First I'd like to read a few words that Arlene, my mother and Roland's wife, asked me to read on her behalf.
Many friends have expressed deep sympathy for me. After all, losing a husband while still in my fifties is, of course, a tragedy. But somehow I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have been able to share my life with one of the most moral, faithful, and kindest men on earth for 35 years. He has kept me on a righteous path and led me to be a better person by his example. What I have enjoyed during these 35 years, some women won't have in a hundred years of marriage. Even though Roland's life ended much too soon, he lived life to its fullest. His influence will continue to be reflected in my life and in the lives of our children.
[Now for my own comments.] Today we are gathered to say goodbye to Roland Weinsier.
He enjoyed playing the piano after dinner
He enjoyed cooking (he was best known for his salad dressings, fruit salads and smoothies)
He enjoyed making and watching family movies
He enjoyed working out at the JCC
He enjoyed UAB basketball games
He enjoyed Alabama football
He enjoyed sitting outside in the hot tub on cold nights
He enjoyed working in the yard, especially his garden
I remember the look of pride on Dad's face when he was able to serve something at dinner time that he had grown in his own garden, whether it was lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, figs, or some mutant vegetable that we didn't know what it was until we cut into it. He got a real kick out of that.
He enjoyed fixing things, and felt like he could fix anything.
I remember when our 25-year old clothes dryer finally broke down a few years ago. Mom was all excited that she was finally going to get a new dryer after all those years. But not so fast. Dad and I carried the dryer down to the garage, took it completely apart, removed the heating element, called every mom-and-pop appliance store in town looking for the part. When we finally found one, we brought it back and popped it in, and to my mother's dismay it worked like a charm. The dryer sounded like a tornado when you turned it on, but it worked fine and continues to work to this day.
Rather than watch television or read the newspaper during dinner time, Roland encouraged us to sit down together and describe what we did with our day, what we learned, what challenges we faced, and how we addressed those challenges.
Our father taught us many things:
He taught us if you're going to do something, do it right, or don't bother doing it at all.
He taught us to exercise regularly
He taught us to eat right
He taught us how to play sports, despite the fact that when he was growing up he never learned how to play basketball, baseball, or football. So we learned together, which made it all the more special.
He taught us to be patient by example, whether in teaching us how to hit a tennis ball or drive a stick shift car.
Roland truly loved his job. When the topic of retirement came up, Roland said he wanted to retire somewhere within an hour of Birmingham, so he could come back to UAB to work occasionally. But to be honest none of us think he ever would have retired. He enjoyed his work that much.
No matter how busy he was at work, Roland never missed one of his children's sporting events, concerts, or graduations. If it was important, he was always there with video camera in hand.
"As long as we live in the same city, I'm coming to your game to watch you play whether you like it or not"
Roland was a very generous person. He would ask graduate assistants or physicians doing a sabbatical in Birmingham to stay with us at our home for weeks or even months so they were not on their own in a new city. Roland would also help out financially when his friends were in need, and of course, expect nothing in return.
Roland was an outstanding speaker. Whether it was a presentation of the latest nutritional study he had completed, or a toast at one of his children's weddings, he always made it look effortless.
Roland had no interest in money or material possessions. It wasn't that he was cheap, he just didn't like to waste.
He chopped his own firewood from trees in the backyard.
He laid his own brick walkway, brick by brick.
He built the kids a swing set and our dog Lacy a doghouse by hand.
In fact I had been looking forward to putting together my daughter's first swing with Dad from the time she was born. When it became clear that he would not be able to assist me in this project, Dad sat down with me, wrote out the exact instructions and measurements. Now I will be building that swing with only my father's instructions, and his spirit, by my side.
We feel blessed that Roland was able to spend some time with his first grandchild. Of course, at the same time we are saddened that those not yet born will only know their Grandpa through pictures and stories.
These past 6 months were difficult for Roland in many ways. In the past, people had come to him from near and far for advice. I know he had trouble adjusting to the fact that the tables had been turned.
In the days before his death Dad told me that when the time came he couldn't work, couldn't eat, and couldn't work outside in the yard, then it was time to go, and he said goodbye.
Roland lived a perfect life. He had an incredible wife and kids that loved him more than anything. He loved his work and was world-renowned in his field.
His favorite flower was a magnolia; his favorite food was mango; his favorite color green.
Roland Weinsier was a truly wonderful man. He was the kindest, most generous, unassuming, and patient person I ever met and could handle stressful situations with ease. The respect and admiration we had for him simply cannot be put into words.
To our father, our husband, our brother, our colleague, our friend:
Thank you for the time we spent together
Thank you for providing for us
Thank you for being our role model
Thank you for listening and for your patience
Thank you for your coaching and your teaching
Thank you for your kindness
Thank you for never raising your voice
Thank you for making us laugh
Thank you for always being there when we needed you
Thank you for the memories, we will cherish them forever
I look forward to telling my children stories about you. I look forward to passing on the lessons you taught me.
We love you
We will miss you
We will never forget you