John F. Santrock, JR - A Tribute to my grandfather -D-John

Real Estate Agent with Santrock Realty Group Inc. , 244213
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Forgive me for not running around in the Rain this week.  My grandfather, D-John(which is short for Daddy John) passed away after a long illness with Alzheimer's.  My grandmother asked for me to be the family spokesperson at the funeral! Wow! What an honor.  My grandfather was an incredible human being - someone I admired dearly.  Here is the eulogy I delivered - If I have a chance I'm going to upload the video that played while we were at the funeral. 

My beloved grandfather, John F. Santrock, was a man of many talents, and his sphere of influence reached far and wide, as can be verified by the number of people here today. How could you not like John Santrock? If he had an enemy, I never knew it. When one reads his obituary, the question to be asked is, "How did he do it?" He has left us a legacy of good works so grand that it is hard to comprehend where he got the energy. Yet he accomplished all this with such gracious humility. 

First he was a war hero.  My grandfather served his country with pride in WWII.  As a kid I vividly remember D-John telling me about the WWII invasion that followed the attack on Normandy beaches just a month after D-Day.  I was absolutely fascinated with the fact that D-John had been shot (9-11-1945), captured by the enemy, marched through the streets of Berlin, and still managed to escape by walking through Russia to safety in Poland. D-John received a Purple Heart for his bravery.  

D-John lived his entire life in Nitro, WV and was a patron of the community.  D-John loved his small town and loved the people of West Virginia.  D-John would often tell stories about his alma mater, Marshall University, talk about the great athletes from WVA, and of taking dad and Shauna to tennis tournaments in Wheeling, WV.  As a life long teacher and educator D-John's students and teachers all benefited from his talent, vision, and caring. He loved to be around people from all walks of life to, teach them, learn from them, and to share his life's experiences. Everyone in town knew my D-John - his kindly manner, genuine caring, and good natured attitude.      

D-John was a man of few words and a wonderful listener.  He never interrupted the flow of a person's thoughts, and when someone was speaking he gave his full  attention. He made everyone he came into contact with feel important, because he gave the sense that he valued the input of even the least person in the world, because he believed in the worth of others, and saw no reason for placing himself above them.  Towards the end he really didn't say much, but when he did say something it was always something of true meaning.  

Most important of all D-John was a devoted family man.  My sister Jennifer and I were lucky enough as kids to spend a lot of quality time with our grandparents. We lived in Texas in the winters and would spend the summers in WVA.   It was like a great vacation for my sister and me.  We always felt at home with Mama Ruth and D-John.  We still do.  

D-John, a man of incredible coordination and gifted athletic talent, he was skilled at golf, bowling, tennis, ping pong, pool, and just about every sport he picked up.   I remember going to the club with D-John and having him play tennis with me day in and day out.  The way he played tennis exemplified his approach to life in general. He was consistent and kept every ball in play. His greatest strength in tennis was his determination to get every ball back no matter how hard it might be to get to it. Once when we were playing I hit a strong shot down the line and was so confident that I had won the point that I raised my arms in a sign of victory. As I did this, the ball came flying back crossed court for a winner.  I'm considered to be a pretty decent player but I never beat D-John.  On another noteworthy occasion D-John visited our family in Texas and we decided to go bowling.  D-John downplayed his success at sports in general and told me that he hadn't played in over 10 years.  At 70 years old D-John beat us all with a score of 180+! Now that's what I call talent!  

D-John was always there for us.  As my sister and I were growing up in Texas D-John devoted time to his family and taking my sister and me to countless tennis tournament's to help us be the best we could be.  In the summertime we played in the Western Open in Ohio and stopped at the Football Hall of Fame.  Each year we played in two big tennis tournaments in Texas - the Texas Sectionals in the Fall and the Houston Coca-Cola Open in the Springtime.  Mama Ruth and D-John came to every match and patiently watched us play - always supportive, encouraging, and confident in our success.  When we were down and out he told us to get back up and keep on trying. It wasn't the end of the world - we would live to play another day.   

D-John also had a love of flowers and gardening.  Each summer I visited I would admire how D-John carefully tended to his beautiful garden.  He patiently explained that the flowers didn't flourish magically, that they required a daily effort of nurturing, watering, and caring for them.  Since I showed interest, and D-John being the consummate educator, he told me all about the Hydrangeas, Chrysanthemums, daylilies, and other varietals.  To this day I remember the things he taught me and use them in my own garden.    

I'm sad that D-John's no longer with us. But I am grateful that he's not suffering any more and I'm especially grateful for all of the years I had with him.  After surviving the war and coming back to the states he lived such a bountiful life.  To be able to see his children flourish, his grandchildren grow up to have families, and even to see his great granddaughter preparing for college.   I believe he was truly blessed. 

So as we commemorate his life, we celebrate the legacy he has left us. His legacy is in his family and his friends. His legacy is the people that he has helped, and in the lives that he has touched. He has left us his legacy as an admired war hero, community servant, athlete, and a family man.  And now this history is in our hands to carry on where he left off.

 May he rest in peace forever.

 This article ran in the Charleston Gazette on 9/14/2008 about my grandfather.

This article ran this week






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Comments (31)

No Longer Active
Real Estate - Fallon, MT

Tracy....  I'm sure your Grandfather looked forward to those summer visits more then you ever realized... Nice Job!

Sep 13, 2008 04:29 AM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Tracy what a very nice tribute to your grandfather. My Grandfather also passed away from Alzheimer's many years ago and served in the military as well.

Sep 13, 2008 05:01 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Tracy, thanks for the wonderful tribute post to your grandfather D-John. We've lost another of the greatest generation, but you carry a wealth of knowledge and feeling and his principles in your life.

Sep 13, 2008 05:21 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Tracy, I am so sorry for your loss. What an honor to speak about him, you had him a long time so that must be comforting to you.

Sep 13, 2008 05:37 AM
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Tracy....First I salute you for your attention to  details about your Grandfather..he certainly made a impression on you and many others in his life..Sorry about your Loss, I hope and I'm sure you spoke to him often and learned a lot about life from him.

Cheers, thanks for sharing your story.

Sep 13, 2008 03:55 PM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Tracy - This is a terrific tribute to your grandfather.  It sounds like he was a very special man, and you were blessed to have him in your life.  I know you saw my post about my grandfather, too, who was very important to my upbringing.  Thanks for sharing your eulogy with us.  As I mentioned before, you could put this one in the Family Ties group if you like.

Sep 14, 2008 04:02 AM
Tracy Santrock
Santrock Realty Group Inc. , - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Broker


Thanks for the suggestion.  I'm now a true blue member of the Family Ties Group.

Sep 14, 2008 04:07 AM
Eleanor Thorne
Equity Resources - Cary, NC
Equity Resources 919-649-5058

Tracy!  I hope you'll consider changing this from a members only post.  It's such a wonderful tribute - that one day when your great grandchildren are looking for family history - wouldn't it be nice for them to see it???  I know this was a difficult moment in life - but I'm so pleased that you had such a great role model!  If you do take the members off sometime - you'll want to put his name as a key word...

Sep 14, 2008 11:17 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Tracy, I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of D-John. This post is a great tribute and from what I've read your grandfather sounds like a great man. What a rich and full life he had. My father, who died about 4 years ago, had Alzhiemers so I know how difficult it is for the family. May God's peace and comfort be with you and yours.

Sep 14, 2008 11:46 AM
Tracy Santrock
Santrock Realty Group Inc. , - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Broker

BB - thanks for the condolences.  Looks like the local paper ran an article on D-John in yesterday's paper(Sunday's). 

I tried uploading the video and even w/Brad's help the converter wouldn't allow me to upload the clip.


Sep 15, 2008 12:39 AM
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Very nice tribute to a man who seemingly deserved nothing less.

He may physically gone now, but he's smiling upon you.

You've done well by him Tracy.

Sep 15, 2008 01:23 AM
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

Tracy, what a grand daughter!  I'm sorry for your loss.

Dick Beals

Sep 15, 2008 01:28 AM
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Hi Tracy - a wonderful memoir of your grandfather - how lucky you were to have him and what an honor to be chosen to be the family spokesperson.  I didn't get to know my grandparents, and my kids didn't get to know theirs either.  I am sorry for your loss, but happy that you got to share his life.

Sep 15, 2008 08:10 AM
Tracy Santrock
Santrock Realty Group Inc. , - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Broker

Yeah Brad,

Thanks for fixing the video!  It really meant a lot to me. 

I also made the tribute public!


Sep 16, 2008 08:02 AM
Fran Gaspari
Patriot Land Transfer, Inc. - Limerick, PA
"The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ


I'm sorry for your loss! What a truly inspiring sentiment you gave for one who must have been truly exceptional...and what a legacy he left his family!!! Thanks,   Fran

Sep 16, 2008 01:44 PM
Kara Casamassina
International Property Management Group, LLC - Aiken, SC
Boomers and beyond

Tracy,  This is a lovely post about your grandfather D-John. He was a very special man.   I am so sorry for your loss. 

Sep 17, 2008 01:59 PM
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Tracy, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather.  You and your family will be in my prayers...sounds like he was a special man.

Sep 18, 2008 08:35 AM
Cathleen OnullHannigan
Keller Williams Realty - Cary, NC
Cary NC Homes Pro

Wow, you are so lucky to have had a wonderful grandfather, and for so long.  What wonderful memories.

Sep 22, 2008 01:06 AM
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Tracy, I'm sorry for your loss. Your beautiful eulogy makes me think of my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 84 about 15 years ago. I still miss him and we all talk about him fondly.


Sep 24, 2008 09:38 AM
Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker
MR Realty - Mesa, AZ

Tracy - This is such a wonderful tribute and eulogy for your Grandfather D-John, he so sounds like the perfect Grandfather. I was very small when both my Grandfathers passed and I often wonder what they were like. I will never know.

I admired that D-John took so much interest in you as a youth and especially in Tennis, actually super envious! I picked up tennis at the age of 10 years old and only wish someone would have encouraged me to play tournaments and help me improve my game. I continued to play through school and quite a bit through my thirties..not so much now. I wish I could. What I wouldn't give to just listen to the words of D-John and how he must have shared his words of affirmation with you. What a wonderful memory and legacy he has left.

I love the way you made the connection with tennis and the consistency of the game is much like life. No matter what, strive to get to the ball and keep the ball going. Much like our careers now! D-John would probably say something like, stay focused, keep your eye on the ball and strategically placed the ball in your opponents court and wait for the best time to make the winning shot (close the deal)!!

I so enjoyed your post and felt a very tender nudge while reading it. I'm sorry you've lost your Grandfather, no doubt he is more comfortable now and not suffering. God Bless your family.

Sep 27, 2008 07:14 PM