Thursday, August 14, 2008

Papa

I hate to pass along bad news, but my grandfather passed away yesterday. It's been a sad time for me, my family, and several other "Life of Brian" fans and the next few days are sure to be extremely hard. I know some of you didn't get a chance to know Papa (as we all called him), but he was a great man. Here is his obituary from this morning's paper:

U'SELLIS, JOSEPH G. "JOE," 84, of Louisville, passed away Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at Baptist Hospital East. Born in Staten Island, NY, he attended St. Peter's High School. He later attended The Citadel and the University of Louisville. He was a retired vice president of sales for Wisconsin Tissue Mills, a cofounder of Cash & Carry Party Supply and was a real estate agent for Caldwell and Associates. Joe was a founding member of St. Pius X Catholic Church, a member of Woodhaven Country Club and 3rd degree Knights of Columbus, Assumption Council. He was an Army veteran of World War II, serving in the Battle of the Bulge. He also volunteered as a reader for the Kentucky School for the Blind and a children's reading tutor for the Jefferson County Public Schools. He was preceded in death by a son, Kurt U'Sellis; his parents, Joseph A. and Gertrude U'Sellis; and a sister, Audrey O'Connor. Survivors include his wife, the former JoAn Crush; children Gregg U'Sellis (Cheryl), Rick U'Sellis (Sue), Sherry U'Sellis, Doug U'Sellis (Michele) and Scott U'Sellis (Brenda); a sister Doris Rendt; 14 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. The funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Pius Church, 3521 Goldsmith Lane, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Friday at Ratterman and Sons, 3800 Bardstown Road. Memorial gifts may be made to Mass of the Air or to the donor's favorite charity.


Death is a weird thing to talk about and a hard thing to deal with. I know that a blog isn't the best place to discuss this sort of thing, but it's important to me and a lot of those who read this blog. While many people will have their own special memories of my grandfather, I have a ton myself. I'll always remember talking baseball with him, as he was a big Yankees fan and always used to tell me of going to Yankee stadium with his dad to catch Lou Gehrig and other baseball legends. I'll remember his wardrobe...Papa was a tad color blind and while his outfits were always the same color...they were often different shades. I also never in my life saw Papa wear a belt, as all of his pants were tailored to fit just right...and didn't even have belt loops. I'll remember how much he hated facial hair. He would often not talk to my dad and my uncles when they sported a beard, but unfortunately for Papa...part of being a male U'Sellis means you are blessed with the ability to grow a beard in less than 24 hours...or by grabbing something and pushing really hard. Papa got better in terms of his facial hair feelings as more grandchildren began to grow beards by the time they graduated 8th grade, he really had no choice...and I must say he adapted quite well. And I'll remember his funny old time sayings such as, "Isn't that tender" when referring to something sweet or cute, or when he'd say, "I guess I'll have to go try out the plumbing" whenever he had to use the restroom.

I'll also always remember my favorite story of him, which is when my younger step-brother, Ryan, came home from golfing one day with Papa and asked, "Are you allowed to drink a beer while driving a car?" to which we all replied, "Lord no, did you see someone doing that?" Ryan replied, "Yeah, Papa!" A while later I asked Papa about that particular incident, he looked at me and said, "Son, I grew up during the depression...don't preach to me about stuff like that."

He's gone now and while it is very sad, I and all those who knew him are lucky to have had him as part of our lives for so long. He'll be missed, but never forgotten, and I ask you not to think of me or my family at this time...but next time you have a beer, eat a hot dog, or play some golf (three of his favorite things), just think of ol' Joesph G. U'Sellis...or Papa, as I and my family knew him.

Take care everyone, I'll be back on Monday.

Beer of the Day: Goose Island - Honker's Ale
Song of the Day: My Morning Jacket - Golden

2 comments:

Wowwie said...

I'm so sorry Brian. My condolences to your entire family. If you need anything just call. I'm sure he will be missed.

Judy said...

Hi Brian< cant believe it's 12/09
but i just came across your blog and was so moved by what you shared about my uncle and your Papa. He will always be i our hearts and when we think about him it will be with much love, respect and "tenderness". He was so proud of his family...I, too, loved him very much. Judy NYC