Remembering Craig Jurney
at the Oshman Family JCC
on January 11, 2020 at 4:00
November 15, 1963 – November 20, 2019
Hi, I’m Henry, as you probably knew me in relation to him, Craig’s son. I knew him as my father, Dad. It’s simply amazing to see all the people who have to come to celebrate and honor the life of such a wonderful person. And it doesn’t surprise me at all how many people are here today, because he was that kind of person, the kind that you would meet and think, “Wow, that was one of those people right? The ones that are just great and you know it just from seeing the smile in their eyes or hear the warmth in their voice”. My father was one of those special few, and it is self-evident by all the people present here today who he touched, whose lives he has changed, and I just wish he could be here to see all the good he did in the world and that he had so many that loved him.
When I think of Dad, I think of his persistent use of dad jokes, his intense passion for learning and creating, his interest in music that inspired me on my musical journey, his immense knowledge of history and his fascination with museums (and plaques), his stereotypically loud dad sneezes, and his loving aura and approach towards his family, his friends, and everyone he encountered.
I remember how he always enjoyed hearing me practicing in the other room, even when it was 8:30 pm and the whole house had no choice but to hear my endless scales, he always commented on how I was getting better and that I was sounding good. I remember after every concert, we’d talk about the songs I played in the car on the way home and he would often make a playlist to listen to the next day of the same songs. I remember how we enjoyed watching movies and TV shows together every weekend. We would always watch Its a Wonderful Life on Christmas eve, usually just the two of us, staying up late in the night. Our current show was Game of Thrones that we would watch a few episodes of every weekend, moving very slowly through the seasons, but always giving me something to look forward too. I remember hearing the characteristic roar of the crowd coming from the TV in the other room and joining my Dad on the couch to watch the Giants play or keep up with the world series. I remember his seemingly unstoppable ability to strike up friendly conversations with just about anyone in public, as he was always eager to learn from and connect with other people and cultures. I remember for an assignment in my 10th grade English class, I had to record an hour-long conversation contemplating some philosophical question and he gave me almost two hours as we just talked, albeit he was the one talking most of the time. I remember how he was the one I turned too before google. Whenever I had questions about any subject, math, history, or just why things are the way things are, I’d ask him, and when I’d ask Mom she’d say you should ask Dad because he seemed to have a such a deep understanding and interpretation of the world that I always thought was so admirable about him that made me want to be just like him in that way.
He was my hero, someone I always looked up too. The one that when prompted by a questionnaire “Who is your role model”, I always put down my father. He was the most intelligent, compassionate, loving, funny, and understanding person I knew. And every time I thought and still think about him I feel so lucky to have him as my father and I’m honored to be his son.
Among others, it has always been my Dad that I have strived to be like as I grew up. I was inspired by his unparalleled quest for knowledge and excellence in all aspects of life. He was and is my role model. I learned from him not just how to throw a baseball or understand why cars function, but by leading by example, he taught me how to care for others, how to pursue my dreams, and how to use the time I have here on Earth to the fullest capacity.
Although I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that I will never have a conversation with him again, I know that his legacy and his impact on the world will persist. Something that I can confidently say, and I think you all would agree with is that the world was a better place with my father in it. And as we say goodbye to my father today, I’d like for everyone to think of all the great things we loved about him and cherish those memories. To honor his life and his memory, I think we should all aim to accomplish what he did, and try to make the world around us a better place. To do so is not just the right thing to do, but is what he would have wanted to do, to not let his memory take on the silhouette of sorrow, but of the generativity of life and happiness that we can bring about by remembering him this way.
Thank you, Dad, for being the most amazing father anyone could have ever asked for. Thank you for showing me how to live life to the fullest and make the world around me a better place. Thank you for making me feel loved every day of my life. I love you Dad and I’ll miss you more than words can express. Thank you.