Below is the eulogy that I wrote for my father, Jon Thurmond, who died on February 22nd, 2023. This is a way to remember him and keep his personality alive for others to get to know him.
My dad was a funny, interesting, and strange man. For those of you that didn’t know, he was an antique and toy dealer for most of my life. He had also dabbled in repairing old radios and other business ventures. Always quick with his wit, he loved to give people a hard time. But he loved to get it right back. If he was ribbing you a lot then you knew he liked you.
Growing up with dad was an interesting time. I helped with his business as much as I could. I have memories of toy shows, auctions, garage sales, traveling to setup at flea markets around the region and so much more. I was one of the few kids my age who knew who Howdie Doodie was and who was extensively exposed to antiques. My experiences gave me a wide sampling of so many different things.
Dad was a complex man, but one thing that always stood out to me is how much he loved others. Whether it was his wife, his siblings, children, friends, or even his neighbors. He always socialized with everyone and treated people with an uncommon amount of love. This love extended even further as he loved animals, especially dogs.
When his grandsons were born he discovered a level of love that he didn’t know he had before. He liked to hold them when they were babies and loved to chat and play with them as toddlers. Sometimes he played dinosaurs with them. They loved to steal his cane and play with it. He even spoke of a special bond he felt with his second grandchild, Corbin. They brought joy to his life.
My dad loved to mess with people. When he was sitting in the passenger seat with my mom driving, he liked to yell “my side, my side” when going through intersections to pretend they were about to get hit by another car.
He was also fond of telling the story of how he spent a day messing with his close friend Jim Jenkins. Years ago, Dad and Jim went to the Chicago Toy Show together. Before the show people often setup some items to sell out of their hotel rooms. At that point, Jim had recently lost a lot of weight. So as people were going on and out of their room, a friend of Dad’s stopped by. He started saying that Dad looked amazing then he turns to Jim and says “who is this fatty?“. After he leaves Dad could tell that Jim is seething. So he goes around the place telling all these guys he knew to come in and compliment him on his weight and to insult Jim’s weight. These guys start coming by one by one doing just that. By the end of the day, Jim went off, threw his hat down, and just didn’t understand what was going on. Dad burst out laughing and finally told him about the prank.
He sometimes pretended to have heart attacks or suddenly die. In fact, in his last few weeks, he did just that to my mom. He went very still and didn’t move for a while. Then suddenly he rasped out “just kidding”.
This seemed to continue until the moment of his death. We were standing around him telling inappropriate jokes that he would appreciate. Suddenly he took a big breath in, went still for a minute or two, and then the corner of his mouth twitched almost into a smile as if he was saying “just kidding”. After a moment he took two more breaths then he was gone.
In honor of my Dad’s sense of humor I am going to tell a few jokes he would appreciate:
- There are two things in this world that never get old. Dark humor… and unvaccinated children.
- Recently, I had a great time building sand castles with dad. Unfortunately, everyone else in the crematory was horrified.
- A favorite joke of his:
- A guy named Joe finds himself in dire trouble. His business has gone bust and he’s in serious financial trouble. He’s so desperate he decides to ask God for help. He begins to pray…
- “God, please help me. I’ve lost my business and if I don’t get some money, I’m going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lotto.”
- Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it.
- Joe again prays…
- “God, please let me win the lotto! I’ve lost my business, my house and I’m going to lose my car as well.”
- Lotto night comes and Joe still has no luck.
- Once again, he prays…
- “My God, why have you forsaken me?? I’ve lost my business, my house, and my car. My wife and children are starving. I don’t often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order.”
- Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Joe is confronted by the voice of God Himself: “Joe, meet Me halfway on this. Buy a ticket.”
Dad always said that he wants his life celebrated. That he didn’t want people moping around crying and being mournful. He wanted to leave behind a legacy of joy.
Thank you all for coming, please feel free to share your stories of him and talk with everyone.