My Father’s Eulogy

I lost my dad on February 26th 2023 words cannot describe the gravity of the loss, I do intend to write a piece on my dad over the coming days. But I wanted to share the eulogy that was put together for my dad by the funeral celebrant Mr Christian Blake, my dad kind of chose Christian himself, as he’d seen him the Thursday before he died at a friend’s funeral, and in many ways endorsed him for his own. Please have a read of my father’s eulogy and service.

Words of Welcome

The following is taken from an orator called Grady Poulard:

‘The measure of a man is seen rather in terms of the love that he has for his family and for everyone.  The strengths of his commitments.  The genuineness of his friendships.  The sincerity of his purpose.  The quiet courage of his convictions.  The fun, laughter, joy and happiness he gives to his family and to others.  His love of life.  His patience and his honesty.  And his contentment with what he has.’

 

When you think of those words, it’s easy to picture Peter Arthur Sargent, Pete.  And we’re brought together here today because of Pete, because of the life he lived and the time he shared.  A warm welcome to you all ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you all for joining us here,

to those of you here in chapel, with some of you on the end of long journeys, and to those of you elsewhere in the world joining us by video link.  The care and compassion, and love and friendship we share are priceless sources of comfort.  Your tributes to Pete, and your support and friendship really mean the world.

 

Pete was a wonderful partner, a fantastic dad and grandad, a special brother and a great friend.  It’s inescapably true that losing one of life good guys is a difficult thing to bear, losing special people from our lives is naturally very sad.  Pete was a determined, intelligent, hardworking man, he was positive, he was great fun and great company.  He didn’t do well with funerals, he’d much rather have a good time and live life to the full.  With all his wonderful qualities in mind, we’ll celebrate his life today.  We’ll hear some music and a poem that Pete chose for himself, together with a tribute to him from and on behalf of his family and friends.  My name is Christian Blake and I’m honoured to have been chosen by Pete to lead his funeral today.

 

He was a big character and he played a part in many lives, so many that it’s not possible to mention everyone special to him in the short time we have together here.  You’re all very warmly invited to gather after the funeral at Didsbury Sports Ground.  Pete  wants you there, having a good time in his memory.  Perhaps doing so will have him present, in some way?  If you need them, the address details are in your Order of Service. 

 

You’ll also find details in your Order of Service on how to make a donation in Pete’s memory to the Woodland Trust.  It’s his family’s wish that trees are planted on his behalf, so on his behalf, something special will live on.  A collection box will be available as you leave the chapel later. 

 

 

A Poem

I mentioned that Pete chose our poem for today, and it is an incredible poem.  As well as that reding from Grady Poulard, the following poem speaks so well of Pete.  The poem is called ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling.  You’ll find the words in your Order of Service. 

 

If you can keep your head when all about you  

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,  

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;  

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;  

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,  

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Pete – Tributes to a wonderful partner, a fantastic dad and grandad, a special brother and a great friend

 

I want to start our tribute to him by saying what a man of impeccable taste Pete was!  A United fan all his life!  He loved Georgie Best, and he had a framed photo on his wall at home.  It’s very pleasing to see so much red in chapel for him today.  He passed on the day that United won the Carabao Cup a few weeks ago, I know that his grandson, James, found some comfort in thinking that Pete pushed United on to victory.  James was at the match with Paul, and they were also able to spend some time in London with Ben.  I also know that Pete was very glad that his boys were together that day.  Pete is wearing one of the cup final scarves now. 

 

The night before, he’d been out for a curry with Mary and some of her family.  Pete was in absolutely superb form, he was his usual interesting funny self, sharing stories, sharing knowledge, having a great time.  He’d not felt himself for a couple of weeks before, so to see him in such sparkling form really stood out.  And of course, he took a doggy bag of leftover curry home with him!

 

But he was always good company.  He was a story teller, he loved to hold court and tell his stories.  He was witty and funny too, sharp as a blade, and with an enormous depth of knowledge.  Paul’s friend also called Paul, had an ongoing debate with Pete as to how mankind may or may not cope with the loss of opposable thumbs!  Pete’s stories and conversations often went off on a tangent.  Mary’s grandchildren heard some of those stories more than once! 

 

Mary and Pete spent the last 23 years together.  They first met while Mary was working at Oswestry Leisure Centre.  The just clicked.  They became close quickly, they enjoyed each other’s company very much.  They were loving and affectionate, they laughed together, they read books together, they did quizzes together too.  In fact, they were quite the formidable quiz team, almost impossible to beat!  That breadth of knowledge of his often paid off.  Some of his knowledge came from the many holidays they enjoyed.  They have travelled all over the world together, notable highlights include a Nile cruise through Egypt, with time spent at some of ancient history’s real wonders, a cruise to see the Northern Lights, which was enjoyable even though the ship ran aground!  They travelled by train across France, but Pete didn’t want to go to Paris as he’d been there plenty of times before.  Poor Mary still hasn’t been!  That trip through France might have been a bit at odds with Pete’s outlook; he hated the French!  He wasn’t the greatest romantic; Mary only received three bunches of flowers in all their time together!  Actually, that’s not quite true.  For her last birthday, he bought her something very special…a new microwave! 

 

Pete loved to wander around cities and marvel at old buildings and industrial heritage.  He loved steam trains, and enjoyed trips on the Bury to Ramsbottom line, and time on the Flying Scotsman too.  He wasn’t particularly enamoured by natural scenery, preferring to nip off for a coffee rather than take in the mountain top views in Switzerland, when visiting Mary’s son, Phil, there! 

 

Pete was the kind of man that many clicked with.  Of all in his very large group of friends, Pete Watson and Pete Appleton are his closest mates, ‘The Three Petes’!  They were mates from school years in the early 60s.  Pete Watson’s wife, Viv, said they were like brothers and never a dull moment when they were all together.  Pete became an extended member of the Watson family, and the last connection to their Pete.  With Mary, he was always welcome, whatever the occasion, and always the life and soul of the do, especially with his stories, and especially stories from early years with Pete Appleton.

Pete Appleton is the last surviving of the three Petes.  He remembers life in the 60’s being work all week, then out on the town Saturday, claiming to be old enough to order a pint in the pubs and clubs.  Sunday nights were usually spent at the Naval Club. Pete Appleton moved to New York, and Pete stopped off there, coming the long way back from a six-month job in Australia back in the early 70’s.  Although getting together over the years was limited, they could always pick up where they had left off, never any stress or strain.

 

Pete’s nephew, David, also lives out in the States.  He remembers Pete’s bedroom from 1969, with a Grundig reel to reel player, a fishing basket and a Dimple whiskey bottle full of tanners!  This was at the time Pete had turned 21, finished his apprenticeship and was earning good money, plus getting ready to become engaged, before moving out.  Bearing in mind that it was 1969, Pete had an Elvis slicked back hairstyle!  Pete took David to a lot of home games at Old Trafford too, with a meet up of mates at the Naval Club. 

 

Pete also loved to spend time with his Sister Joan, and her husband, Fred.  He was very close to them , to his nephew and to his nieces.  Jean was quite close in age, so with David, she grew up with him,  more of a big brother than an uncle.  Jean has clear memories of him taking her to Alec Park with her sisters to play football and generally mess about. She loved looking in his fishing tackle basket, nobody she knew went fishing, Pete wore jeans and listened to pop music!  He was always interested in what was going on in Hazel’s and Helen’s lives, always staying in touch and thinking of them for birthdays and suchlike.  He was always keen to talk to them, always interested in them and their families.  Anne said her boys told him he looked like a character from Postman Pat – Peter Fogg. He had a beard and played the guitar. Pete thought it was hilarious!

 

Pete was a hardworking man.  He had talent for engineering, he worked at Shell for a long time, he trained as a gas and plumbing heating engineer.  Everything he did had to be 100% perfect, nothing less was good enough, it had to be right for him to put his name to it.  He became a bit of a wise old owl among the lads he worked with.  He had a short spell with Merlin Markings too, printing T-shirts.  Based near the old CIS building, he won a contract for the 1982 World Cup in Spain to print T-shirts for England.  It was a big job, and a bit overwhelming.  And much of his hard work was to provide for his family. 

 

Paul came along first from Pete’s first marriage, and Ben arrived from his second marriage.  He really loved his boys.  Paul’s memories of him are of support, encouragement and fun, of a dad who got stuck in.  Paul idolised his dad.  Paul’s friends think the world of Pete too, in early years, they called Pete Geoff Capes!  Pete and Paul spoke on the phone all the time, they could chat about anything at all, and usually did, with chats lasting a while!  Pete’s skills came in handy too, he did work in Paul and Michelle’s home, replacing some of the central heating.  During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he did a bit of work, stopped to watch some of the football, did a bit more work, stopped for a brew, did a bit more work, stopped for the football, did a bit more, and so on.  What should have taken a few hours ended up taking three or four days!

 

They did all sorts together too.  They went to see ‘War of the Worlds’ stage productions in Liverpool and Manchester, they went to gigs together, including to see the band James.  At the upcoming James concert, Paul will keep Pete’s seat free.  They travelled too, going to Rome together, a visit that lives very fondly in Paul’s memory, as well as Pete going out to New York when Paul lived out there.  It was also a great opportunity to meet up with Pete Appleton.  It’s fair to say that they were as much best mates, as they were dad and son.

 

Ben’s memories are no different.  He described his dad as being a constant throughout his life, a big presence.  Pete built the pillars of the man that Ben has become.  He has been only encouraging and supportive, especially when Ben’s mum passed away 11 years ago.  Ben’s step-sister, Cathy, credits much of her achievement in life from the encouragement she received from Pete, attending parent’s evenings and so on, continually building her confidence.  Ben knew that his dad was a guiding hand, someone to turn to and talk with, someone always ready to listen.  When Ben was a child, the influence of music took hold.  Pete loved music and among other bands, he enjoyed Pink Floyd.  Ben takes pleasure in listening to them right up to today. 

 

Ben has two memories that stand out above the many others.  He remembers a warm summer evening, sitting together in the gentle warmth, smoking a cigar and drinking a whisky with his dad.  He remembers too, the first time that Pete held his newborn grandson Sonny.  I’ll leave it to you to the pride and love shared in those moments…

 

Pete was playful and funny and generous with his time and energy, and he was always interested in his grandsons, Dan, James and Sonny.  His grandsons were hugely important to him, he was a fantastic grandad.  He went on holidays with the family, spending time with James at Centre Parcs, as well as going on trips to places like Warwick Castle.  On one trip to Warwick Castle, Pete got locked in a cage!  He was game for a good laugh!  though respectful too, he never swore in front of his grandsons.  I mean, why the bloody hell would he swear?  Sodding hell, he’d have no need to so that!

 

Of all the things in life that Pete could be proud of, it was all his boys, all his family that came first. 

 

He wasn’t an extravagant man.  He was never afraid to put his hand in his pocket, but also never willing to waste good money.  He didn’t buy or replace anything he didn’t have to.  His microwave at home is of a certain vintage, built back in the days before things got small.  It’s so big, a small family could live in it!  His old tatty fridge still kept his food cold, so why replace it anyway?!  He was somewhat set in his ways, a creature of habit.  He had the same breakfast every day, he’d usually have a Ryvita with a piece of cheese for lunch, and pasta for his tea most days, batch-cooked for the week!  He did like a good whisky though, but it would be sacrilege to spoil a good malt whisky with anything other than ice or water. 

 

Though not an extravagant man, he was very generous with himself, with his time and energy, willing to give of himself as much as he could.  And it is the time he shared that is probably as important as anything, amongst the most valuable of all his gifts.  In losing him, we have lost a good and decent man, a hardworking man, a man devoted to looking after his family, a man of strength and determination, of honour and pride. 

 

Whatever else we could say, we can say for sure that Pete really was one of life’s good guys.

 

 

We’re going to take a moment now with a piece of music chosen specially for Pete.  It’s good time to consider all that made Pete special to you, to gather your thoughts and to prepare to say farewell to him.

 

Music for Reflection: Forever Autumn – Justin Hayward

 

 

Farewell, Pete 

And so we arrive at our moment to say farewell to Pete.  Pete is loved, beloved on this Earth.  Through the generations of his family, and through the circle of friendship he enjoyed, the influence of his love will continue to reach on.  Take comfort from all that knowing Pete has left you with, and rejoice with all that having him in your lives has given you.  Feel the warmth of his love and affection as we now say farewell to him.  Let us now commit the body of Peter Arthur Sargent to his natural end with us, wishing it were not so, but remembering him with love and gratitude.  Ladies and gentlemen, as I speak to Pete now with a farewell written especially for him by Michelle, as a mark of respect, but only if you feel able, may I ask you to please stand.

 

Pete,

death gave us no warning.

Even though you were ready, our hearts were not.

 

Your family and friends were your everything.

Your two boys, now grown men, made you so proud and content.

How you beamed when your grandsons James and Sonny came along.

and of course, your beloved Mary,

who you shared many happy times and laughter with.

 

You were one-of-a-kind;

a grumpy, lovable, stubborn and charming soul.

You knew how to light up a room with your wit, humour, chat and stories.

 

Your love for football sometimes took first place, with your passion for United!

You enjoyed a newspaper and were the master of puzzles and quizzes

that others could not even attempt!

A cup of tea and a cow biscuit were your favourites.

You loved a beer or two, most often with family and friends.

and not forget your whisky, which always had to be straight.

to travel is to live, and you did just that,

sharing many happy times in your favourite destinations.

 

I know you will be forever looking down on us all.

This isn’t goodbye Pete,

but until we meet again.

 

Thank you all, please be seated.

 

When you feel your moments of loss, remember that Pete’s joy is still with you and he’d want to hear your laughter and see your smiles.  Remember that the support and friendship that he’s given you over the years is still yours and you can continue to draw strength from it.  Above all else, remember that you will always carry his love with you.  If there’s one thing we know about love;

 

love never dies.

 

 

Closing Words 

Ladies and gentlemen, we draw to the close of Pete’s funeral service.  On behalf of all his family, I want to thank you all again for being here today.  Your love and support, your friendship and kindness are priceless sources of comfort. 

 

Pete’s life has come to an end, and you now have to let go of his physical presence.  But he was, is and always will be part of your lives.  That simple fact is something to remember with joy.  And when you remember him with that joy, when you think about him and smile with him, you can bring him back and enjoy time with him again in those moments.  That he isn’t physically present doesn’t mean that he has no presence.  When you keep his memory alive, you keep his spirit alive. 

 

And keep celebrating him, celebrate all that was good about him, celebrate all the time you shared with him, celebrate all that you loved about him.  You can do this today at Didsbury Sports Ground and long after today has passed too.  The good people we have in our lives deserve every celebration we can give them.

 

Thinking about Pete’s life has given us moments to consider the wonderful man he was, his numerous talents, and the loving life he led.  We’ve thought about his generous, kind friendship, and we know that he has left an indelible mark on his family.  I hope that our ceremony has given you the opportunity to push aside the difficult thoughts of loss, and instead, that you’ve been able to think very fondly of him.  Although he no longer has a physical presence, he still has presence in your lives, you only have to think about him and remember his love to have him back with you. 

 

I have one final message from Pete for you, for when you leave the chapel shortly.  He wants me to say to you all:

 

‘don’t be rabbiting outside the chapel after the funeral,

go straight to the venue,

have a pint, have a growler and enjoy yourselves’.

 

 

Please stay in your seats as we listen to our final piece of music, take the opportunity of spending another few moments with Pete in a precious memory.  As the final music plays, those of you with flowers are very welcome to come forward and lay the flowers on the Pete’s coffin, take a few moments with him too. 

 

Our funeral director will shortly come forward to lead you from chapel.  All the funeral staff that have supported you here today send their good wishes with you and we’re all sorry for your loss.  We hope you all stay safe and well. 

 

Pete is safe with us.  Leave him now in our care to his final rest with peace, with friendship and with love. 

 

Thank you. 

 

Closing Music: Who Knows Where The Time Goes – Eva Cassidy

Published by Paul Sargent

I was born in Manchester, UK in 1974, I'd like to say that I have worked hard at this attempt at life? I have had some incredible experiences on my journey up to now, and will continue to make memories as and when I can, I live in Leigh, Greater Manchester, UK with my fiancee and son. My current job is that of a Funeral Director, this current year has been an emotional roller coaster, due to the awful Coronavirus Pandemic, that has devastated the globe, I needed an outlet to shut out the realities of the day! A chance for me to escape perhaps my own sub conscious if only for a moment in time. As I expand my journey as a blogger will continue to open my mind and share my thoughts, I'd like to write about Life Through Ordinary Eyes, an honest interpretation at what I see and feel, what experiences I have had, and to perhaps share things that just might help you or someone you know on this voyage of discovery called life. Oh well here goes nothing. . . . . . . . . . . .

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