So many of you have asked about the eulogy… How did you do that? How did you write it? And most frequently did you videotape it? I did not tape it, that is weird, secondly I wrote it for no one but Kendall, I spoke from my heart and the words just flowed, lastly I was able to deliver it because the words came from love and honesty, nothing else. I am posting it here only because, I can’t read the words to you out loud again, and because I want the world to know what a wonderful person that we have lost.
When I sat down to write what I wanted to say to you about Kendall, I thought it would be hard to sum up his life in a few pages or paragraphs, it wasn’t, sure I could share a million memories and stories with you but what I really want you know about him you already do.
He was a simple man, he often referred to himself that way, if I would ask him what was he thinking his response was usually, Babe, I’m a simple guy, bikes… or boobs that’s pretty much it.
He was completely oblivious to what people thought about him, he lived his life exactly how he wanted with confidence, humbleness, honesty, integrity, joy and a small set of priorities that he gave 110%.
His first and most important priority was Bronson, “my boy” was how he referred to him, always with pride and love in his voice. There was nothing he wouldn’t have done for him, gave to him or shared with him. They had the same sense of humor, telling horrible jokes, watching the stupidest movies on TV and quoting them later sometimes for weeks on end. They shared a love of sports and music, Kendall teaching him to appreciate old country and southern rock. Most importantly they shared the same giving heart ,and the same helpful attitude, everyone was a friend or neighbor to them and they would drop everything to lend a hand. I think that Bronson was just as proud of his Dad as Kendall was of him, all of his friends knew “whop” and without even trying he became a role model for them. Kendall strove to live his life as an example for his son, passing on his vast knowledge, and teaching him that working hard was the only way to get what you needed and wanted, and most importantly that a man’s word was all that he had, Kendall’s word was gold.
His next priority was work, his sole purpose in life was to provide for himself and his family, every morning he was up before the alarm, dressed, shirt tucked in, teeth brushed, and ready for the day,and out the door if your weren’t 10 minutes early you were late. ‘ He could accomplish more before 7 am than I could in a whole week. Before his kidney transplant he went to work everyday no matter how weak or tired he was. Those six weeks of recovery after were torture for him he couldn’t wait to get back. Sitting at home drove him nuts. In his heart he was a truck driver, he loved the open road, driving for Link and traveling the United States was such a pleasure for him, every week was a new adventure, he only gave it up because Bronson and I complained so much about missing him. I don’t think there was anything he couldn’t fix or build, he was always in the garage making something from nothing, why buy anything when he could so easily figure out a way to make it himself. He never tired of tinkering with the bikes, truck, tractor or even the lawn mowers, making them better, faster, or “ more manly”. When his workday was done, he would come home and start all over, he always had several projects going at a time, He took so much pride in taking care of his homestead, the lawn was pristinly mowed at all times, I never did get that one right, picking up branches in the yard, raking the pine needles, repairing things in that old farmhouse, he worked endlessly to honor his parents and the farm where he grew up, to provide a home for us and a legacy for his son his brother and his sister.
After work was devoted to his friends and family, he would have given any one of you the shirt off his back, I don’t think there is a person he spent longer than five minutes with that wouldn’t call him a friend. Never one to intrude, he didn’t like to feel that he was bothering anyone, but if you called he was there in a heartbeat. Although a man of few words, he had the biggest heart, he felt your pain, your sadness and shared in your joy, if he couldn’t find a way to tell you he found a way to show you, by doing you a favor, hugging you hard, or sending up a silent prayer. He was the most empathic person I have ever known, despite that manly exterior and loud booming voice, you always knew when Kendall was in the house, his heart was so tender he cried at sad and not so sad movies, commercials and songs on the radio. He refused to accept help from anyone, asking for a favor was so difficult for him and yet he gave so freely of himself.
He was not all business no pleasure though, any of you who drank a few beers with him went on a bike ride with him knew that he loved to have a good time, a lot of the time at Blondie’s expense!!!!
If you were lucky enough to be present when he laid down rubber in the open throttle, watched as we tried to win a bike race from palo riding through the golf course on the cart path after a rain, or saw him drive Charlene and I together on the bike to Scott and Becky’s you know what I’m talking about.
He could tell a good joke, he loved to laugh and making you laugh, he loved going to Pearl St on Friday nights, and catching up with friends, telling stories and hearing about your lives.
His Harley s were his greatest escape, the only thing that would take him away from work, he was rarely in a bad mood ,but if he was, a ride on the bike usually took care of it. Traveling the back roads with the radio blaring soothed his soul, he often said “just need to get some wind in my face and it’ll be fine”. We loved riding with friends it always ended up with nights out too late and laughing til our faces hurt, or riding just the 2 of us with no destination, going wherever the road would take us, taking in the scenery and finding new friends who became part of our family.
I was so fortunate to be his family, a lot of you have asked why we didn’t get married, the truth is we really just never got around to it, there was always work to do, roads to travel, and it wasn’t really necessary, we knew that we were together forever. We were so well matched from the very beginning, we got each others jokes, we had the same values, we finished each others thoughts. For the last 18 years it always seemed just right to be Blondie and Kendall. I cannot find the words to express to you what he meant to me so I am going to borrow part of a favorite poem of mine that says it perfectly.
He was my North my South my East and West
My working week, my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song.
He was my weakness and I was his strength. He was my person.
He never once raised his voice to me, he treated me always with respect, tenderness, kindness and love We never argued and we made each other laugh every single day. He made dreams come true for me, fought for me, supported me, loved me. He softened all of my sharp edges and helped me become the person I am today. I was beyond blessed to belong to him.
After Bronson died, he felt that his job here was done, his purpose gone, his light went out, his pain and sadness were just too much for his tender heart to withstand. And God called him home. Don’t mourn for long, he would not want that and know as I do that he is at peace. He is with his son, they are riding the back roads together. He had the life here that he chose and he lived it always to the fullest. He would ask you not shed a tear but to hug your children, say I love you and to go out into this world with a kind and giving heart. He was a man of simple needs and he accomplished them all, he had a loving son, a caring family, dear friends. His bikes, and a woman to love who loved him back. This is not goodbye, only until we meet again, keep my seat warm, throttle cracked and ride free.