Celebrating the Life of Richard Kern

Though we’ve been saddened by the loss of Jason’s father last Thursday, we have since come to celebrate his father’s life. On Sunday a visitation/wake service was held in Fort Branch, Indiana with close family and friends. It was a beautiful service where we all found ourselves remembering Jason’s father. I hope to have a slideshow that was on display at the services posted soon. In the meantime, I have a few moments from the last two days of our trip to share.

Remembering Richard Kern

One of the best parts of the trip was that we were able to reunite with family. I managed to snap one photo of the four Kern boys before the visitation.

Four Kern boys

We’re confident their father would be proud of the bond his four oldest sons made with their half brother and sister, Zach and Abby who are only 9 and 10. One of the saddest thoughts for me of this entire experience is that these two children will move on with life at such a young age, without their father.

The Kern kids

Jason’s family is catholic so Jason chose to place these rosary beads in his father’s casket. We bought these beads during our trip to Jerusalem in 1997 – so we’ve always found them to be a special memento from the Holy Land.


We all drove from Ft Branch, Indiana to Bloomington, Illinois after the visitation for the funeral which was held Monday morning at St Mary’s church. It was a touching catholic ceremony where we were surrounded by close family and friends.

Jason agreed to give the eulogy at his father’s funeral. It was tough, but he did an amazing job – especially considering how tough the experience has been for him personally. We’ve had several people ask to read the eulogy so we’ve decided to post it on our blog.

George Patton once said:

“It is foolish to mourn those who have died, Rather we should thank God that they have lived.”

Growing up over the years I found my father to be a strong man. As we gather today to remember my father, I think it’s important that we not forget the man we all loved over the years. Though many of us recognize many of his struggles since my mother passed way, his strength is evident in how influential he has been in many of our lives.

Let us not forget…

…the man who was father to us five sons and one daughter.

He was a loving Husband – to my mother, who he never stopped loving, even after she passed away.

He was a step father helping provide love and support to – Randall, Katie, and Derek

He was the oldest of seven children.

He was an Uncle.

He was a grandfather. Sadly his grandchildren Hope, Tyler, Jaylen,  Brylie and his fifth grandchild expected this summer won’t get to know Grandpa Kern as well as they should.

He was a well respected little league baseball and football coach – giving confidence to many children. When he coached us boys it was something we looked forward to because it always meant we got to spend more time with him.

Let us not forget he was a die hard vikings fan. His affection for the purple and gold infected all of us …and still affects us today.

And of course, it’s tough to forget that he was known to have the Snore of a northern grizzly bear.

As we remember my father and we begin to feel sad about our loss, I’d much rather us all remember the memorable moments we all shared with him.

Moments like…

Our Trip to Kentucky when Dad left Adam at gas station.

And then there were the many moments wrestling in the living room with Dad. Many times Josh was encouraged to booty bopp Dad. The consequences of wrestling with Dad often ended with Dad bouncing our heads off his belly.

Or the time Adam and I both sliced our thumbs open with our swiss army knives – after Dad told us not to play with them unless he was around.

We’ll always remember endless hours of volleyball in the pool at Grandma Kern’s house.

Let us remember moments like when Dad use to drive several hours to pick up Terri to see us and my Mom while she was in college.

Though my father left us with many wonderful memories, I think we all recognize my father’s stubbornness over the years. Since our mother passed away he became a man who isolated himself. He was often unwilling to ask for help. I admit, I find myself before you today, living with much regret – wishing I had told him…wishing WE had told him… exactly how we felt these past sixteen years since we lost our mother. This past Thursday as I was present with my brothers when my father passed away, we all found ourselves thinking – If only…

If only…
We had taken more time to visit.
If only…
We had called him a little more.
If only…
We had found a way to keep him closer, when we all knew how much he was hurting.
If only…
We weren’t just as stubborn as our father.
If only…
We had more time with him…more time to tell him just how much we appreciate what he’s done for us all these years.
If only…
We had more time with him…more time to tell him how strong he’s helped us become.
If only…
We had more time with him…more time to tell him just how much we do love him.

As we mourn today, let my father’s passing be a constant reminder of all we’ve learned because of him. It’s important to remember that the story does not end here. His passing has opened a new chapter, a new chapter in all our lives. Let it be a reminder – a reminder that life does go on.

May we always remember…This man we all loved dearly who is now comforted beside our mother in heaven. Both are undoubtedly looking down proudly on the strong family we have before us today.

I’d like to leave you with these parting words from a poem that was shared with a few of us yesterday by my Aunt Allison:

Remember me with smiles and laughter,
For that is how I will remember you all.
If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all,
When I go home to heaven,
How joyful it will be,
For on that day my risen Lord I’ll see,
So why should earthly cares weigh down upon me so -
They will be a distant memory when home at last I go.

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February 18, 2009 - 5:47 am

katie - wow I think the rosary beads were a really nice touch. it looks like it was a beautiful service. and the eulogy, omg, really nice. again sorry for your loss, the thing that kept me going after I lost my dad was the memories of everything he did and said.

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