In Memory of a Father and a Friend. June 4, 2003
It was an honor and a privilege to represent my family in speaking about dad. Below are the words were spoken and inspired by love, for a genuine man. Thanks again to my siblings for asking me to do this one last thing for
Dad. Dad’s funeral came too close after the terrible accident in Texas- but in some way, it helped bond us even closer as a family. Here is what I offered in tribute to Clovis:
You know, dad, I looked at the obituaries yesterday, and there it was, I saw your name. You must be doing alright.
For those who knew some of my dad’s more eccentric and charming ways, you know that each day he would read the obituaries and see who had died. When he knew someone—which was happening more and more now—he would usually tell a story about them or spend some time figuring out how we might be related through distant cousins. When any of us would ask him how he was, he’d always respond “Well, I checked the obituaries and my name wasn’t there… so I guess I’m alright”
Yeah, dad, you are alright.
You know… this is not an easy task. I am honored as the youngest of Mom and Dad’s brood to be up here. It is a humbling experience. It is a privilege. And Clovis was touched by—and touched– so many: his brothers and sisters, his cousins, the St. Teresa’s community, his old friends from Oclair Street, from the Rubber shop, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren… the list is endless. Know that we all share the pain of the passing of a good, good man.
But I am going to have to be honest too in my words here today. Clovis was not perfect. He was, after all, human. I want to spend a BRIEF moment giving a FULL perspective on Clovis. And as a family, we have had some fun talking about these traits this week. He could sometimes be bitter and even angry. He was never shy about offering his opinion—a characteristic that now seems to be a family trait. He could get fired up about something and yell. As much as he would say, “Don’t worry about the small things” there was a time when he really got going on some small things. He would often say that he was blessed by God on the one hand and then say, “If only I had better eyesight on the other.” Like all of us, Dad had his challenges, his opportunities for growth. So remembering and loving him includes remembering ALL of him, including the not so charming characteristics. Having said that, though, I have found a remarkable trait in all of this: That my father never, ever stopped asking questions.
Well, dad, ask, and ye shall receive, knock and the door will be opened.
And so that’s what I want to turn to now. Clovis, the man who asked a lot of questions. Even today’s Gospel, Clovis’s favorite passage from the Bible from Matthew, was a constant refrain for dad as he went about the routines of this life. He even went through the troubles to write down his story, a story he called, “I search for one God and find all three” His writing contains some 45 handwritten pages on how my dad believed God has touched his life. Extraordinary. Here lies a man who asked a lot of questions.
Some time ago I took an interest in my dad’s letter writing. He often wrote to elected officials, friends and family. When faced with challenges he always wanted to know the root cause of those challenges. I have found that it is in my father’s questions that I have found the true testimony of his life: He would often answer his own questions with a simple, yet profound, response “The Holy Spirit works in some wondrous ways and God Almighty has a plan for everything and everyone.” My dad’s faith was the foundation that he stood on through the many, many challenges he faced. Here lies a man who never lost his faith.
This was especially apparent this past winter. It is no wonder that our family in Texas took comfort in Dad. I know that Susan, Donald, and Anita took shelter in dad’s words. We all did.
Somehow knowing that dad would be with Donald, Joshua, and Jennifer sooner than most of us
gave us comfort talking to him. His death is bittersweet knowing that we have lost much- but
we all take comfort knowing that we have sent our best ambassador and friend to be with them.
His tombstone could say many things: Here lies a great Dad, a loving husband, the worlds best Pepere, a great dancer… but of all things, the most accurate is “Here lies a family man who never lost his faith.” I am proud of my dad, a letter writing, a jolly grandfather from Blackstone who’s faith sustained him for a long, happy life.
In addition to my dad’s letters, I took an interest in his story. So as he was preparing his will and preparing for his death, I took a tape recorder and we sat down for a conversation. I want to share some of what my dad and mom had to say about his death and his constant search for answers to life’s many questions. In particular, I want to share a part of the tape where we were talking about an old, dear friend Leo Diore, who dad is now probably bowling with—and then he moved on to talking about his own death, about the death of his mother and about his strong belief in God and the resurrection. I share this personal conversation in hoping you all know that
Clovis is indeed in a better place.
<< Coming soon >> << I played a section of tape from an early conversation with dad about his health, his perspective on life and what he believed would happen when he died. Come back soon for a voice clip >>
Hearing my dad’s voice brings me great sadness, but it also brings me great joy. Here is a man who shared a love with such generosity that it builds up the faith for all those who come in contact with him. He often called himself ordinary, and uneducated. I beg to differ. Here is a great, humble man who had the wisdom of an ancient soul.
You know, even his name, Clovis—something strong in just the sound of that. Clovis. When calling someone he’d answer the phone with a hallmark, “This is Clovis Marcotte speaking…” as though he had something important to announce to the world. You know what dad, you did.
You taught me a so much., but most of all the lessons about unconditional love and faith by far are the most important. I could certainly mention the many ways to taught us to cuss in French when you were trying to make or break something, but I’ll focus on the other gifts you gave your family. Two weeks ago you were down for a nap and mom said you were still able to read, so I had written you a letter. In that letter, I wanted to thank you for one last thing… you had spent some time with me on the from steps on Elm Street. Just me and you, father and son. I remember asking you some question about babies… I think Paulette had just given birth to Charles maybe, and you said, “Randy, children are God’s way of helping the family grow and God’s way of thanking you for the hard work.” That day you drove home to me the importance of family and the gift of love. Thanks, dad.
And there are other thank you’s. I can not stand here and only tell my story, so dad, here are some words of thanks from this large (and loud) family you and mom helped create.
<< From here I read a number of cards submitted by other family members. >>
And we should all thank Ray too, for standing by dad so faithfully, but especially when we all went Texas to mourn and comfort one another. << post-script: our dad was sick, but tragedy struck in Texas. Our dear brother Ray stayed behind to hold down the fort while the rest of us went to Texas in support of Donald, Susan, and Anita. >>
There are two things left for me to do today. I want to share another piece of my dad’s reflections and tape, and I want to share a bit of his humor. First to the tape.
In December—after putting most of our family on a flights bound for Texas—Dad and I sat down late in the evening. He talked again with pride about his family. I have recently learned that even in his medical treatment, dad was surrounded by extended family. From the EMT team that came to get him, (Bill, thanks for the personal touch), to the Hospital (Michelle is there on staff), Dad was surrounded by members of the tribe. You may have heard this incredible news too: that in the hours of dad’s final death, that his Grandson Charles and his wife Tracy were given the gift of a newborn baby boy, Levi Coyote Picard. Even in Clovis’s death, his legacy and his belief in God’s love was affirmed. He was surrounded by family and loved ones, he could take comfort knowing he would live on. It’s is this richness of life that is on this next tape. Dad described the impact love had on him, so at 2 AM on December 2nd, here is what dad had to say about his life and his family.
Tape #2 << I played a tape of dad talking about the events in Texas, and how special it was to him that people have taken time out of their lives to be with him. Again, come back soon to hear if for yourself >>
We have gathered in community for Clovis. We are here to support his loving wife, our mother, friend and memere and we mourn. Mourn yes, but lament no. Dad prayed for a death just like his. All of his questions have been answered. He now has 20/20 vision, and his continues to be surrounded by family and friends. Even if my faith is shaken, or yours, we all must believe that
Clovis is EXACTLY where he wants to be. His STRONG faith alone is the reason to celebrate his death as a new beginning. My niece Hollie said it nicely this morning when she said, “How long could we expect Jesus to go without his Clovis.” So thanks Jesus for sharing Clovis with us, and thanks for welcoming him home to you.
And now for a bit of Clovis Humor. On the back of your bulletin, there are some “memorable Clovis sayings” Ironic as it is- and we just love the irony in this family—when we were all putting these together we forgot one. When struggling to recollect a story, a name or a place, dad would always say, “I have a good memory, but it is awfully short.” Fitting that we forgot that.
And so here is where you come in. On the back. Clovis would have wanted us to laugh.
From the program:
- You just made my day!
- You can’t judge a book by its cover!
- I love you too!!
- How goes the battle?
- Hope everything is “Hey, OK” with you!
- If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones.
The not so polite…
- “Ahhhh…. Bullshit with you! (Usually said when he made up his mind to do something
- when other people were still being indecisive.)
- Don’t tell me, I KNOW, I KNOW…. But I can’t see the damn thing. (Usually said
- when trying to fix, break or make something).
- Ehh Moo Ta Zee (Well, usually said on one of those not so rare moment of losing his
- There is more room on the outside than on the inside. (Usually said after farting)
- Ahh…. That’s Good BOOZE! (said after any drink when thirsty.. especially his AM
- orange juice).
And the signature Clovis…
- If I don’t see you through the week….
- I’ll see you through the window.
- See you later….. Alligator!
- See you in a while….. Crocodile!
- Have a great day, everyday!
Dad, Thanks. I will.