The last few weeks have been quite emotional. My witty, warm hearted, charismatic Dad passed away. I’ve always felt lucky to have such an open, loving and warm father. Generous in spirit with a passion for life he was a great man in that ‘greatest generation.’
Psalm 42:7 says, “…the best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude,” this was my dad. He was truly grateful for the many blessings in his life. Even during the tough times he remained grateful, kept a positive outlook and persevered. As my brother said in his beautiful eulogy, my dad was genuine. I am blessed to be his daughter and miss him dearly. Losing a parent is a difficult rite of passage and now I’ve lost both of mine.
My father was a true American hero who served in World War II, receiving 3 Bronze Stars and a special medal for D-day. He was in the 121st Engineer Combat Battalion of the United States Army and battled in 3 major special series campaigns including D-Day where he was in the 2nd wave of American units to storm the beaches in Normandy. He married his high school sweetheart and love of his life 3 weeks after returning from duty.
Jake was a real man… loved baseball, horse racing & scotch! A true blue Dodger fan who watched every game he could. He was even a bat boy for the 1930s Yankee farm team where he met greats including Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig. He was a fine baseball player himself and might have played professionally if he hadn’t enlisted.
He worked in the car business most of his life and owned his own business where he had a large celebrity clientele but his true passion was entertainment. He was a great song and dance man. His talent, humor and great looks won him roles in plays, musicals and commercials. His resemblance to Jack Lemmon was uncanny and he had fun with it (so did we!) People didn’t just think he looked like Jack Lemmon, they often thought he was Jack Lemmon!
My parents had me later in life, they had three teenagers, and then had to do it all over again with me. They called me their ‘little surprise,’ as I got older I realized what that meant! They never made me feel as though I was an accident or that they had to make sacrifices to raise me. In fact, they told me that having a baby at that point brought the family closer together. He sure loved his family and we all felt that love.
Forever the optimist, my dad’s love for life was infectious. He was a master story teller and his great sense of humor stayed with him until the end. The outpouring of the fondness and affection for him from friends and family has been touching. He put people at ease, made them laugh and brought smiles to their faces, as did the clever nicknames he gave. I truly enjoyed his company, his presence was dynamic. He was fun and young for his years, he drew people in with his likable character. Kind and generous with, as my niece, Janessa, says, “… a whole lot of class and swag!”
I will greatly miss his quick wit, eager smile and loving way
In Loving Memory
Jacob Clifford Harper
March 10, 1923 – July 10, 2013
God saw you getting weary.
He did what He thought best.
He put his arms around you
and said, Come and rest.
He opened up His golden gates
on that heartbreaking day,
and with His arms around you,
you gently slipped,away.
It broke our hearts to lose you.
You did not go alone.
A part of us went with you,
the day God called you home.