Joseph R Stanaitis. 7/28/1936 – 11/28/2020

My father died today. My mom and I sat with him in his final hours and spoke to him while he rested. We know he heard us. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad. I didn’t always get along with him. I didn’t always agree with him. But he always loved me. He always looked out for me. There isn’t a single aspect of my life today I cannot thank him for.

God was good to us in our 41 years together. I don’t know many men who could say God gave them 41 years to get to know their dad, and in the end have no regrets. Nothing was left unsaid. I know he’s in heaven now, with Jesus, with his mother, father, brother, and all the other family members he outlived and spoke of over the years.

Though now I cry, and my heart breaks knowing that I will not see him again on this Earth, hug him again, or be able to hear his sage advice… I know I will see him again. He will be free of the cancer, free of the pain, free of the suffering. We will be reunited in the glory of Heaven within the presence of God.

Today when I got the call, I believe he had already let me know he had moved on. This morning, my mother asked me to write his obituary. I’m not sure how I can condense the lifetime my father shared with those who love him into a few paragraphs… but one thing I knew is that whatever I wrote, it had to make people laugh.

My dad was a man of many talents, he possessed many God given gifts… But one of his greatest gifts was his ability to make anyone laugh, regardless of the situation or context. I can’t tell you how many times over the past couple weeks, as his health deteriorated and he faded away, he had me laughing my ass off.

As I sat there with a drink in my hand, a little voice told me what to look for, and this is what I found…

A Jewish man’s wife dies. He wants to place an obituary in the local newspaper. The lady taking his order asks him what he’d like the obituary to say. He says just put “Rachel died.” The lady explained he can actually use five words as it’s the same price as two. He says please put “Rachel died. Volvo for sale.”

“Joseph died. Jeep for sale.”

If you knew my father in any capacity, you know that joke came from him, and it made me laugh through my tears. I know it won’t happen but I’m honestly tempted to put that as the obituary, as if I could sum up the man I knew, the man who raised me, the man who made me who I am today… it would have to be with a joke.

Thank you God for the 41 years I had with him, thank you for sharing him with the world for 84 years. Those who knew him, loved him, and those who loved him will never forget him.

I love you dad. I miss you. I will see you again.

In Memory of Joseph R. Stanaitis

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