|For those of you who didn't know him.
||[Feb. 27th, 2003|09:07 am]
I know I have mentioned it a lot recently, and certainly among my friends, that my father had passed away at far too young an age, from leukemia. To the dozens of people, maybe hundreds, that are reading this, you probably have no idea why I would dwell on this so much, or be so torn up about it. Everyone's father is different. Some have great fathers, some have fathers that were not there. I was fortunate. My father was a good man, the kind of man you would want to be when you grew up, and the kind of man who is so rare in this world. He genuinely put his family on a pedestal, and treated them that way always. Just being his son, I, of course, see him through the eyes of a child, and would be unable to effectively express the sum total of who he was, and is, to me. Below is the eulogy read by my uncle, at his funeral. While it certainly isn't the end all, be all of who he was, I think it accurately portrays my father enough that maybe you could see why I love him so, why I wish so much that I could have spent more time with him, why I wish my children would have been able to know him longer, and why I hope that someday I could measure up in the eyes of others as well as he did. If you'll excuse me now, I need to compose myself before anyone here at work can see me crying.
To his parents, grandparents and his aunts and uncles, he was "little Chuckie". His wife, brothers and sisters called him Charlie. He was known as "Chuck" to his co-workers, and simply "Mr. Biro" to the thousands of students that passed through his classroom. To a select, lucky few he was "Dad", "Grandpa" or "Uncle Charlie".
He was a kind, generous man with a great sense of humor and a big heart. His devotion as a husband, father and grandfather was perhaps his most endearing qualitiy. He was always the first to offer help to anyone in need. Chuck was in every way a true friend.
Surprisingly shy, he chose to be a teacher of middle school students, and found himself to be in his element in the classroom. Chuck was a born teacher. He loved to see the light dawn on the faces of his students when they finally grasped some difficult theory or concept. He took particular delight when sixth graders could understand his often-obtuse puns or jokes, as one needed to master the English language to truly get his humor.
Because he was a teacher, he was able to spend the summers with his sons, CJ and Robert. They passed their vacations together with day trips, flying model rockets, going fishing, riding for hours in the bass boat, playing games, and generally having fun while Charlie, always the mentor, managed to teach them as much as possible. It took a while for the boys to realize and to appreciate what they had learned when they thought they were out of the classroom. As they grew older, they discovered that their peers were not aware of many of the things that their Dad had taught them when they were young . What they assumed was common knowledge, many of their friends had never heard of or were not aware of. "Everyone should know what types of land formations are found in the Hocking Hills, don’t you?"
"The halo around the moon is because...? "
Chuck had many hobbies and collections. His students could get a head start on the day by checking out his tie tack. A skull and crossbones indicated a test was imminent. He had hundreds of tie tacks that he had accumulated over the years. He built model rockets, which he then took to the fields to launch. He started a photography club at school. He collected cameras and tinkered with photography, developing and printing his own photos. Some of his best early work was pictures of his wife and little boys. He appreciated and collected well-crafted knives and guns for the skill and metalwork of the artisans who created them. Most recently, gold and silver coins had caught his interest and he began yet another collection. He worked with a fishing club so that children who might not be comfortable on the football field could have a sport in which they could excel. The computer that he had taught so many to use gave him a means to continue to explore and learn when he became homebound. He could be lost for hours on the computers, using the flight simulator or surfing the Internet; talking to friends and, of course, checking out EBAY for bargains.
Chuck was a jack-of-all-trades. He was a woodworker who made his son’s cradle, a toy maker who helped Santa build wooden toys. He built a deck. No motorcycle went unusable if he got a crack at it. If a niece or nephew needed help on a science fair project, suddenly they had a winner. He could help turn a block of wood into a winning pinewood derby racer. Homework was easier if you had an Uncle Chuck. Even if you lived in Georgia he was only a phone call away. The best fireworks display in town was in his backyard every Fourth of July. Each of you most likely has your own story.
He found great joy in his two granddaughters, Rachael and Danni. He loved to tease them and play games with them. He would buy them educational toys - he was ever the teacher.
Charlie retired from the classroom early, due to his faltering health, but he never stopped teaching. Even from his hospital bed, he would elaborate or correct any discussion if he felt more information was required. Those of us who knew Chuck will always remember some tidbit of information that will come to mind at just the right moment, to allow us to appear just a little more knowledgeable than we would have been without him.
It is difficult to say good-bye , we will all miss him. Chuck would probably ask two things of us. First and foremost: to watch over his soul-mate and the love of his life, his wife Rebecca and their children. And secondly, remember to PRESS ON.