E.J. Maher was born on January 11, 1913. If he were alive today to celebrate his birthday he would be 95 years old. We would certainly be partying today if he were here with us; instead I'll remember him and honor the memories. E.J. died December 4, 1998 at the age of 85 of complications from leukemia, a diagnosis made just several weeks before his death.
I miss E.J. (Edmund John), Denny's father and my father-in-law; the passing years bring all the wonderful memories into clearer focus for me. How lucky for me to have a father-in-law at once so supportive and loving who offered endless advice but never had the "I told you so" attitude if his words were tucked away instead of heeded. His laugh, sense of humor, and "bigger than life" personal style were all his own.
After his death, the family gathered together to celebrate his life. We started a list of famous "E.J. sayings". I have this list by me as I write and will include a few of them here for they tell a bit about who he was and what he meant to those who loved him.
"'Tis a dark and gloomy day...."
"Money isn't everything but it sure beats what's in second place."
"What's the sco'?" (He watched every game that ever was on TV saying...."someone's got to watch it, might as well be me."
"Out-a-sight" (usually in regard to a great meal that one of us prepared)
"I'm going to shed a tear for Ireland."
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be."
"I'm not always right but I'm never wrong." (Denny has inherited this one)
"I've never felt better nor had less."
"Your kindness is only exceeded by your extreme good looks."
"What did you do for the cause today?"
and "It's time to hit the golden stairs."
I remember E.J.'s memorial service in Sequim on that blustery December day. Chris, as a young 7th grader, adored his Grandfather (the "Good Guy") and summoned great courage to speak a few words at the service. I found Chris's notes from that day and his last paragraph reads..."Goodguy was the greatest man I knew and still know. He is in heaven right now and he's looking down at us now and is smiling. He is playing golf up there and having a great time. As he always said, "I'll see you down the road". "
And so it is. I miss you E.J. I'll see you down the road.