Joey Whiteman's Celebration of Life- September 8, 2002
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Arthur Bernstein and I am Joey's cousin. As you know, we are here today to celebrate Joey's life and to mourn his passing. Celebrate means to commemorate and we will do this today, as a community and as a family. Joey's life, albeit cut short, was very rich and full. We all know that it was filled with so much love and humor.
If you knew Joey as a boy, you could tell that Joey loved playing sports, beginning with his days in Hatfield Litttle League and Montgomery Soccer. Once the family moved to Harleysville, he played with the local little league team, and loved playing soccer with the Harleysville Hurricanes.
His proudest and most animated moments on the soccer field were at Souderton High School, where he played wing for the Championship team. He also played for the select and travel teams.
After high school, he became an avid golfer and on most weekends you could find him on the course with his father, or his brother, Jon-Michael, as well as many of his friends.
He enjoyed being with his sister Heather and her family, and was a wonderful uncle to her two children Taylor and Alex.
He loved his job and co-workers, and was a generous friend to anyone who was fortunate enough to know him.
Joey was a gifted artist, filling books with elaborate drawings.
All of us were fortunate to have Joey in our lives, a loving son, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin and of course friend.
At this moment, the family would like me to read a passage from Ecclesiastics 111. But please do not simply hear the words, but rather listen carefully to them.
If there is anyone who would like to share any thought or memories of Joey, please do so at this time by simply raising your hand and you may stand at your seats.
Among other speakers Terrie Whiteman recited the following: My dearest Joey,
Today I have so many thoughts on all you are my son, I've watched you grow from child to man, and proud for what you've done.
I love you more than you will know, remember through your life, Mommy loved you first of all, and will throughout your life.
Parents seldom realize until the son is grown, The many ways, he touched their hearts, or how the time has flown. He learns so much, too fast, it seems, you can't believe the pace, Then suddenly, the boy's gone and who's this in his place? The young man filled with more than dreams, but hopes and promise too, Facing life on his own terms, with visions to pursue. And though we always trusted, you'd be second best to none, We never know how proud we'd be to say, there goes our son.
Other family members spoke at this time. All these types of moments many people stand up to speak and begin with: What do I say? What do I think? What Do I do? We all suffered a horrible tragedy, but ironically, this tragedy inspires us, No rather,Demands us to now step up to our own personal challenges ahead. Those that we do not want to, and those we do... Those that we think we can't reach...and those that we think we can. But you see, if we do not try to face those challenges, then we have failed everyone around us, everyone who has touched our lives, especially, Joey.
It is everyone around us that strengthens our lives and enriches our very being. So what do we do? We grieve and we cry! We feel the pain, and we cry more!
But that alone, is not fair to Joey. We must remember and Love. We must remember and Laugh. We must forever keep alive in our own minds, the Smile, the Dimples, and especially the Giggles!
We began today as a community and a family. We helped one another today, and will continue to do so after today. We celebrated Joey's life today with love and dignity.
As a community and a family, I ask that everyone rise and recite the 23rd Psalm aloud.