I Read this at my Father's Funeral

"To the Greatest Man I know"

by Linda Everhart

I wrote a thank you letter to my father; “To the Greatest man I know”, while his health was good.


Thank you for the greatest gifts a man could give his family. Thank you for teachings us lessons in life and sharing your ideas of survival; how to make the most from the least. By your examples you taught us hard work, being respected, and helping others in the community was more important than any material item we could have. (Notice work came first!) I never heard you complain about working even if it was chopping wood on the coldest day of the year, only wanting life to be easier for us kids. You told us many times to work with our brains, not our backs, and it was your dream we got an education or trade school. Thank you for wanting and making life easier for us than what you had. We are blessed to have a father with such wisdom and knowledge and the ability to share ideas on getting ahead in life. Your ability to be a self made man, starting with little during the depression and a team of horses, working and building a farm for the next generation amazes even the smartest men. How do you have the wisdom? What kept you working so hard?

Many times we did without. Neighbors, friends, relatives, and others took from the farm and money or payments were never seen. You were quiet about this. You provided for the community. Freely, many stuck vehicles were pulled out with your farm tractors. I’m sure there are loans we are unaware of. You secretly signed a loan for the 4-H livestock barn, when the organization could not get a loan. Loans for private local business were supported and signed by you. In your younger years, relatives sent their boys to live on the farm for the summer although you knew city boys were difficult to break in on the farm! What great deeds you did for others! Always giving!

I asked a month ago what your favorite time on the farm was, and you said “it was putting up hay”. I remember there was no air-conditioning, and in a box car on a hot day, & the sweat mixed with hay made you itch more than poison ivy. Wasn’t that the hardest job there was? Pain never seemed like fun to me! Many times the amount of work to be done overwhelmed a person, but you kept working, setting priorities each morning for the day with your expression “Now lets think about this."

I admit my favorite times were when we worked together.

I cherished being with you when I was little and you let me crank the fanning machine to clean soybeans. My small shovels of soybeans were nothing compared to yours.

You taught me to drive by putting a rock on the gas pedal, a cushion on the seat and the yellow truck in low gear then depending on your command turning the steering wheel right or left. That driving lesson ended when I ran over a bail of hay, and you fell off the back of the truck while unloading bales of hay for the cattle. I was not old enough to know my right from my left.

Your strong hands ruled us kids, and I dared not cross you, but boy did I test you! I was not good at self-discipline. Being the oldest brought many responsibilities, but procrastination and rebellion got me in trouble repeatedly. I dared not go to bed without dishes being washed. You might say you ruled with an iron hand!
Your words were “You had to be tough on us to teach us to be tough.”

When I married you taught us investing. You do that well! Your words were “Do not invest what you need and you repeatedly said, “It is only a piece of paper!” You invested for the next generation! Your vision of the next generation is a great understanding of life. We do not remain on earth forever and the Bible speaks of life passing from one generation to the next. By teaching the next generation you gave your greatest gifts freely. Thank you for sharing your knowledge & wisdom.

It pains me to see the strength leaving your body. What once was strong is now left weak. If only I could stop the aging process, If I could make it easier for you I would. I call and visit, but I can’t stop the aging process. If only I could remove the pain. My love is in this letter.

You have given me the greatest gift on earth, and I’m proud to be your daughter. I love you and I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world.

Signed: Your first and most rebellious daughter………. Linda


After I read this to my father, with a tear in his eye, he said I did the best job I knew how!!