Tuesday, March 7, 2005 my father passed away.Samuel George Eddington, son of Samuel John and Minnie Margaret Hansen Eddington, grandson of Samuel and Mary Margaret Cook Eddington, great-grandson of Joseph & Rhoda Pitman Eddington.My father's family has lived in the Springfield, IL area since his grandfather came to America from England following his aunt and uncle, George & Jemima Knight.
To help you know my father a little more, the following is a eulogy what I wrote and read at his funeral:
A family begins when two people fall in love.Those two people teach you everything you need to know about life, love and even heartache.Dad was not a very demonstrative person.He showed his love in small ways.He taught us lessons about life quietly, the same way he lived his life.
It saddens me to think of my children growing up without truly knowing their grandfather. As a genealogist, there are certain life events that you want to discover when you are doing research....births, marriages, deaths.By looking for just these life events, you can miss out on some good information.For instance, if you just looked for dad's life events, this is what you would find:
Samuel George Eddington was born in Springfield, IL on April 2, 1927, the eldest son of Samuel John and Minnie Margaret Hansen Eddington. His father, as his father before him, was a truck gardener providing vegetables to the local farmers’ market. He signed up for the draft on his 18th birthday in 1945. On December 18th of that year, he was drafted into service after the official end of World War II. He was discharged from the service in January of 1947. In January of 1950, he married Marianne Sidener and they had 3 daughters together, Ruth, Sandy and Diane. Tragically, Marianne died in 1961. In 1962 fate intervened. Sam met a young widow and married her in 1963. Peggy and her four children, Jack, Randy, Pam and Dera, moved into Sam’s small house on 17th Street. In 1965, the family moved to Rochester where two additional children were brought home: Carla and Sam. In 1983, Sam retired from Fiat-Allis. In 2001, Sam lost a grandson, David Allen Frederick. In 2004, Peggy passed away due to complications of liver disease. In 2005, Sam died due to complications of prostate cancer.
However, this is not the legacy that my father has left us.These life events do not tell you enough about the life that my father has lead.Only those of us in this room will know the true Sam Eddington. I have to say my father is not an easy man to get to know. Dad was quiet, not very outgoing and he didn’t like change very much. He lived in the Springfield area all of his life, but he loved to visit other places, too, like Peoria, St. Louis, Las Vegas and Tunica.
So, here are some things that I will pass on to my children about my dad.My dad had three brothers: Donald, Ed, and Paul. His brother, Donald, was born the year after him. Sam and Donald were always together. People would say, "There goes Sammy and his buddy." Thus, Donald goes by the nickname of Buddy still today. Dad remembered being promised a pony by an uncle who lived in New York as a child. Dad never owned a pony. However, he did fight with his brother, Buddy, over whose turn it was to ride a pony and pushed him off of the horse. Buddy’s arm was broken in the fall. Dad still felt guilty about the accident over 60 years later.
On his birthday in 1949, he had his first date with Marianne Sidener. He fell madly in love with the petite woman who would eventually become his wife. Dad said Marianne was so much fun and always made him laugh.The laughter stopped in June of 1961 when Marianne died due to a heart condition.Dad felt the world close in on him.The only thing that kept him going during that time was his three young daughters.He bought five plots at Oak Ridge thinking he and the girls could not truly go on without Marianne.After much cajoling from his brother-in-law, Raymond, he joined a bowling league.In the fall of 1962, dad was bowling with Butch Cronister when mom came out to watch her brother bowl.Instead she met her future husband.They each found someone who could understand their pain and troubles. On Halloween, mom went trick or treating with the kids and dressed up in an ape outfit.Sam opened the door that night, and eventually eased his lonely heart. On February 16, 1963, Sam and Peg were married at Mt. Olive Missionary Church in Springfield.The family became the instant “Brady Bunch”.Eventually, Peg and Sam built the house on Pleasant Lane in Rochester.Their family of 7 expanded to nine after Peg gave birth to a daughter, Carla, and a son, Sam Jr.
When I think of my dad, I will not remember his final days because that was not my father. I choose to remember the father of my childhood.The father that was still young and athletic, who walked without a limp, who teased constantly and who loved me completely.I will remember my father bowling every Saturday night during the cold months and playing volleyball during the warm months.I will remember my father who took me on family vacations and taught me how to swim and to dive.I will remember my father who taught me how to play tennis... and maybe even a little about volleyball.He tried to teach me about poker and slot machines, but I guess that was one lesson I just didn't want to learn. He did teach me to love my family.To keep them close in my heart and to love them fiercely, just as he loved all of us.He couldn't understand anyone who did not want to spend time with their family because to him that was all that mattered.He had nine children, 20 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, who he was very proud of.Every single one of them.His two best friends in the world were his youngest brothers, Ed and Paul.I have so many memories of the three of them together that I will treasure for the rest of my life.To this day, as soon as I hear my uncle Ed's laughter, I am taken back to my childhood and the many hours of poker mom and dad played with Barb and Ed.
Dad did not wear his heart on his sleeve, but he held it in close and tight just as he did his family.When mom started to experience health problems, he finally started talking to us about Marianne's death.When I was growing up he didn't like to talk about it and seeing how much it still pained him 40 years later I can understand why.He felt the pain of her death every day of his life.
The cause of death on dad's death certificate will probably be listed as complications due to prostate cancer.For those of us in this room, we know the truth.Dad died of a broken heart.As a child, I sometimes thought mom and dad had a marriage of convenience.They married each other because they needed someone to share their burdens.In my heart of hearts, I know this wasn't true, but the last 5 years have given me a chance to find that truth.They each had their reasons for marrying the other.I don't know that I would agree with my mother, but she said she fell in love with dad because he had bedroom eyes.Dad always wanted to know why mom had to go through so much in those last 4 years of her life.I certainly did not want to see her suffer, but I believe that God has a plan for everything.Over those last four years, I heard my father constantly tell mom how much he loved her...and it was good to hear.Mom was his light and when that light went away last May, his life began to dim.Mom gave him a purpose and without her he felt he didn't have a reason to live.We tried to convince him otherwise, but he didn't want to live without her.Dad died just the way he wanted to...at home and in his sleep. God's blessing to us was that he wasn't in pain.He died the way he lived...quietly and privately.
Now mom and dad are reunited....and reunited with others as well.Marianne, David, Grandma and Grandpa Eddington.They are watching from above and right now mom and dad are probably arguing over which team will do better with the upcoming season...the Cardinals or the Cubs.They'll be rooting for the Illini to go all the way.I know they are up there watching us.I hope to pass dad's life lessons on to my children: laugh often and love well.Keep your family close by your side and show them every day, in big ways and in small, that you love them.