Thank you so much for being here today and showing our family and myself that our dad holds a special place in your heart. Seeing all of you allows us to know that our father will be nearby always, because of memories stored within all of you.
Writing this for dad is an honor, but it’s also extremely difficult. What should I say? How do you begin to thank someone whose first gift to you was your very own existence?
I have had some time to think about what I could possibly say to bring honor to our dad. I hoped and prayed for profound words to express what dad meant to me. But all I could come up was this… I loved being dad’s daughter.
Most of you know him as Joe, or Joey. When asked to describe him- I’ve heard people say:
funniest man I’ve ever met
always put others first
and as the years passed he became very soft.
While I could use 1000 words to describe my father, I keep coming back to one thought… Never will you meet a greater man. At the risk of sounding cliché, Dad was one of the greatest men I have ever known—and likely ever will. He was down to earth and tried really hard to always see the best in everyone. Regardless of your age or background he always chose to see the best. You can be certain that 9 times out of 10 he cracked a joke about you at some stage, either to your face or behind your back.
Having spent so much time with my dad in the hospital, we were able to talk about an array of different topics. I truly cherish the time I got to spend with him on completely different levels. Not just as a father and daughter, but a teacher and student and most importantly as a friend.
Some of my most favorite conversations stemmed from our recent times together and I found myself discovering more and more things about him. For example: his first car was a blue VW bug. He told me if there is something in life that you want to do, do it. First job was a paper route at the age of 8. Quit smoking when mom was pregnant with both Ryan and I. He built his first trike (which also ate mom’s sweater while on a date) and he said it wasn’t hard to keep her off it after that. His favorite childhood memory was getting his Kawasaki 125 motorcycle. He loved his brothers and sisters, and he loved our mother.
What are some things you might not know about dad?
He loved to go sailing with the captain
never said no to a scotch cookie
in the words of his mother: he was a genius
didn’t mind a bowl of cherries, or a jar of clams
he rearranged his entire day around coronation street (Which lead to the name of his eldest grandchild, Ciaran, the bartender from the street)
he could find an onion in everything even if you tried to hide it
Could remember every joke he ever heard
He loved fishing more than any man I know.
Was his happiest when surrounded by family
He taught Ryan and myself what it meant to put your head down and work
could rarely remember a birthday or anniversary
would set an alarm but always insisted you call and wake him as a backup
And through it all he kept his trademark moustache.
But without a doubt, the most wonderful thing about our father was his humor. Especially at the most inopportune times. His ability to come up with quick witted responses never ceased to amaze me.
These last few months have been tough, as we watched this brilliant man fade quickly. He suffered silently and endured more pain than one person ever should-and he only occasionally lost his sense of humor, and through it all he never once had a moment of self-pity. Hours before passing when his nurse asked him how he was doing, he gave the same answer he gave every day. I’m fine.
We’re all sad, of course, but also much more grateful than I would have imagined. Although cut short by a decade or two, our Dad’s life was overall one of a lucky man. Dad lived the last 3 years of his life like a man who had been given a second chance. He mended relationships, had important conversations, laughed, fished, welcomed 2 grandchildren, and created memories that will live within all of us.
In true Joe Paquet Fashion, I would like to leave you with a joke dad told me while he was in the hospital…
A guy walks into a bar and orders 6 double rum and cokes.
He drank them down real quick.
The bartender said woah buddy you must be celebrating something?
The guy replies, No, you’d drink real fast if you got what I got.
The bartender asks what do you have?
The guy says $1.50
Farewell dad, you did good. You did real good.