Eulogy to Dad
Delivered Friday, March 21 1997
"My Father was not an emotionally
demonstrative man. That was not a part of his generation’s make-up. But my Father demonstrated his love for his family
every single day of his life.
"Every time I met one of his
colleagues or friends, they would tell me how he was constantly sharing my activities and accomplishments with them –
and how very proud he was of me. And I knew that.
"My Father’s love and support
was unwavering. Politically, my Father and I saw eye-to-eye about as much as Henry and Jane Fonda. (But we closed that gap
in recent years).
"I threw him a few curves now
and then. Each time I found his love to be like the mountain – steadfast and unmoving. I always knew that he stood behind
me. He was always there for me.
"He never lectured me about how
to live – he taught through the example of how he lived.
"My Father was a man of integrity,
with a passionate dedication/devotion to his family and his profession. He was a man, above all, of Principle. And he walked
"From observing him I learned
to know what to believe in and why; to expect to have to defend those beliefs, and when the going got tough, to expect to
have to stand alone. My Father stood for what he believed in – and he never looked around or behind him to see
if anyone else was there.
"In the height of his service
to the political bodies of MAOP&S and the AOA, the allopaths labeled him “The Militant D.O.” I thought that was pretty neat.
"If my Father disagreed with
you, you didn’t have to guess about it, because he would be in your face with it. He respected Honesty and he
had no use for those who practiced anything less.
"My Father was a man of deep
conviction, and quiet dignity. One day I was standing on the shore of the lake behind our house
in West Bloomfield. I saw a man chasing down some Canadian Geese with his small motorboat. He had 2 children in the boat with
him. I yelled to him to stop it, and he turned his boat and aimed it directly towards me as he came in to shore. When he got
close enough he started to taunt me for yelling out to him. He wanted to know my name.
your name,” he demanded sarcastically. I got a little nervous and looked over towards my Dad, who had been standing
off to the side observing all this.
ahead,” he said to me with a quiet strength and dignity, “Tell him your name.”
one defining moment typified how he taught me. He never stole my thunder. He would not fight my battles for me. But he was
always there by my side. Like a rock.
“In the past 6 months,
we’ve had the gift of spending a lot of time together, and I am extremely grateful for this time with him.
“There is a saying –
“God, Where are you not?” My Father brought 11,000 babies into this world – that’s 11,000 extensions
of Phil Adler’s gifts as a healer walking around.
“As many memories as all
of us carry – those here today and those who could not be here: He lives now through us.
“Perhaps the greatest tribute
I could pay to my Father is to say that amongst Traditional Societies, my Father would be acknowledged as a Warrior of great
valor and A Chief amongst his People.
“Today I ask you to join
me in celebrating the gift of Philip Adler to this world. And to celebrate that today he is free. He is in the Wind, the Rain,
the Sun, and the Stars.
“It is with thanksgiving
and appreciation that we will remember this world is a better place because the one known as Philip Adler, D.O., has passed
this way and touched our lives.”
Memories from Michigan Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOP&S) and Michigan State University Osteopathic
Prayer Said for My Father Every Night for 4 Nights, Looking Out the West Window of His Bedroom
Beloved of God and Honest
You have now dropped your overcoat,
the physical altar you called body.
I am praying with you,
Listen now to these words and understand
Now comes the dawn of reality
And you enter the period of transition.
Let go of false vision
And the ideas of pain and suffering
Move quickly and be free
Return to where you began
In Light, in Spirit,
in Harmony, in Love
Kugler Adler was a gentle, loving human being who treasured life in all its precious forms. She was more than just an "animal
lover" - she was a guardian and caretaker. She would offer shelter to baby birds fallen from the nest, little ducklings separated
from their mother, stray cats, injured dogs. She even let me bring a frog with a broken leg home from day camp and keep it
in our tub for a week, applying vaseline to the torn skin on its one leg until it healed. Then I had to return it to its pond.
She let me
bring "critters" like that to visit, but I always had to return them to their natural habitat. "How would you feel," she would
always say, "if someone took you away from us like that and never let you go back."
She was a
regular supporter of the Michigan Humane Society, the World Wildlife Fund, the Doris Day organization in New York that never
destroyed any strays, and countless other animal assistance organizations.
planting flowers around the houses we lived in and she had a definite talent for nurturing flourishing African Violets.
She fell in
love with Africa and she and my Dad went on several trips on “photographic safari.” She was always so full of
life when she shared about the sights, the sounds, the animals, the people. She was like a little girl again, filled with
I was in the
room with her when she died and she came out of a semi-coma to make one last connection with me. She opened one eye and nailed
me with a glance so focused, lucid and purposeful, it drew me forward towards her. “Mom?” I said. Then she laid
back and was gone.
As I cleared
out her “keepsakes” I discovered that she had kept every card, every thing I had ever made for her as a kid, every
news clipping and momento of my school accomplishments, music programs, performances – from nursery school through college
and beyond. She had dad’s love letters and all the over-sized cards he had gifted her with on Christmas, Easter, birthdays,
anniversaries – well, you get the picture. She treasured all of it. She loved us.
We were friends
while I was growing up. We would take driving tours to the cider mill, Cranbrook Gardens, another mall 60 miles away, or just
drive around “in the country” and admire the houses and farms we would see on the land. We talked, we laughed.
We used to listen to Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club on the radio, and watch Days of Our Lives and other TV soaps together.
bring money home every Friday and she would divvy it up into envelopes. She had “funds” for everything –
Christmas, Easter, vacations, emergencies – for her, Dad and myself. Oh yes, and she would save for her beloved Hummel
figurines that she collected. She could stretch the little money given her to the nth degree!
a photograph she took of a giraffe and its babies on one of her African trips. She saved up and commissioned a painting by
a local artist, and then a sculpture by another local artist.
me as being from a generation removed, and in fact, in that she had me when she was 41, she was technically old enough to
be my grandmother.
swear. She wasn’t a saint, but she was a gentle being. She didn’t really understand cruelty in any form. I remember
trying to find a parking space at a mall once when all of a sudden she slammed on the brakes and yelled, “look at that!” She was beside herself because someone had left a dog shut inside a car on a hot day
with no windows down.
She gave up her career as a registered nurse to be a wife and mother because that was what
women of her generation did. Below is a poem I discovered in one of her favorite collections.
One of my Mother’s
favorite books was Life’s Highway, a collection of poems by Edgar Guest.
Inside the book that
was inscribed with her name, Ethel Kugler, January 30, 1934 (her birthday), I found a poem handwritten in her perfectly symmetrical
Too Tired To Pray
thought, when night had finally ended day,
Lord, tonight I am too tired to pray,”
wearily she closed her eyes in sleep,
far into the shadowed deep.
in Heaven the dear Lord heard and smiled.
she soothed a little, crying child.
stopped her work to take old Ella Kloop
fragrant, warming bowl of her good soup.
house was orderly, her garden tended.
children fed, their clothes all clean and mended.
husband, home from work, found happiness
quiet peace in her deep gentleness.”
dear Lord smiled again. “Too tired to pray?
hands have offered prayers of love all day!”