Paul Anthony Makarczyk, Feb 24, 1939 ~ Oct 7, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009 at 11:39AM
[Raul Keally]

The last couple weeks have been pretty tough due to the passing of my stepfather Paul Anthony Makarczyk.  The day of his funeral service (Oct 17, 2009) I prepared some words of rememberance in the event that that one of Paul's brothers (Carl or Tony) were unable to give them.  As it turned out, both Carl and Tony delivered their eulogies and I thought each did a great job being very sincere and thoughtful given the circumstances.  To be honest, the day Paul's funeral service was held was the toughest day for not only me but for my brother and mother.  I don't think I would have been able to stand up and deliver words of rememberance given how emotional I was.

I thought I would include here what I planned on delivering that day:

On behalf of my mother and brother, I would like to thank friends, family and neighbors for all your support and for coming today to celebrate Paul’s life.

Knowing Paul, he wouldn’t want us sitting around today shedding tears over his death but instead raising a glass and enjoying some food in the company of friends and family.

Paul was a good husband to my mother and stepfather to my brother and I.   I learned valuable life lessons from Paul that have undoubtedly contributed to the success and happiness that I now have in my life.

He taught me the meaning of hard work – whether it was by watching him head to work early in the morning for weeks at a time or the fact that he rarely and possibly never called in sick to work.  He taught me the importance of financial responsibility.

Wherever you were in the house you knew where Paul was because of his heavy step or his joyful laugh or his cheering on a good play in football.  And speaking of football, I believe that my passion for football comes from Paul and all those Sundays my brother and I spent watching 49er games and cheering them on. I can still hear the lawn mower or weed eater or the sound of sheers trimming the bushes as Paul tended to the yard.  He worked so hard on his yard – I think it was something he enjoyed and took pride in.

Paul spoke his mind freely and would never beat around the bush.  Sometimes around the dinner table during a pause in conversation he would say…”You know….” And what he said next would either be something that required you to cover the ears of the youngest child at the table or make you sit back in your chair to soak up his honest and down-to-earth wisdom.

Underneath the tough exterior of a man that would brave sub-freezing temperatures on oil tankers sailing the Pacific Ocean was a man that was very kind-hearted and generous.  He had a love for animals.  He would constantly keep the birdhouse outside the living room window filled with birdseed and sit back to watch the quail, blue jays and a countless number of other birds feeding.

He was spontaneous – whether it was jumping in the car with my mom to take a road trip to destinations throughout California or going out one afternoon only to come back with a brand new car to surprise my mom.  Paul and my mother took several trips from Russia to Peru and New York to Seattle.

The one story I wanted to share was when my mother and Paul bought me my first bike.  It was back in elementary school and I needed a bike to get to school.  One Christmas I was happy to discover a large rectangular box and after opening was even more pleased to find a shiny new bicycle.   It was a blue bike with a banana seat and big winged handlebars.  Now, we could have gone out to buy a bicycle lock at any bike store – but no, Paul decided he was going to make me a bike lock.  He took the thickest chain you could imagine that seemed to weigh 15 pounds – I still have no idea where he got it, but it could have been from our magic garage, which seemed to have every tool and material MacGyver would need to save the Earth.  Paul took a heavy piece of canvas and stitched it around the chain to prevent my bike from getting scratched when I locked it.  He then got a huge padlock – a Master lock with a big key.  To this day, I remember how heavy that lock was to transport 7 blocks to school and all the stares I got from the kids when I locked up my bike.  It was like I was securing a Ferrari or Lamborghini.  I also remember how reassured that lock made me feel knowing that there was no way anyone was going to steal my bike.

I think Paul accomplished what he set out to do – which was to work very hard and be respected in a career that could give him everything he needed to provide for himself and his friends and family.  Paul was a generous provider and I think will always be remembered for what he gave all of us.

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