(January 14, 1923 - April 12, 1998)
Brothers and sisters,
We gather here today to celebrate the life of Joseph, my father, as well as the beginnings of his new life with our Father in heaven.
When my grandparents named Dad Joseph Peter they must have had some special things in mind. St. Joseph and St. Peter certainly played a major role in guiding Dad through a successful life which spanned three quarters of a century!
St. Joseph, as you may know, was the father of Jesus. He was a role model, a provider, hardworking, loving, and trusting in God's plan for his most holy family. Dad, you were a role model, one even certain professional basketball players would marvel at. You worked hard throughout your life to provide through sacrifice, a good home environment to your wife of 46 years, 3 sons, and 6 grandchildren. You led through example, with continuous faith in God, regardless of all obstacles.
The name Peter means rock, as Scripture recalls, and certainly you served as a foundation for your family and friends to build on. That foundation continued to be solid despite the tests which you endured later in life.
Dad, through your faith, hope, and love many people were touched. We will always be grateful for the time we could share these gifts together.
So it is not surprising that when your work on earth was done that you drew strength from St. Joseph, patron of a happy death, and St. Peter, strength to endure a final test.
On the holiest of days, the very essence of our existence, Easter Sunday, our Father in heaven called you home and on eagles' wings along with St. Joseph and St. Peter you smiled on us one last moment to reassure us that everything was all right. Yes, Dad, you did it your way and Sinatra certainly would have been proud.
We thank you and ask you to petition our God for continuing blessings upon us all.
Joseph Peter Baran lived in this world for approximately 27,483 days.
During that time he was son to two people, brother to seven siblings, devoted
husband to one wife, father to three children, and loving grandfather to six
grandchildren. And uncle to at least thirty-eight nieces and nephews.
He finished high school and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His ship, the U.S.S. Walker, escorted President Roosevelt across the Atlantic Ocean to the Yalta Conference with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. (By the way, two months later the President died -- on April 12th). Sailor Baran was by that time crossing the Pacific Ocean to prepare for what might have been an Allied invasion of Japan.
He chose not to stay in the military after the war, but began working for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, also known as A & P. He was, by trade, a grocer who also stocked shelves, checked and bagged groceries, and assisted several managers in several stores of A&P and A.J. Bayless. He was a union member. His awareness of available produce allowed him to bring home the fixings for many enjoyable meals, many of which he himself prepared. His knowledge and friendly manner was also put to use demonstrating and introducing new products at the Price Club.
Joseph Baran spoke both English and Polish.
He was a church usher and committee member. He was in the Knights of Columbus. He was in at least three church choirs, plus the one choir in Phoenix that sang for the Pope here in 1987.
He was a landscaper, greensman, and gardener, who partnered with Nature to bring forth abundant vegetables in two different climates, Cleveland and Phoenix. His last plantings are still growing and developing now. [ Specifically peppers, which lasted through the summer of '98; artichokes, which were still regrowing from the bases of the originals through April 2000; specimens of eggplant he originally planted in the early nineties which were transplanted into a large barrel and survived two years through Sept. 1999; and a somewhat scrawny but hardy little grape vine growing at a corner of the house lasted until it was transplanted in June 2002 when Mom moved. ]
He was a three-time homeowner and land improver. He built two basement recreation rooms, and one wonderful walk-in cedar closet.
He demonstrated skills at plumbing, wiring, painting, sprinkler installation, automobile mechanics, and swimming pool maintenance.
He also was an educator, conducting such courses as bike riding; ball throwing, catching and hitting; fishing; kite flying; carpentry; tie tying; Sunday afternoon relaxing while listening to the ballgame; patience and persistence. And Christmas and birthday present assembling.
He could sing, his repertoire ranging from Polish folk songs [ specifically, "Poniedzialek Rano" ] to Italian opera. He could dance. He even did a brief stint in community theater.
He was a thrifty shopper, active consumer, mail order buyer, drive-in and walk-in movie goer, airline passenger, magazine subscriber, and shrewd financial planner. A chauffeur, camper, vacation planner, swimmer, TV viewer, financier, voter, neighbor, and friend. And sports fan. [ For both the Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks, whose baseball caps accompanied him to that ultimate skybox. ]
He laughed and cried, yelled and praised, smiled and scowled. He ate and drank. [ But not too much.] He bore pain.
These are just a few of the many things Joseph Baran did in these 27,000 plus days here on earth, helping and touching the lives of many people, widely gaining friendship and respect. But the most important of his talents to me was being my daddy.
[ Bracketed notes as of May and Sept.1999 and Jan. and Nov. 2000, and Feb. 2003 ] )
(And the coincidence has not been missed that this website made its debut on the first anniversary of my father's passing. I guess there was a reason that I had technical difficulties the few days before I was able to successfully launch the site...)