient lineage of great warriors singing in his blood.

As all good warriors are, Ralph was strong and gentle. He gave his all to care for his family. Linda says, “He spoiled me rotten.” And his concern extended to those outside of his family as well, willing to help others in any way he could, almost to a fault. “He would talk to everybody and everybody would talk to him, even if he didn’t want them to”, Linda says. He was the kind of guy who, standing in a supermarket line, the person next to him would tell him their whole life story. His mother-in-law Mary, whom he affectionately called Maude, says he was the best son-in-law, and they had a wonderful relationship. She also remembers how mischievous he was – he used to purposefully annoy her by using her expensive Depression glass coasters as an ashtray. For Ralph, punctuality was #1. His co-worker and friend, Dennis, remembers how Ralph endeared himself to his co-workers because he would arrive at work an hour to an hour and a half early every morning. He’d change into his uniform, make a pot of coffee, and relieve the worker who was on duty. If Ralph were ever late for anything, he’d be in a bad mood all day. At home and at work at the U.S. Mint, one could always count on Ralph to have a pot of good strong coffee prepared. Dennis remembers the time fellow co-worker Joe Deleo served Ralph a cup – Ralph took a sip and tasted cinnamon in it. He was so upset- just could not believe anyone would put cinnamon in coffee. The guys never let him live that down. Now hot sauce in his coffee was another matter entirely - Ralph loved spicy food. Yes, he would put hot sauce in his coffee, and salt in his soy sauce. Suzie and her husband Michael remember the time they made fresh hot pepper powder for Ralph – they baked and ground the pepper, it was so strong they had to come back an hour later wearing masks to finish the job. In the end, Ralph tasted the powder and said: “It’s a little warm.” Dennis remembers with delight that he broke the record and finally found a hot sauce that was too hot for Ralph. He had given it to Ralph who tried it, brought it back the next day, and humbly grumbled, “I can’t eat this.” Born January 28, 1950 to Ralph and Jeanne Lorraine King, Ralph grew up on a farm in Flint, Michigan - a very small town where he also attended a 2-room schoolhouse. He had two sisters, Marg and Bonnie, and a brother, Jerry. Ralph was tempered by the hard life he had. It is said that when he went to sleep at night he had a glass of water on his nightstand, and when he woke up, the glass was full of ice. That says a lot about the hardiness, strength and endurance he had to develop. In his youth, he learned how to work hard and demonstrated self-discipline by raising horses all on his own, working jobs and bartering to get them. His love of coffee began at age 9 -- after he’d do his morning chores in the barn, he’d come into the house and his mom would give him a cup. On a farm, there are so many tasks that just have to get done, no questions asked. Being a farmer, Ralph loved John Deere tractors, the best tractors in the world of course. Ralph played football in Goodrich High School; and after graduating in 1968, he worked at GM for a little while, a job he hated. He then joined the Marines -- against his Dad’s wishes. He served one tour of duty, and when he returned, the job market was poor. It was August 1974. He went to the Marines recruitment office in Detroit to re-enlist, and it

just so happens Linda was there, enlisting herself. Afterwards both walked to the bus station, and he started talking to Linda. She was wary of him, being that they were in Detroit. Then she found out they were taking the same bus to Flint, and they chatted the whole way home. Their courtship continued and in February of 1975, Ralph proposed while on leave. They were married that September. Their first married year together, they lived in Camp Pendleton in California, and then he was stationed for a while in Alaska. Ralph fell in love with Alaska, where he enjoyed salmon fishing with his buddies. It became his dream to live there permanently one day and work in the Juno police force. In 1976 Ralph and Linda moved back to Michigan, where he still had difficulty finding a job. Linda became pregnant with Suzie, and Ralph took a job as deputy sheriff for the jail in Oakland County. At that point he didn’t necessarily want to be a corrections officer, he just wanted to support his family. Linda says that because of the kind of man he was, the deputy job suited him perfectly. Suzie was born in 1977, and John in 1978. That same year, the family moved to Commerce and Ralph built a house there. Suzie and John’s earliest memories are of this house and its construction. Suzie remembers playing in the yard. John remembers the time they dug a hole in the backyard, and Ralph drove his tractor into it, not knowing the hole was there; and how they had to pull the tractor out. Linda says Ralph had the patience of a saint with the kids-- both their own, and the neighborhood kids. In the Fall, the maple trees on their property would shed tons of leaves. The kids would come to rake, but end up jumping and playing in the piles. Ralph would say nothing, and the next day, clean up the leaves properly. During this time, Ralph also went to college on the GI bill, and worked full time while attending school full time. John says his Dad would lock himself in the bedroom to study. Linda remembers how Ralph struggled with English and she helped him. As was consistent with his dedicated personality, Ralph persevered and received his two-year degree from Oakland Community College, with honors. Ralph eventually grew tired of living in the suburbs and so in 1985, they moved to Goodrich, where he had purchased 5 acres of land. Linda says that Ralph was in his glory there. He had a huge vegetable garden, and as usual his goal to remodel one room turned into remodeling the entire house. Ralph loved to build, and was very handy. Then his shoulder was badly hurt on the job during a fight with prisoners; and he had to quite his job, so as not to risk hurting his shoulder again. In 1989 they moved to Las Vegas with no job, no house to go to. They stayed in a hotel and within 3 days got an apartment; and Ralph got a security job at the Showboat Casino. John says his Dad loved that job, because he got to eat prime rib with horseradish every single night. One day the kid’s school bus was shot at and the family moved again, in 1990. They went to Milpitas, California where Ralph got a job at Lockheed Martin. After 6 months he was laid off and he took a security job, which he hated. Then he was hired as a Federal police officer at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, in 1991. Suzie remembers this time fondly, because as a teen she used to go down to the city with her girlfriend, and was allowed to roam the city freely, just as long as she checked in with her Dad periodically.

He would also show them around the Mint. “It was such freedom and great fun”, she says. Ralph completed training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training center on July 2, 1993. This was quite an achievement -- at that point he was 43 years old, the training was rigorous and he was competing with 20-something year olds. In 1994, the family moved to Texas, where Ralph got at job at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. During this time, Linda remembers she worked first shift and Ralph worked second shift. When she came home for lunch, he’d have dinner made, and he’d clean up after. She says she could clean the whole house in the amount of time that it took him to clean the kitchen, but that kitchen would be immaculate. John says his Dad was very detail oriented. “It wasn’t about the speed, it was about the quality of the job.” Ralph was transferred to the U.S. Mint at West Point in NY, on November 3, 2002, and moved to here in New Jersey. In recent years, Ralph became deeply interested in his genealogy. He was fiercely proud of his Scottish heritage, says Ellen. He was also a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and The Mayflower Society, being one of 26 male descendents from the Mayflower. Ralph and Linda traveled often, and their road trips usually included a stop at the National Archives, or stopping in to visit a distant relative he had discovered through his research. In his leisure time Ralph could be found working on a building project, playing with his grandchildren, or curled up on his favorite green leather chair under his favorite afghan, watching John Wayne movies. He loved John Wayne, and had a whole collection of his movies on VHS – it was a running joke that he was probably the only person in town who still had VHS tapes and watched them. On August 13th of this year, Ralph was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He did not ask for a prognosis, preferring to let the remainder of his life come to its own natural end in its own time. Ralph faced his death with the same calm acceptance and courage with which he embraced life. His co-workers were a wonderful support during this time. When Ralph’s sick leave ran out, they donated their sick leave, so that he would continue to have income. Linda says that he never complained of pain, and she almost had to force him to take his pain medicine. At 5 a.m. on November 4, 2007, Ralph Queen passed away peacefully at his home, lovingly surrounded by his family. Ralph’s daughter Ellen will now speak:

Personal Eulogy – Daughter Ellen
Hello. As I stand here, I see friends and relatives that have come great distances to be here for my Dad. I am humbled and quite frankly impressed at how he must have touched your lives. I can only speak for myself, but when I think of how he touched my life, the first word that comes to mind is “admiration”.

I could stand here and list all the ways I admire him…but well, a lot of you have flights to catch. But I would like to share a few reasons why I admire my Dad. First and foremost was his love and commitment for my Mother. And not just marital commitment. He was committed to making her HAPPY. If it was important to her, it BECAME important to him. They were happily married for 32 years, and during his last days, his only concern was for Mom’s well being, and not his own impending mortality. I also admire him because of the KIND of father he was to us (my brother and me). Yes, he loved us… very much. But he also instilled in us a core value system that defined who HE was. And that, was a man who kept promises. Honored commitment. He was a man of integrity. Whenever we stumbled, he could have accepted our bitching & moaning and advised us to take the easy way out and quit. But he’d have none of THAT. He fully expected us to see things through, all the way to the end without drama. “Do it. It just needs to be done.” he’d always say to me. If you’re here today, and I thank you for that, that means that he touched your life in some way or another. That means that you’d miss him in some way or another. Yes, he will be missed Friends will miss his coffee and corny jokes and his company His grandchildren will miss his giddy-up rides and the comfy naps on his favorite recliner My mother will miss having her best friend by her side I will miss my father, the source of my convictions. I will miss my inspiration.

Flower Ceremony with Grandchildren
Ralph’s grandchildren, Jack, Maribeth, and Patsy will now come up and each place a flower in this vase, in thanks for all of the giddyup rides and comfy naps on the couch they shared with Grandpa. John, Ellen and Michael bring up grandchildren and help them to place flowers in vase.

Reflection
We will now take a few moments in silence to hold Ralph in our hearts, and reflect upon how he touched us personally. This is also a time to pray, if you so choose. Pause for a few moments.

Closing Words
We mourn our loss of a good husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, son-in-law, and friend. There is a sense of unfairness that Ralph’s life would end just a couple of years before retirement, which he had many plans for. We mourn his dreams that will never be fulfilled. An old proverb says that: “Life is short, but wide”. Ralph’s life may have been shorter than we hoped it would be, but it was crafted meticulously with his own hands

and filled wide with many, many happy moments spent with his family, whom he deeply loved. In the words of Tibetan monk Thich Nat Han: Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle The miracle is not to walk on water the miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment. To appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. Peace is all around us and in nature and within us, in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace we will be healed and transformed It is not a matter of faith. It is a matter of practice. We are not meant to avoid life in fear of death. We are meant to live each moment fully, to connect with our environment and the people in our lives, to share the best of ourselves generously, to have courage, to do what needs to be done, and to practice our deepest convictions. Thus in the end, whenever our time may come, we can face it with peace, satisfied in our hearts that we were human and we really, really lived.

Committal
I will now read a poem called “Indian Prayer”: When I am dead cry for me a little Think of me sometimes but not too much. Think of me now and again as I was in life as some moments it’s pleasant to recall but not for long. Leave me in peace and I shall leave you in peace. And while you live let your thoughts be with the living. We leave Ralph in peace and bid him a loving farewell. As befits a warrior Scotsman, it was Ralph’s wish that bagpipers play. As we leave, we shall listen in honor of him. Thank you ladies and gentleman, this concludes our tribute.

Recessional Music: Bagpipes Amazing Grace Scotland the Brave Marine Corps Hymn ~Here ends the ceremony to remember and honor our loved ones~


								
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