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Eulogy for Gerald C. McKinstry Sr. Jan. 3, 1927 to Aug. 1, 2013 Delivered by Gerald C. McKinstry Jr. St.

Paul the Apostle Church on Aug. 5, 20113. The night before my father died, I sought some profound wisdom and insight from him, so I asked him if he had anything to say. Absolutely nothing, he responded with a smile and ornery laugh. You see, my dad wasnt big on speeches. He enjoyed conversation, but he wasnt a blowhard. He rarely lectured, and despite his lifetime of service to his church, his students and his family, he wasnt a preacher. He was a doer. A principled man of quiet action. He led by example with an expectation that showing people the path was far better than telling them what they should be doing. If he wanted you to rake the leaves or study for an exam or go to church, he was the rst to pick up a rake, a book or a bible. Show. Dont tell: He lived his life that way. To be clear, he was an active parent and occasionally doled out tidbits of wisdom -- sometimes in Latin -- but he knew that actions were far more powerful than words or fancy rhetoric.

And if you missed his lesson, there would certainly be other opportunities to follow. Because life was his classroom. My dad was a kind, gentle and compassionate soul. His faith was immense, and he attended church daily. Although he rarely spoke of his good deeds and most certainly never advertised them, it was clear that he lived by a very basic Christian tenet: As you have done unto the least of my people, you have done unto me. We grew up a few blocks from here. Our home a mere stones throw from Van Cortlandt Park and the Bronx border. There were many people who crossed our path -- and certainly many characters that society turned a blind eye to. As a boy, I remember walking with my dad along McLean Avenue and seeing him empty his pockets for a disheveled man who asked for a few spare dollars. After, I asked my father, What if he was trying to cheat us? ... To which he replied: What if he really needs it? By his beliefs, the money would better serve this man, than it would lining his own trousers. A native of Harlem, Dad was born the son of immigrants just as the Great Depression began. He didnt know his father and his mother Matilda raised the family on $12 a week with the help of aunts, uncles and cousins from a very large Irish family. (There were four children in his family, but two of his siblings died in infancy). He joined the Irish Christian Brothers when he was 15, went to college and served the order as a teacher, coach and athletic director for more than two decades. He was known as Brother Chris or, as legend has it The Hawk for his uncanny ability to swoop in and keep tabs on those who were on the cusp of no-good.

He excelled at athletics, and no doubt passed on his love of sports to generations of Brothers Boys and kids whose backgrounds he understood all too well. Ive heard some of this firsthand, because during my time as a local news reporter I occasionally received calls from people who wanted to know if I was related to Brother Chris. They all had wonderful things to say, and on one occasion a CEO insisted we go to lunch at his country club to discuss how my father turned a bunch of rough-and-tough tumble boys from the West End of New Rochelle into champs who were competitive with the big New York City schools, despite their lack of height. As he taught generations of kids valuable lessons, he remained a steadfast presence and anchor for his own family. He took care of his ailing mother for years and always stood by his sister Helen, who faced her own challenges. When she was going through a difficult period, dad ensured that her four children -- Tommy, Barbara, Chris and Doug -- had homes, were educated and were taken care of. As Doug told me recently: He never gave up. He kept the family together. He was always there for us ... He was like the rock in the family. He was always a rock in our family. My parents were married for 45 years. He was a wonderful husband and father who cooked, cleaned and consoled, and took an active role in our lives -- driving my sisters to dance class, coaching my little league teams, taking us for walks and hitting fly balls to me for hours upon hours. Many of you know how much my parents love each other and how great they were together; they were indeed life partners and soul mates -- my mother was by his side, visiting him everyday at the nursing home and hospital. But what you may not know is that in retirement my dad brought my mother breakfast in bed nearly everyday.

... That by the way, has prompted other women in this family to ask why their husbands do not do the same. My dad was not one who over-valued material things. He had no interest in keeping up with the Joneses and basically wore a ball cap, sweatshirt and pair of New Balance. You were more likely to peak his interest with a good Tom Clancy novel or a piece of chocolate cake -- desserto or chocolate (choco-lot) as he called it -- than you would boasting of the latest trends, gossip or scandal. He measured his wealth in terms of his wife, children, family and faith. He loved having his family around. He loved that he had 7 grandchildren, including one who would carry on the McKinstry name. And he did, on one occasion, ask why I didnt name him Gerald. Dad had all the wealth he needed, and by his accounting, he was probably the richest guy on the East Hampton beaches -- even though he may not have looked the part in his khakis, tattered ball cap, and on occasion, a down green winter coat. He never uttered a bad word about anyone, unless of course, you were A-Rod, who couldnt hit The night before my dad died, we were when it mattered, Phil Simms, fortunate enough to see him in good form who he said ran like he had and give him hugs and kisses. Here, two McKinstrys embrace for the last time. cement blocks tied to his ankles, or (NY Giants coach) Dan Reeves, whose play-calling drove my dad bananas.

In fact, although my dad rarely cursed, the word Reeves became something of a slur in his house. And when my dad actually used bad language, the combination of words was unlike anything you have ever heard ... certainly well-worth hearing. I would be remiss if I didnt mention his sense of humor. Anybody who knew him, has a story or tale of his happy demeanor and quirky personality. Very often, he didnt try to be funny, it just came naturally. I recall one summer when a group of Mormon preachers were going doorto-door in the neighborhood. Two young men -- perfectly dressed in white shirts, black ties and dress pants -- couldnt have known what they were up against. My dad schooled them on the bible, and actually sent them away ... with homework, to which they returned again and again. I recall well how theyd ask me: Is your dad home? ... (Rumor has it that those two are now Catholic missionaries). I can tell you, even as his dementia accelerated in his nal days, aspects of his personality remained. A few weeks ago, while in the nursing home, he thought I was the owner of Sarah Neumann. When I told him I wasnt, he responded: Well, your walking around like you own the place. In recent weeks, he seemed eager to see his mother, his sister and some of the many other loved ones and friends he knew during his long and wonderful life. He lived a great life. And there were many chapters to his story. Throughout every one of them, he lived by a core set of values and principles that never wavered. We miss him. And will do our best to live as he did.