Eulogy for my Brother

by Benito L. Ornleas
(Austin, Texas (USA))

Eulogy for my Brother - Jose Juan Ornelas

Ben wrote about why he decided to share his eulogy for his brother in an email to me. His reasons are posted here with his permission:

"I thought that my Eulogy might help others who might find themselves in the same situation I was and needed help in getting started.

Losing a loved one is very hard on a family and the Eulogy usually falls on someone who is a little distant from the departed. In our case, we are avery close family and no one else was in any condition to do it so I volunteered.

We had over two hundred family and friends and I was told that there was not a dry eye in the church. I did have one teacher come up to me and tell me that the Eulogy was one of the most moving Eulogies she had heard. I was very moved. I love my brother and I wanted to make it special for him. I am still very hurt by what he went through but I am happy that he is in a better place.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my brothers Eulogy with your audience."

Friends, loved ones and family -
It is an honor and privilege for me to pay tribute today to a very special person, my brother Jose Juan Ornelas.

My name is Ben Ornelas and I am Juan's younger brother. He was remarkable in so many ways. He lived his life to the fullest and touched so many people during his time here with us, as evident by so many of you here today. Griselda, Amanda, Joey, Eric and Krystal,I love you baby.

As I began to reach out for the right words to express my thoughts about my brother Juan, I remembered the many valued and meaningful roles that Juan played through out his life.

First and foremost I see him as the family man. He loved his family profoundly. He was a devoted husband / son / father / uncle / brother and friend. Looking back, he was always a family man.

Juan was a comfort for our mom and dad when they were alive. He was so devoted to them that I always felt it was OK to run away from home. I knew they would not miss me so long as he was around. I always knew he was there watching over them. He was a very respectful and caring man.

Juan took all of the roles in his life to heart and he strove to honor, support, and guide and most importantly, protect his family. He was at his happiest when he was surrounded by his family - even during those inevitable tough times that life has a way of throwing at you. His devotion to his family was the foundation of his actions - the anchor that defined and shaped his life.

As I turn the next page of Juan's life, I see Juan - the friend. He was a good friend to so many! He could be counted on and depended on always. Whether you needed simple advice, an empathetic ear, a shoulder to lean on; companionable silence, a listener if you will; if all you wanted was a pass the time, pool hall buddy - he was your man; ready, steadfast, willing and good fun.

As I look out at the faces in this beautiful church, I see many family members and friends and I know that you too will miss the friendship that Juan brought into your lives. I'm sure you all will remember him in your very own special way.

As I continue to turn the pages in Juan's life, I see Juan a man defiant and unwilling to settle for less. He lived a principled life underpinned by a strong sense of right and wrong.

Juan was not a cruel man and he wanted his children to understand that nothing can be gained from holding a grudge or leaving any issue that was very wrong unclear. He spoke out when it really counted; his strong principles did not allow him to let something wrong stand unchallenged. Juan cared enough to act - to follow through. He never let anyone or anything stand in the way of making things right. We can only imagine how much more he could have accomplished in his life were it not for his illness.

Another page is turned and I see him as a respected citizen. He shared his expertise with anyone who would listen, he worked hard and consistently and he remained a student of life. My brother never stopped learning especially through his loving wife and children. He never sat back and became complacent. He led by example as he mentored his nephews and nieces and his own children in a way that anyone of them can say that he was an inspiration in their lives.

My brother Juan was a business man who saw opportunity and made the most of it. One could say that what he touched turned to gold because he had a vision and his vision prompted him to act. But Juan, by the same token, was not too proud that he would not turn to his brothers Jesus and Enrique Jr. for advice. He knew that two or three heads were better than one when it came to business. I guess he did not ask me because I did not know how to make bread or run a business.

As I turn the page again I come face to face with Juan a man of passion and a dedicated supporter. He remained a keen sportsman who loved football, baseball and boxing.

He would stand at the door of dad's bakery, flex his muscles and stretch one arm out so that Janie and I could swing from it. He was always so proud of his strength. We would listen to boxing or any sport and he would say, boy, they better be glad I'm not playing, and then he would let out a simple heeeehooooo!

Juan supported children sports through his business and encouraged others to do the same. He loved seeing his own children involved in sports and activities that build character. He always told me how proud he was that my children were also so involved in activities that define their lives. I know that if he had been given a chance, he would have become a dedicated athlete.

I have to say though that the page in Juan's life that I find most memorable is the role that spirituality played. My brother Juan loved his God. We all knew him as a very private but loving man whose quiet faith guided his actions, words and deeds. He was a true Christian. He strove always to be the best he could be - family man, entrepreneur, brother, friend and champion to others.

I am so grateful that I was able to come spend time with him when he was at the hospital just four short months ago. We talked about many things: doctors and cancer and how we felt the first time we were both told we had cancer. We talked about how fulfilling his life was having had four brilliant children and we talked about not being afraid to die.

I asked him if he wanted to me to pray with him and he said yes. He asked me to take my mask off. (We had to wear masks while we were in the room.) I prayed the glorious mysteries with him and as I prayed the rosary his lips followed my words. He fell asleep half way through and I looked at him and I felt his pain and I knew that this would be one of the most profound moments that I would spend with my brother. But there is no other way that I want to remember him than this.

Juan, brother, it is very hard to say goodbye so we will just say so-long. The pages of your book will never be closed, just as the pages of Ninfa, Jaime, Mom and Dad's pages are not closed either.

We will remember you through the many people still left behind whose lives you touched so positively. You may not realize it, but you leave an amazing legacy behind, four beautiful, handsome and brilliant children. They are your legacy! Through them you leave this world a better place than when you found it and for that you have to be very proud.

Juan, brother, we will miss you, but we will always remember you with respect, admiration and love, always, always!

Comments for Eulogy for my Brother

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by: munsaka

I am humbled.

Thank you
by: Anonymous

I am writing a eulogy for my brother who passed away last week at the age of 39. You have given me some inspiration instead of staring at a blank piece of paper.

Dont Cry for me
by: Anonymous

This really helped me to draft my uncle's euolgy.

Thank You
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for this. It is a beautiful eulogy.

Eulogy helpful
by: Anonymous

I am so thankful to Ben to have shared this eulogy which has been a source of inspiration to me who just lost my elder brother. I see all his qualities in this eulogy...
Thanks Ben!

Eulogy helpful
by: Anonymous

Thank you. Very helpful.

Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you,
by sharing you have helped me in writing.

A spiritual eulogy for my brother - younger single man
by: Anonymous

Family, Friends, and loved ones,

It is an honor and privilege for me to stand before you today and pay tribute to a very special, and irreplaceable person in my life - my sweet brother Justin.

I struggled with what to say to you all today.

How could I conceivably communicate what a wonderful person Justin was?

How could I explain the kindness in his heart, the contagiousness of his joy, or the depth of his love?

It’s just that he was remarkable in so many ways. How could I ever be able to sum up his beautiful life in the short few moments I have with you here today?

And then I realized ...I will never be able to explain how incredible he was, but it’s my duty as a loving sister to try.

First off, I didn't always love Justin like I did during our "adult" lives. As kids, he would pick on me and give me a hard time - like all older brothers do!

In fact, one day he decided it would be a great idea to give me a haircut. I was four years old - with a bowl cut! Let me just tell you - a bowl cut is not my best look.

Or when he would tag me out first in the sharks and minnows or pickle-games we would play at our endless days at the north manor swimming pool.

Then I also remember when we would pull Aunt Becky’s extra mattress up from her basement and play WWF wrestling with our cousins. He always won In that too.

But most of the time he just wanted to be my buddy. We had so many playful childhood memories, like when our Dad would play horsey with us. We thought that was the best game in the world. We loved it when our parents would tuck us into bed at night and read Billy Goat's Gruff or recount to us the tale of the three little bears. I think back to those little moments only to realize that nothing can replace the love for a sibling or the lifetime of memories we shared.

Watching Justin transform in to a God honoring man was the greatest gift God could have given my family. We saw his faith mature, and his heart change. I was so proud to see him becoming such a strong person, and admired him in many ways.

The best adjective I could use to describe Justin is absolutely hilarious! He was so funny! And his jokes were so clever. Justin was a character. I remember when we were kids and he would say something ridiculous right after I had taken a huge sip of Kool-Aid or milk in hopes that I would cave, and he could watch it go through my nose. I would get so tickled at some of the things he would say. He really knew how to light up a room. I will miss him making me laugh like he used to.

One of Justin's crowning qualities was his intellect, and thirst for knowledge. I remember the endless days of his reading book after book. He seemed to know something about everything.

He was so wise. Often times he knew just what to say, regardless of my situation. He would give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it.

Lastly, late last year Justin dedicated his life to Christ. Out of all the chapters in his book, his relationship with the Lord was the most memorable to me. His love for God was evident in all that he did. When he chose to surrender his life to Christ, he changed. I saw an overflow of peace and joy within his spirit that he had never known. God changed his heart's desires and that was evident in the ways that he began to love and serve others.

The difference that I saw in him wasn't because he decided to call himself a Christian, but because he had fully trusted God with his life, and was operating out of God's desires for his heart not his own.

One of the things that gives me the most peace about Justin's story is that he got baptized a few months before his passing. Being there to witness Justin's declaration of love through baptism was such an emotional and rewarding experience. Although I am not in the same place spiritually, I recall feeling awe-struck watching him that night as the joy and love of God's spirit poured out of him. It was as if it was something he had been waiting his whole life to do. I can see it so clearly now that God was preparing Justin for his beautiful journey home in heaven.

Having to say goodbye to someone, especially someone as loved as Justin was, has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. One thing that has made it easier for me, is knowing with all my heart that he found true joy and fulfillment at the end of his life. You could see the joy radiating through his spirit, and I would think; "Wow! So that’s what being truly happy looks like."

I am so grateful we were able to spend quality time together at the end of his life, because despite all the pain and struggles he faced, he had finally become the person he knew he could be all along.

So, how will I remember my brother? Well, that’s easy – he was just that; my joyous, big brother. When you met him, you couldn't help feeling he was someone truly special.

As I look out at the faces in the room, I see many family members and friends and I'm sure you all will remember him in your very own special way. Although he was taken from us long before his time, I know that you too will miss the friendship that Justin brought into your lives.

He left this world a better place than when he found it, and for that you have to be very proud. He ran the race and finished well.

Justin, brother, we will miss you, but we will always remember that God is in the midst of everything and will be glorified through the celebration of your life.

Loss my brother
by: Julie Bolstr

I too lost my brother. He was only 40 years old: a life cut short and God had to take him away from us. I have so much to tell him and didn't know how to work it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful eulogy.

Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Such beautiful words. I gave the eulogy for my brother. Although I had many thoughts, I had a hard time putting them all together in a way to convey my love for him. When I read yours, it became a guide for me. I loved the way you turned the pages of your lives together. I know the pain of losing a brother so I pray you have found peace and the pain has been somewhat lifted. Thank you for sharing.

You have been a great help.
by: Anonymous

I just lost my twin brother and the honours fall on me to write his eulogy. Despite the fact that my mind is flooded with memories of him since our childhood, the pain of his death and the fear of the fact that I will not see him again made me lost for words to describe our happy moments and the gem he was to us.

Your tribute has given me an inner strength and confidence that if this has to be the one last thing to do for him, I will do it.


by: suean

This eulogy helps me a lot. Thanks very much.

by: Carol

I admire your eulogy. I was not sure if writing a very personal eulogy was a proper way for me to do the eulogy for my beloved brother who I've lost unexpectedly and at a young age. I want to do it because I am his only sister and best friend. I am the one who knows everything about him. Reading yours I felt like we are on same boat as it is very hurtful and painful to lose our loved ones.

Your eulogy is very helpful and a beautiful one.

Thank you for posting it up.

Thank you
by: Renee

My brother is dying as I type this. I wanted to write a heartfelt eulogy for him and after reading yours it totally inspired me to write a personal one. My brother was the first born and then I came 5 years later. I was as close to him as if I had been his little brother instead of his sister. Thank you for helping me get through this terrible time. With much affection and respect.

You have done your brother proud
by: Anonymous

Absolutely touching and heart felt. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful tribute to your brother. My prayers are with you and your family.

by: Anonymous

Your eulogy is beautiful and touching. I wish you and your loved ones my condolences.

Poignant and Personal
by: Anonymous

A very poignant and touching tribute. Very moving and personal. I have just lost my brother and it has helped alot to read your words at this difficult time. Thanks for helping ease the pain by sharing this with everyone.

by: Anonymous


by: Gioconda Michineau

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful and empowering eulogy. My brother, Juan Michineau died last Saturday 11/20/10 at 45 years old of a massive heart attack, it was instant. As I read your eulogy I find many things in common with my brother's life. Once again I thank you for sharing this and hope that you and your loved ones are doing well.

Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for posting your eulogy.
It's inspiring to read.

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