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patrick glackin

April 23, 2007

Today is the twelfth anniversary of the death of Patrick Glackin, my maternal grandfather. Born in 1904, he was nearly 91 when he passed, and was mourned by three generations of his family. Yesterday, my mother gave me a copy of the eulogy my eldest cousin read at his funeral. An excerpt:

To his grandchildren, he was more than a grandfather, he was a playmate and world-renowned storyteller. For years we believed that as an Admiral in the Irish Navy, he found Mom-mom (my grandmother Mary) in a coconut tree on a deserted island, and that he had single-handedly fought WWII from Elizabeth, NJ.

He was slightly infamous for those tall-tales, and my grandmother scolded him (gently, always gently) for filling our heads with “nonsense and donkey dust.” Years before he died, Pop began to suffer the ravages of Alzheimer’s. Over time, there was less and less of the man who told those stories, who would sing rebel songs along with Clancy Brothers albums, who would take out his teeth before smiling at you, just to get a laugh.

We lost him before we truly lost him, and more was the pity. His stories remain, thankfully, and are as well-known by his surviving children as they are by a score of great-grandchildren whom he never got a chance to meet.

May the good Lord bless and keep you, Pop. You are missed.

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