This past weekend was full of heart wrenching farewell to a man that was a true inspiration to my husband, myself and many many more. The 91-ish years before I met him he lived a remarkable life, one that aspects of will be shared in history books for years to come. He also laid the foundation of family that I have been truly blessed to marry into. Anyone in Tallahassee that has had a connection with the Williams family can agree with me there! I’m so grateful for such an admirable, hard-working, loving, generous, strong-willed, independent, quiet, kind man to be the root and heart of our history and what we strive to live up to. I know that I can’t speak to much of his time here, but Jono, his brother Lucas, and Mom shared a beautiful tributetribute which Betsy posted.
When I was born both my grandfathers had already passed away. Grandpop, was, albeit by marriage, my one and only. I feel lucky for the time I had to spend with such a remarkable human being. Over the last two years our D-W family spent every summer & holiday trip to Baltimore welcomed into the comfort of Grandpop’s home on Woodring Avenue. He often reminded me of my Dad, with soft spoken jokes and occasional war stories. But unlike my dad (who passed away in 2006) my children got to spend time chatting with him over cereal, listening to his stories and seeing the kindness and generosity he displayed day to day. I will most miss his cards with hand-written well wishes and updates on his recent bowling/horseshoe events as well as weather and notable happenings or memories. Though Liam is not a grandchild through blood he always treated him as one, sending cards and gifts, and patiently humoring his endless questions. Liam, as the oldest, will carry fond memories. He was a role model that will never be forgotten.
This weekend was a celebration of 95 amazing years. I wasn’t sure about my children’s involvement in the events, but it truly ended up being a special time. Liam has a mature perspective and was sensitive, emotional, and intrigued by it all. Although it may be uncomfortable for some, and some may question the appropriateness of attendance, seeing Grandpop looking SO good and at peace surrounded by flowers, thoughtful sentiments, and his favorite horseshoes, bowling bag, ball and even pins amongst floral arrangements was beautiful and worthy or rejoicing despite how much we’ll miss him. There were also a multitude of photos showing a full and happy life that we all reflected on with a happy heart. Of course there is unavoidable pain in goodbyes. Pain I can’t imagine for someone closer who knew his goodness longer, deeper and wider than I already saw. My sincere sympathy is with them, as well as my gratitude for allowing me to be a small part of a great someone’s life. You will always be a cherished memory Grandpop, Eino “Mr. Stacy” Wiitala.