in loving memory of Richard Leese
Many of you probably knew that my Grandpa had been up and down the past few years with his health. Many of you knew it was strokes and that we almost lost him three years ago. He recovered and could live normally for a while but then a month ago he had another stroke and it did quite a bit of damage. They moved him to a nursing home and we knew it was one step closer to his passing. Then he had a bad stroke Friday night. We did not expect him to make it through the weekend and he didn't. From what my mom said, it's better that I didn't see him when he was bad because it was a pretty hard sight to see. He passed away tonight. He's leaving behind a wife of 64 years, 10 kids, 30 grandkids (15 boys/15 girls), and 14? great grandkids. Also what would be considered an adopted son. A boy in the neighborhood that didnt have great parents so my grandma and grandpa took him in when they could. He's now the head of the SWAT Team for the LAPD and bodyguards on the side. Including people like Jack Nicholson which is pretty cool. Grandpa's sons are all successful in business, many graduating from UNI and one even has his won wine business now and owns several vineyards and a winery. Others have gone on to be successful chiropractors. His four daughters have raised great families and all have careers of their own, all of them in the medical field in some capacity. He was able to raise all these people to be successful and deal with his lovable wife he happens to be very much Irish and very much Catholic and more than qualified with the discipline. I know its tough on her so I ask for your prayers for her. What I'm getting at here is that Richard Leese is leaving behind quite a legacy. If you measure success by how your children turn out, then he was as successful as they come.
I knew this was going to happen and knew that he wouldn't suffer any more after a few years of it. This made it a lot easier to accept. Still I cant help but think of stories with him. The time my parents were in Hawaii and I stayed with grandpa and grandma and they took care of me while I had the flu. I won't forget the fact he drove a hearse for most of his life (at least when I knew him). I won't forget the Volvo they have had for 23 years and how even though I was only barely able to talk, I recognized every Volvo as the car that he (Bompa as I called him back then) drove. I'll remember going over to their house and seeing the many models of street cars he had made. Most of all, I'll remember him sitting in his chair next to his radio and police scanner. The blue and silver scanner that I've seen several times a year for 23 years. I'll remember him being a Cub fan and Cardinal fan but cheering for the Cards when they played each other. I'll remember the ONE TIME he finally said something to my grandma when she was nagging him. I love my grandma dont get me wrong here, but she gets bossy. We were glad to see him finally stand up for himself. Not that it's abusive or anything. It was more comical than hurtful. Not really hurtful at all. (Hope that was explained well). I'll remember him dancing to YMCA even when his legs wouldn't allow him to stand. I'll remember his quiet demeanor. I'll remember the fact I get road rage from him any time I get it from now on. "What color of GREEN do you want?" he would say. I'll remember my Aunt honking the horn to wave at him and him flipping her off not knowing who it was and later saying that he was giving her the "Peace Sign" or at least half of it. Also the fact he smoked daily and never had any health problems because of it. I'll also remember how much the man loved beer. Not an alcoholic but a true German with his love for a good beer. I'll remember him parked in front of a little black and white TV every Thanksgiving, watching football at Holy Family School in Davenport. And finally, I'll remember that I never heard the man complain about anything EVER. Haha I guess I'll also remember what he said when my aunt finally divorced her husband about the way he REALLY felt about the guy.
Grandpa was an example of how to lead ones life. Put your trust in God, love your family, enjoy your work, and not worry about anything else. Take an extra job during the holidays driving a taxi or what have you to be able to give your kids something to open on Christmas morning. Love your wife even if hell hath no fury like a pure Irish Catholic woman. Proof that if you base your marriage on LOVE that you can be married 64 years and still love each other. In today's world where you are more likely to get divorced than stay married, thats one heck of an example of what to strive for. My family was blessed to have him as a part of it. We are blessed that this is the first member of the family that we are losing (weve beaten cancers and car accidents). We were bleessed to have the last few years especially considering many feared he wouldn't have made it this long.
I ask that you pray for my family, especially my oldest cousins who were a few years younger than my uncles. This is like losing a dad to them. And for my Aunt who is the one that has been with him the most the past few days. She's the one that had to explain a lot of what was going on to us who aren't so medically inclined. She's diabetic and the stress has been affecting her health. She's ok but the prayers for strength could help. Thanks for those of you that read this but also those of you who are simply going to pray. God bless and good night.