The Story of my Life - Bill's Eulogy by Sharon Gobey

On behalf of the immediate family, and those from Scotland, we’d like to thank you all for coming today to remember a remarkable man. I’d also like to give a special mention to the Helping Hands Care Staff and the Nursing Staff from Wansbeck Hospital who looked after Grandad and showed love, care and professionalism to him and his family.

Grandad made his entrance here today to an old favourite song of his, ‘The Story of my Life’ by Michael Holliday. No matter how old we are, we all have a story to tell. I’d like to take you on a short journey ‘through the life of Bill Luke, my Grandad. 
 
He was born William Arthur Luke in 1919 to his parents William & Catherine.   He was one of 3 children; there was Edward, Grandad and Sadie. 
 
He started his working life with Walter Wilsons as a handsome delivery boy. He later became a minor and worked in the pits until he retired.
 
Grandad was a local Geordie man and married the love of his life... my Nanna, Agnes from bonny Perth. They married in 1947 and had 3 children: Nancy, Christine and Michael who they loved very much. Nanna and Grandad celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary over 2 years ago; a real achievement for two strong characters – a Geordie and a Scot. Needless to say they both could be stubborn and neither of them would ever give in.
 
From a young age he always grew leeks and entered many competitions. Grandad showed his leeks a lot of love and attention. So much so, that if it began to rain, he would bring out every umbrella in the house to keep his precious leeks dry. As for Nanna, Nancy and Christine, he would be happy for them to get wet!
 
Saturday morning of the leek show was always chaotic and I’m told you could always hear Grandad muttering something under his breath, so it was best to stay out of the way. There was never any milk in the Luke household because Grandad had used it to clean his leeks. Maybe that’s why he took to having his tea without milk! He even tried to hand some of his tips down to Michael but unfortunately he didn’t have as much success as Grandad. No prizes for him!
 
Grandad was the secretary at the Station Club for many years and I hear Nanna used to ask him who he was actually married too!
 
Men always say that women take ages to get ready but Grandad was an exception to the rule and always started to get ready earlier than Nanna. He always used to look in the mirror several times to check his tie was straight and make sure he had enough brylcreem on his hair. He was even known to pencil his eyebrows because they started to change colour. I think they were going grey!
 
Grandad’s favourite food was scampi and chips. You always had to make sure it was on the menu wherever you went. I understand that Michael took him to a restaurant where scampi wasn’t on the menu... needless to say he was put back in the car and they went elsewhere.
 
Like most Geordies, Grandad was a keen Newcastle supporter and travelled across the country to various matches, and I can just hear him saying “Howay the lads”!
 
At any get together, you could be sure that Grandad would ask someone the question: How old do you think I am? Or tell the story of his holiday to Turkey when the waiter stopped all the traffic to enable them to cross the road. They obviously thought Nanna and Grandad were the King and Queen of Geordie Land.
 
When he retired he enjoyed being in the garden and sunbathing with his cap and suntan lotion at the ready. He also had a favourite pair of shoes that were disgusting and he never wanted to take them off. He loved them so much he’s even wearing them today!
 
Grandad was a family man and enjoyed having everyone together. He has left behind his wife Agnes, 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren who he loved very much. Whether you’ve known Grandad for many years or just a short while, we will all hold special memories in our hearts that we’ll never forget.
 
I’d like to finish with a small poem entitled ‘Our Grandad’s Garden’.
 
Our Grandad kept a garden,
A garden of the heart;
He planted all the good things,
That gave our lives their start.
He turned us to the sunshine,
And encouraged us to dream;
Fostering and nurturing the seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain came,
He protected us enough;
But not too much because he knew
We would stand up strong and tough.
His constant good example,
Always taught us right from wrong;
Markers for our pathway that will last a lifetime long.
We are our Grandad’s garden!
 
We’ll always love you Grandad, and don’t worry, we’ll look after Nanna.