Cheers to a Grandpa larger than life!
As the title may suggest, I will be taking a short intermission in these posts to honor my Grandpa, Larry Roumell.
I have nothing but fond memories of my Grandpa. Though not my grandfather by blood per se, he was indeed a larger-than-life kind of guy. He made me believe I was Greek and though shocked and dismayed when I found out the blond curly hair and green eyes did not a Greek make, I still hold on to the love of Greek heritage because of this man.
My Grandpa Roumell always seemed a near-god to me...and he will be sorely missed. He went through a tough illness for the past few years, and we can console ourselves with the fact that we will never forget who he was to us and that though he is gone, he is no longer suffering.
We had an intense few days of mourning, but it was one of the most therapeutic few I have ever experienced. Everybody came from all over to South Bend to cry together, to laugh, to remember, and, most importantly, to be there for each other. We love him and he loved all of us, and made sure that we knew it.
How could I have known that I was not genetically Greek? The trips to Greektown, the teaching of the Greek swear words...total shock.
His Greek Delight stand.
With his Cadillac. Look at that mustache.
With Grandma Roumell and Lou Holtz.
Grandpa was a fiercely proud vet of the Korean War. That hat was famous. Here he is with Will.
As a handsome young man in Korea.
Larry J. Roumell
Sept. 19, 1935 - March 21, 2009
SOUTH BEND - Larry John Roumell, 73, of South Bend, died Saturday morning in Inwood Hill Estates, South Bend. Larry was an executive and entrepreneur with Sears and Roebuck and his own company, Special Services, Incorporated. He was born September 19, 1935, in Harbor Beach, Michigan, to Chris and Mary (Kanthak) Roumell, who preceded him in death, along with a daughter, Susan. In August 1969, in Detroit, he married Jean Schreiber, who survives along with a daughter, Catherine Dennen of Castle Rock, CO; four sons, Steven Roumell of Colorado Springs, CO, James Roumell of Chevy Chase, MD, Phil Greene of South Bend and Paul Roumell of Grand Lake, CO; 13 grandchildren, Lyndsey and Zachary Bergen, Nicholas and Thaddeus Greene, William, John, Allison and Kathleen Dennen, Nina, Jordan, Nikolas, Ryan and Miranda Roumell; two great-grandsons, Spencer and Logan Bergen; and a sister, Barbara Grouse of New Baltimore, MI. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28th, in Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend. Interment will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, March 30th, in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, MI.
The "Dick Vitale" of Dads! He was a guy who could "own-a-room" without being obnoxious. An energetic executive who couldn't wait to get outside to become a "weekend" outdoorsman and fisherman. He loved to fish for perch on the Great Lakes with his kids and hunt pheasant in Kansas. His true passion, besides his family, was golf. Larry served in the Korean War as a sergeant with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and was a member of the VFW and Elks Lodge 235. Dad believed the greatest fraternity in the world was the U.S. Army...nowhere else do you spend only two years in an organization and then spend the rest of your life talking about it! With his first wife, Joann, and the mother of his two oldest boys, he maintained a great friendship throughout the years. Dad is survived by his wife Jean of nearly 40 years. She was the love of his life who supported him till the end. When we all came together, it was always an interesting "hers, mine and ours'" situation. Our dad loved all his grandchildren, nephews and nieces. He always had a special place in his heart for his beautiful sister and our aunt, Barbara. Finally, our dad was a man very proud of his Greek heritage. He succeeded in passing on his passion for the Greek culture to all of his children. Dad was the best and will be terribly missed...but we know he's in Heaven playing the quarterback he was at Nativity High with his many buddies who passed before him. We can almost hear them now..."Hey Larry, I'm open!"
Father's Day with Aunt Cathy, Uncle Paul, and my mom.
With baby Miranda. 13 grandchildren!
With Allie and Kate.
Grandpa was notorious for falling asleep. He fell asleep watching TV, reading the paper, and once, legend has it, he even fell asleep in the middle of telling a joke. Here he is at his youngest daughter's wedding, after the vows are exchanged in the Basilica at Notre Dame, taking photos in the Grotto. These are possibly the most uncomfortable benches I have ever encountered. But I guess when you're tired, you're tired.
Here is the reading I did at his funeral.
I Corinthians 13:4-13
A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.
Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.
Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.
Everyone all together.