As the oldest grandson of Gasper P. LaCiura, it is my privilege to honor his memory with this written eulogy delivered on May 25, 2017.

Thirty-three years ago, I was planning to go to college but didn’t know how I was going to pay for it. And because I needed all the help I could get, I decided to apply for the college scholarship that my dad’s local union was offering to the children of their members. However, in order to apply for the scholarship, I had to write a letter about my goals and ambitions in life. For a 17 year old young man, I didn’t really have any idea what I was going to do in life so I asked my Paw Paw to help me think through what I should write and he gave me this hand-written draft to review and consider. This is what he wrote:

To the Scholarship Committee:

After finishing high school, I plan to attend college, get a comprehensive education, so that I may become knowledgeable in all facets of life, to cope with adversity, to accept responsibility, and to face each day with a positive attitude. I have not decided what I will major in or what field I will enter; however, I will not set my goals so high that they will be unattainable, or will cause me anguish, stress, or poor health.

I plan on being successful, but, how do you measure success? Is it a home on the lakefront with a Mercedes Benz and servants? I think not. A successful person is well adjusted, maintains a certain amount of self-discipline, has a sense of values, morals, ethics, etc. and faces each day in a constructive manner.

I hope to marry, raise a family and become involved in community affairs, such as improved playgrounds, education, drug and alcohol abuse, etc and realize that the future of our country lies with my generation and the ones that come after. I will do everything in my power to make my community and my country a better place in which to live. I will not stand aside and say, “Let George do it!” I will contribute my share.

In the end, I would like to be judged by my peers, family, friends, associates, and all that I become involved with, as an honest, sincere, compassionate, concerned individual who enriched their lives to a great degree.

I have not seen this letter in a very, very long time and I was hoping that I would be able to find it. I am so glad that I did because as I now read it, I am astonished at the profound vision that my Paw Paw possessed for his life because this is the way he lived his life…but even more than that…I am astonished and grateful for the vision he possessed for my life. In the words of his letter, I can see that he very eloquently communicated so many years ago what he hoped my life would turn out to be. And as I now reflect upon my life in comparison to his hopes for me 33 years ago, it is clearly evident how much my Paw Paw loved me and how much he actually influenced my life for the good.

Because my Paw Paw taught me that the pen is mightier than the sword, I decided to write him a letter on Christmas Eve in 2007 to honor him and tell him how much I loved him for being the best grandfather a young boy, and a grown man could ever have.

I told him how much I appreciated him for letting me experience the thrill of driving a boat as a young lad and teaching me that life is a daring adventure to be enjoyed with those you love.

I thanked him for the many opening days of shrimp season when he, my dad, and I would enjoy the anticipation of the first drag of the net. And it didn’t matter if we caught the “mother lode” or if we forgot to “tie the pocket”, (which we did far too many times) my Paw Paw taught me that the simple things in life were the good things in life.

When I was 14 years old and turning 15, my Paw Paw knew that I was saving money to buy my first car. So he called me one night and asked me how much money I had saved. I told him that I saved $1,400 and then he asked me if I liked the 1966 Mustang that he had in his driveway and offered to sell it to me for $1,200. What a surprise that was to me and even more so to my parents because I don’t think they were quite yet ready for me to own a car and be driving. By his example, he taught me that nothing in life is free and anything worth having is worth the hard work to achieve it.

And then most importantly, I thanked him for always being there for me to listen to my dreams, encourage my whole-hearted pursuit, and inspire my belief that nothing would be impossible for me with a little bit of faith, hope, and love.

I let him know that the gift of his life, love, and laughter that he often shared with me on his early Saturday morning donut runs helped me to become the man of purpose and conviction that I am today.  And because he taught me that “your word is your bond”, I promised to pass on to my children the many life principles that he taught me which are as timeless and priceless as the railroad watch that he left me as a reminder of his family legacy.

And lastly, I closed my letter with a prayer that his personal relationship with our heavenly Father, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would grow ever more closely and intimately as he reflected each day on the blessings of his life.

Being true to form, after receiving my letter, my Paw Paw wrote back with the following:

Dear Gary,

Finally getting around to writing you to thank you for those wonderful accolades that you bestowed on me. Although I don’t think I am deserving of them, I will accept. And don’t forget for one minute the joy and happiness that you brought into my life. God has been very good to both of us. Of course you know that I am ninety years old. I have survived this long for a reason…God must have plans for me. Don’t laugh!

You have every reason to thank God for being so good to both of us. You have every reason to be thankful to God. First He gave you a wonderful mother and father. Then He gave you a beautiful wonderful wife and children. As far as I am concerned, you are already successful. You have intellect, wit, and the ability to do the things that you prefer…not to mention good looks. That is one thing I’m glad you did not take after me for. I don’t have to tell you that we owe it all to Almighty God. Once again, I want to thank you for the tribute. It brought a tear to my eye.

Your loving grandfather,


Yes Paw Paw, we do owe it all to Almighty God and I am thankful He gave me you! I love you and will look forward to seeing you again!!

Farewell To My Grandfather Copyright 2017, Gary Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the written eulogy, Farewell To My Grandfather, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.