In Memorandum of Bill Coughlan

The Following is the eulogy I wrote for my grandfather who had recently passed


For those who do not know me; My name is Christopher, I am Debbie's son, and I have the good fortune to be Bill? and Jan?’s first grandchild.

Bill was many things to many people. He was a loving husband and father, a brother, a leader, and father figure to more people then I can count. But I am to talk about the man I knew. Bill was more than just my grandfather, he was one of the most prominent father figures in my life, and, of the many life lessons and wisdoms he has tried to share with me over the years, these are the ones that stand out most to me today.

Firstly: Don’t shy away from work. From an early age, Bill had my sister Joanna and I working for him in one fashion or another. The first projects I can remember include sanding the taped drywall joints in the house, pulling apart pallets in the back yard, and picking out the big rocks from his “clean fill” pile. (I should probably take some time here to apologize to Don and Cyndy… what can I say… I was 8…). This of course turned into bigger tasks such as mowing the lawn and using the tractor to spread out the clean fill (I never did get the hang of that tractor), and eventually led to helping Grandpa with his courier deliveries. There were many mornings Grandpa would wake me up at 5am to help him deliver newspapers all over Renfrew County. These are my first memories of talking to him as a father figure, although I admit I did not understand what he was talking about at the time, and I am still not sure if I do now.

Secondly: Grandpa taught me to enjoy life as best you can. These past few years, Bill loved to go out on his motorcycle, with Grandma on the back, and go out for rides with Uncle Don, Joanna, and the other C.A.V. members. When he grew concerned about his bike, he purchased a Spyder so that he could keep enjoying those adventures he loved. When I would come up to visit, these were the stories he would usually tell me first. Before the motorcycles, there were the summers camping out at Lake Clear; where grandpa taught us to fish, canoe, and ultimately the importance of wearing life jackets when he tipped the canoe with tiny Joanna in it. Grandpa always enjoyed his life and wanted us to do the same.

The last lesson my Grandfather taught me that I would like to share with you is this: Do not leave things to chance. As I look back, I can remember now that Bill always had all the bases covered. There was always an extra paddle in the canoe, always an extra jerry can of gas in the boat, winter emergency supplies in the car, and Grandpa never left on one of his truck runs without a means to communicate with Grandma. This lesson was further shown in his preparations for the proceedings here today. He made no secret of his wishes to his family, and it was that preparation which allowed his family to carry out his wishes for him.

As I have listened to many stories from his friends and family the last couple of days, I am amazed that almost everyone has a story that wows me and shows me some other aspect of him. I have come to realize that I only knew the tip of the iceberg, and I am suddenly wishing for more time with him, though I can’t help but feel that there could never have been enough. So today, I say goodbye to one of the most remarkable people I have had the privilege of knowing, and hope that I can instil in others the life lessons and wisdoms he tried to instil in me.

Goodbye Grandpa, and thank you for being the role model every little boy should have.