Friday, July 10, 2020

Annotated Obit for my Dad

This is the obit that we put together  for my dad which was posted on the funeral home website.

Steve Kopian 82, best known as “General”, peacefully passed away at home on July 2nd.

A loving husband, father and brother, he is survived by his sons Stephen, Thomas, Joe, his “adopted” son Stewart, his daughter-in-law Diana, granddaughter Avery, sister Betty, many nieces and nephews, and his best friend... his dog Buster.

He is preceded in death by his devoted wife Karen, parents Stephen and Anna and sisters Deloris and Joan.

While he earned his living with the Nassau County Health Department, his real passions were sports and the fire department. The General was a champion athlete in multiple sports. He played football and track for Glen Cove High School, where one of his track records still stands. He then played football for the University of South Carolina, and eventually played for the New York Jets during their first season in the AFL as the New York Titans. An avid softball player, he continued to play on different leagues right up into his 70’s.

He was a sixty-year member of the Glenwood Fire Company where for a time, he acted as Trustee, and was a member of the drill, softball and bowling teams. He had great loves for Polish polkas, motorcycles and cracking wise.

Through it all, despite the fact that he could make his family crazy, they loved him as much as he loved them. A celebration of life will be planned at a later date.


That was the piece that went on the funeral home website. But as with anyone's life there was more- a hell of a lot more. Stories kept leaking out over the last week such as he apparently played professional baseball (I believe for the Twins) while in college but it had to be hushed up lest there was a loss of eligibility.

There are the Jim Brown stories of how he played against Jim Brown in high school and while he couldn't beat him in football or lacrosse he could in other sports. 

And then there was the endless tales of the people who he knew - and at times you wouldn't believe that he knew all these people - he really did.

The problem with my dad was that he was always too busy living life to always tell it. I was lucky enough over the past 15 years to spend a great deal of time with him so stories would fall out of him. I don't even remotely know them all- I don't think anyone does- but I suspect that most people who knew him for any amount of time ended up shocked as he casually told stories. The football tales, the softball tales, the firehouse stories, the hockey stories, the polka stories, the travels with his insane grandfather stories, the life stories all just dropped out at random moments.

I loved when we would go to a motorcycle show with Mr C and as they were looking at the bikes he'd start to tell a story. Sometimes I'd heard it sometimes not. Some would be his adventures, and some would be about his aunts and uncles or friends.

He wasn't perfect. He could be a gruff son of a bitch. He would yell and scream at times if something happened- it wasn't until I was in my thirties that I finally got to understand how he went, the screaming was because he didn't know how to show that he was worried, but  there was a point here the anger burned off and you saw the worried parent underneath. I also think my mom didn't really get to understand him in someways until he retired- largely because that was the point when they finally spent time together. Don't get me wrong I always loved him but there were times we all wanted to kill him

In many ways he is one of my heroes. I loved what he could do. I loved how he gave to the community. I know we all hated there was times when the outside of the family came first - but at the same time we did delight when he was there with us.

I know the last few years were tough. The illnesses slowed him down- for a man who was constantly going not being able to run and play sports was hard on him. At the same time he always tried to look ahead. I ill work out so that down the road I will be able to do something.  This Covid crap put a damper on things- we were looking ahead to do things and go places and while we went for rides almost every day the fact that we couldn't go to eat, or go see motorcycles, or boxing or something else really messed up his psyche. he was trying to live as fully as he could but the danger of a disease he didn't have  made it it tough to know when he could get up and moving- would we make the Queens Motorcycle show? How about Boxing at the Garden? When was he going to get out and have lunch with his buddies?

And while his best buddy was Buster, the absolute love of his life Avery his granddaughter. Through all the bad times the thought of seeing his little girl was what kept him going. He wanted to give her everything  but knew he couldn't. He also knew he had toteasure what time he had with her. His life was such that as things transpired last week I was screaming at him to come back because Avery needed him.

Sometimes god has other needs.

Of course there is so much more to say- so many stories to tell- but I don't have it in me. (Actually I do but I need to keep a distance lest a collapse into a heap.)

Someday I will tell the tales. Someday I will not hurt. Someday I will understand what he really meant to me.

For now I will just mourn the loss and smile at the memories and be amused that he is still floating around (at the funeral yesterday he somehow managed to have his coffin pull a button off a good friends jacket in what had to be a final joke - and there are other occurances)

For now I will just say  what I said to him every night as I went to bed " Goodnight pop, love you. See you in the morning"

1 comment:

  1. Needless to say your dad lived more than a full life with all the experiences he had and how active he was. He had told us about the Jim Brown stories but he played for the Titans? Have to hear more about the Twins! Also, would like to see you on his Harley sometime in the future!