Eulogy to my one and only older brother, Danny
Good evening, I am Danny's sister. Mary, daughter #2 as Pop, our dad, used to say to others when we were out and about...especially at the market... which, I have to inform you, Danny rarely had to attend, because he was the oldest and "the boy" in the family...the only boy but nevertheless, he had his own "obligations"...which were many. I want to thank you all for being here tonight. Our family truly appreciates your thoughts, prayers, and support over these past few days, weeks, and even months.
Let's just say that to the end, Danny loved LIFE. He had already planned for all of us to celebrate Christmas together. He loved his wife, his children, his friends, his family, and sisters...all 7 of us. It would not be fair if I didn't say, he also loved what he did.
He launched his career as an electrician and eventually expanded to HVAC, Contracting, & Refrigeration. His technical knowledge was not only broad in scope but deep. Working was his salve even when the challenges of his heart and leukemia became practically insurmountable. He was our superhuman brother and expert technician. And because he was such an mechanical enthusiast, I thought I'd sprinkle a little mechanical jargon in my talk. He'd appreciate it.
Danny, to his family, was first and foremost, a jokester...a real live wire. He loved to pick on his sisters...especially Connie, the youngest. There were times when he would merely lift her up and hang her upside down over the garbage can pretending that he was going to drop her in there. He would chase her around the house with the drill or staple gun scaring the living daylights out of her. Or he'd plop right down on her while she was lounging on the recliner and then loudly fart!
Then there were the other sisters; Judy and Rosie had the top bunk bed when they were kids, while Danny slept on the bottom. True to character, he would constantly push his feet on the mattress above and jack them up and down, a mover and a shaker even as a kid! When Sandy and Patty had their turn, he made it more exciting by not only providing free earthquakes but by reaching up overhead, and pulling them down between the bed and the wall! Then there was the booger chase! We were all his targets. That's how we got our exercise. Yes he was a nuisance at times but boy, never a dull moment!
Music was one of Dan's connections to the joys of life. Gracie shared how he loved singing to Frank Sinatra's "My Way" while driving to jobs and another favorite...Charlie Puth's song "One Call Away"...
"I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away..."
I mean music was his love even when he was in high school. He was a member of the Collinwood Top Twenty, a select few who would perform at special occasions. The only hitch though, for him, was that he wasn't allowed to sing a note! He was told only to mouth the words.
Truly, I don't think Mr. Stone, the music teacher, knew how resonant my brother's voice was! He loved singing at our gatherings...giving us his bass voice booming out there without a care. Then there were the musicals, The King and I, South Pacific, West Side Story...These classics would never have been part of our lives had it not been for Danny.
He was always hooking up things around the laundry to lighten our load. He hooked up this 8-track system with speakers right by where we ironed the mountains of shirts, so we could sing along with these musicals.
The Beatles were hot while we grew up. I remember when Danny drove us to Woolworth's to buy our very first album. He anticipated we'd pick a Beatles album but instead, we chose a Lawrence Welk album. Really??? He didn't care, he went along with what we wanted. Okay, we were a bit "square" but we loved listening and singing along with the Lennon sisters, thanks to you Dan. You eventually built up a small library of albums and didn't mind sharing. Music held a special place in your heart influencing our love of music.
Sharing came naturally for Danny...all his life. He lit our worlds with his unselfishness and generosity.
When he was young, he let us put the worm on the hooks for him when we went fishing! He let us help him with his paper route. How fun was that! He let us take out the garbage and fight those greasy fat rats that popped out of the bin. He even let Gracie, the oldest, kill the mouse we trapped up in the kitchen one night. He just couldn't bring himself to bash it to bits.
Then when Gracie was old enough to drive and able to afford buying a car, he sold her his Ford Torino with the hole in the floor behind the driver's side! This is the same car that eventually lost its brakes one day while cruising down the I-90 freeway just before the Bratenahl exit. Truly though, Danny would have done anything for us. All we had to do was ask and he never refused us.
The sky was the limit too when it came to Danny's helping with his boundless technical expertise. Not only was he the resident technical doctor but house calls were more the norm than the exception.
I mean how do you say no to your parents. When we had the laundry and he moved out, I remember Mom or Pop frequently calling him to fix this or that. But his reputation even then was to arrive late...as George, our brother-in-law says, he was so focused on the job he was tending to and didn't leave until it met to his satisfaction, no matter how much time it took. He was a perfectionist.
After a while, a free meal wasn't enough payback for all the favors. While in college, one year Connie came home for the holidays. She was trying to understand a logic gate. She just wasn't getting it. Danny came home and she figured he might be able to explain it to her. He totally knew what she was studying and tried to help but she still wasn't getting it. This helped her realize computer science engineering was not for her so she ended up switching majors.
What George, Patty's husband, shared that stands out the most was when it came to building things, it didn't get much better than working alongside such a master Craftsman. Working with Danny was a treat for him because he would give him space and freedom to work independently, only giving direction as needed. Danny was good at bailing him out of tight spots.
Last year, Matt, Rosie's son's heater wasn't working when it was super cold outside. Who ya' gonna call? Danny, of course. Danny offered him a few suggestions and also Facetimed Matt. He even volunteered to drive to Michigan. Yes, the heater got fixed due to Danny's expertise. I mean I'm surprised he could even make real money because family had so many needs. His knowledge about these things was immeasurable. The Lord blessed him with this mechanical aptitude and he honored the Lord by using these gifts every minute of every day of his life.
Danny, you are my hero! My only and the bestest brother in the whole universe! I already miss you. This week, while on my walk I took out my phone and listened to you singing happy birthday to me. I am so blessed to have your voice on my phone...forever!
I think about all those years as your sister and how I never told you, "Thank You" for being such a wonderful big brother to me, to all of us...all 7 of us sisters. We all say "Thank You". You have been a model brother and have set a high bar for how Yee's behave as a family and take care of each other.
Thank you Danny, too, for giving us your fabulous wife Romina. She has been such an inspiration to me. She loved you with all the way. She showed me how to be an advocate in tough times. She made so many sacrifices, was tireless and inexhaustible. Thank you Meena...We love you! You and Meena unabashedly opened your house to us and always made us feel welcomed and at home. Nothing ever spared...always doing more than what we expected. Don't tell the other sister-in-laws, Meena, but you are my favorite sister-in-law!
To my brother Danny...one last couplet.
To my delightful Danny, my beautiful brother whom I dearly adore,
You have left this world, your electrified physical presence is here no more!
Humble, loyal, giving, loving, thoughtful, and kind,
I am proud that you are my brother...truly a rare find.
Supportive to those around you, in action, deed, and word,
A toolbox of tricks and fixes, hard-working over being heard.
The barrage of battles you fought were fantastically formidable,
Instead of succumbing, you rallied head on, living life to the full.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we all will return,
Remembering you Danny in our daily lives is most certain,
While we're chomping on peanut butter cookies, corn beef, and yes, even Funyuns,
We'll smile broadly in our hearts...our big brother, Mom & Pop's loving son.
Your warm smiles, dorkie jokes, bad singing...now fond memories,
Eternally ours to savor and cherish, like soft winds among the trees.
Fly like an eagle now off to cavort with the Saints, Angels and our heavenly King,
Enliven their spirits and enrich them with your sundry talents bring
Good night and good bye...until we all join you up there in heaven.
Danny, may your soul rest in peace. May you now keep Mom & Pop company and we hope they not give you too many chores.
Thank you all again, for being here and also I want to thank my sisters and their husbands for all the fabulous stories. Finally, thank you Lord, for giving us Danny. Ultimately and eternally, we are all your children and may we all celebrate Danny's homecoming to You!