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I’m Tom… and I’m married to Carl’s granddaughter, Cheryl

Carl held several different roles in the lives of his family and friends.

It is impossible to stand before you today and encapsulate Carl’s life with one short speech.  I feel that no matter what I say this morning… I’d be shorting him and what he meant to the people that loved him so much.  So the best that I can do is talk about Carl from my point of view and hope that I can do justice for the ones’ that love him.

We’ve all participated in Carl’s life in some fashion, and while he was only one man, he had many roles.  Each of us here saw him just a little differently.  If you walked around and asked people how they knew Carl you would get many answers.

Some would recall Carl as being a friend or maybe even a lifelong friend.  Others would say that he was a son, a brother, an incredible father, or a loving husband.  If you asked some of the kids here today you might hear them say he’s my Uncle Carl, my Grandpa Carl or “papa” as his grandsons, Ryan and Trevor called him.

My personal answer would be that Carl is my grandfather in law, even though I see him as my wife’s grandfather, my wife’s shining star, and my wife’s hero.
So, while the titles might be different and the role that he played in each of our lives might be different… there are many qualities in Carl that we ALL loved.  It’s these qualities that bring us together here today to celebrate his life… and if there is one thing that I’m sure of… it would be that Carl wants us to celebrate his life today and not mourn the loss that we’ve endured.

Carl loved life and all the treasures that life brought him.

He was an adventurer.  He didn’t have to jump out of planes or travel thousands of miles across the globe to experience his adventures, but instead found his adventures where sometimes others forget to look.   Hiking with his wife… boat races with his friends… golf on father’s day… collecting bugs with his grandsons… and walking his daughters down the wedding isle are only a few of the  experiences that he treasured.

Like any good adventurer… Carl believed in documenting.

He usually did this by taking 26,000 pictures at every single event he attended… keeping every single ticket stub from every single concert, sporting event, or boat race he ever saw.

Carl loved his pictures… he got so much pleasure looking at photographs and recalling those special moments that he captured.  He even got more pleasure looking at somebody else’s pictures and hearing about their stories.
His sense of adventure for life made him genuinely interested in the lives of those around him.   He was always asking about other people.  How they were doing, what they were up to, and how their families were.

I think his sense of adventure is one quality that many of us admired and loved in Carl.

Carl was a passionate man.  Everything Carl did he did with passion.  After all, you can’t be good at adventure without passion.

What were some of his passions?

He had many… he absolutely loved video games, the outdoors, sports, and music.  He was passionate about his wife, his daughters, his family and his friends.  He was passionate about having other’s share and experience life with him.

He showed this by creating traditions like taking his daughters to Cedar Point every year or going to the Detroit boat races every summer.  Carl was the leader and the man in charge of getting the tickets and making all the arrangements.

He did this because he was passionate about creating memories and creating shared moments with people that he loved.  If it hadn’t been important to Carl, then years of great memories might have been missed.

Like any good leader, or captain he was always there to support you and to give his encouragement.  It was very important to Carl for you to know how much he loved you… and you did know because he told you with his words and showed you by spending his time with you.

Cheryl has told me that he never missed one of her basketball games in 9 years.  That is a grandfather that loved his granddaughters.  And she laughs when she recalls getting the ball for the first time in 4th grade in a game and dribbling all the way up the court while waving to him in the stands the entire time.  He was there for her waving back.

But also like a good captain he is there giving advice… even when you may not want it.  Jenny had me laughing one day when she was describing how he used to give her advice at bowling, even when she didn’t want to hear it.
But that’s what he did.  He wanted to share.  He wanted to teach.  He wanted others to experience and participate in his adventures.

His wife, Sue, was sharing stories about Carl the other night and she said that nobody… absolutely nobody was as much fun as Carl.  She learned to pack a bag when he said let’s go for a drive because she didn’t know when they’d be back home.

She never knew where the adventure was going to lead.
And here we are today…

Uncertain of what the future holds...

Uncertain of where the adventure goes from here without our son, brother, father, husband, uncle, papa, and friend…

I think our young captain has is hands on the wheel of the helm, ready for his greatest adventure yet… and wants us to be happy, not sad… and he cannot wait to see you one day again to share with you all the moments between now and then.

That’s how I see Carl.

Grandpa, we love you most of all and forever and ever.

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