b4s_rodgers0411_116715dOn Monday I had one of the greatest honors in my life, to speak at my Great Aunt’s funeral. I was equally honored to speak at her sister’s memorial (my grandmother) two years ago when she passed away. The passing away of my Great Aunt was the end of her generation in my family. On my side of the family, there are not more grandparents, only parents, uncles and aunts. What a sad passing this was for me.

As I prepared for this memorial, I learned so many great things about my Aunt Marion. Wow, what a spectacular woman. No, really. She was amazing. Her first sympathy card was from the Mayor of Tampa. She had big articles and write ups in every major news paper. In the 82 years of her life, she made quite the impact. Here are links to the articles about her:

Tampa Bay Online: Her Obituary.
Tampa Bay Online: Write up about her life.
TampaBay.com: Write up about her life.
Tampa Bay Online: A tribute from a well known columnist, my favorite article.

I don’t expect you to read all these articles, she wasn’t your Aunt. The synopsis though, she was seen as a great advocate for Children in Tampa for more than 40 years. She served in just about every capacity in the field of education, concluding with 20 years of service on the Hillsborough County School Board. Over ten years ago she was highly recognized by having a Middle School named after her, Marion S. Rodgers Middle School. That’s significant!

One of the books I like to quote most often (which I must confess is a book I’ve not yet finished) is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. The first chapter talks about the concept of beginning with the end in mind. Visualize what you want people to say at your funeral and then live you life that way. Monday was a hands-on lesson of this concept. I had the extreme honor of speaking my Aunt Marion’s last words and I can only hope that someone will say about me half the things I said about my Aunt. What an amazing reminder for me! Thank you Aunt Marion!

In case you’re interested, below is the audio of the memorial service.