As I prepare to leave this life, I can not help but express my gratitude for the good fortune and bounty with which God has blessed me. First, I am grateful to God, His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Roman Catholic Church. Upon these I have devoted my life and entrusted my faith. So, this farewell is temporary for many who may read it, all the rest of you can go to …. Church
Second, I am so grateful to God for the two women who have shared my life. My precious Catherine, who was an extraordinary woman of deep passion and indomitable spirit; the mother of my children – she completed me. Her energy shown with such brilliance, it bathed everyone in the warmth of a reflected glow. Oh, how Kay loved life and she lived each day as if it were her last.
My beloved second wife Shirley who is strong, generous, and quietly supportive woman who gave new life to my final years. How grateful I am to you, my dear – no one shall ever know the strength I gained from you and the comfort you provided. Leave it to my Lord to provide the perfect person at the very moments of my greatest need.
I am grateful to my parents, Olga & Charles Palm who provided me with the wonderful example of loving devotion. I’m grateful for my brothers Chiz & Ron and my sisters Mary, Olga, and Sybilla; what fun we had growing up together, then watching our own children become parents, grandparents, a great grandparent; who could have imagined we would live so long??
And my children; how proud I am of you all. Tony Jr., my first born who has overcome so much to become a good man, a loyal friend, and a true servant leader. My daughter Karen, driven, powerful, and wildly successful as a wife, mother, master martial artist, and professional. Diane, sophisticated, serene, and delightful; your sense of humor and big heart nurture everyone in your sphere. David, my business tycoon, how proud I am of all the success you’ve earned, and the talent honed while providing a living for so many. And John, my youngest, loving husband and father, devoted to his faith, wife, and children. You’ve become a trusted business and civic leader. Clearly, your mother and I did something right….
I am grateful for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Do you remember “cheeky-cheeky-kiss-in-the-middle”, eating icicles, or playing button-button? You are among the most prized of my gifts from God. I am grateful for the gift of so many loving nieces and nephews who blessed my life.
What a blessing was my Navy career. Those four, long, (miserable) years taught me just how much I loved Johnstown, the folks who call it home, and the fact I never wanted to live (or even visit) anywhere else in the world. My career in law enforcement, which was serendipitous was a most enlightening career.
It is said a man is lucky if he has one true friend in his life; well, then, I’ve been abundantly blessed. Don Dishong, Dale Grey, Jim Fry, Bob Slick, Dave Barker, Joe Vella, Jeff Sprecher, my brother Ron, and Fr. Charles Amershek. During my life, all have walked beside me as true and trusted friends. I am especially grateful to those of you who loved me enough to give me a swift kick in the butt, which I needed far more often than I care to admit.
Finally, I am grateful to have lived in a country where opportunity is abundant, where I can worship freely, and where all can hope to live in peace. Not perfect, just better, but she is under attack now and needs our prayers.
I have been so very blessed in so many grand ways.
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