Robert J. Dankievitch
11/2/1937 - 5/18/2015
How do you memorialize someone who was larger than life? My grandfather was the patriarch of our family. To me he was the epitome of strength and moral value. He always had a story to tell and could find a teachable moment in any given situation. He would tell me to "do the right thing" and "go with your gut" and asked me to "give him a growl" if I needed a hand with anything.
He enjoyed being surrounded by family. My cousins and I spent many a weekend at my grandparents' wearing the tires off the many bikes and tricycles he kept in the shed. He let us sneak cold hot dogs before they hit the grill and shot off bottle rockets with us in the backyard. From him we learned gun safety, respect for our elders, and a healthy work ethic. If something was worth doing, he would say it was "worth doing right." He always took a genuine interest in what we had going on in our lives and always made sure we knew how proud he was of us.
My grandfather was never one to let grass grow under his feet. He grew up on a farm, retired from both the Navy and the Suffolk County Police force, and did many odd jobs including work as an electrician. He was always tinkering with any kind of motor, had more parts in his garage than the local NAPA store, and could fix just about anything. He always had "things to do" and kept himself quite busy in retirement. He loved to travel with my grandmother, frequently making trips down the east coast and even traveling cross county to California to visit with my cousin Alan.
To say he will be missed is an understatement. He was a big man with an even larger heart. I'll miss his enveloping hugs and his affectionate nicknames for each of us kids. I'll miss the way he always jingled change in his pockets and rocked back on his heels during conversation. I'll miss seeing his eyes crinkle and the dimples in his smile when he found something amusing. I know our family will miss all these things and more, but as his mass card says "Celebrate those who have returned to the Force - Mourn them Not - Miss them Not." Yoda.
"Tenderly may time heal your sorrow.
Gently may family and friends ease your pain.
Softly may peace replace heartache and may warmest wishes remain."