9/14/72 - 5/26/06
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
May 26th changed our world forever. Life as we know it has been tested beyond reasonable limits. The things we thought we knew, the questions we thought we had answers for, are once again questions. We all feel a bit more vulnerable. Struggling with what we hold to be true. Some things we do know for sure. . . .
To know Joseph Hanbury was to love Joseph Hanbury. Not many, if any, met him and didnít think he was . . . . .awesome!
He was smart, funny, reliable, kind and generous. He was handsome, passionate, dedicated and hardworking. His work ethic didnít match many. Joseph had a rare gift for a man of a highly sensitive social perception. He intuitively new the way to respond to others. You see he was a watcher, a man of few words. I used to tell Mum that he was like EF Hutton...he would speak and you would definitely listen. Sharing a special moment with Joseph was a gift. It was not usually loud, crazy, or boisterous, it was sweet and funny. It was usually intimate. He knew how to make us feel special. We were all his best friend, no matter what our relationship with him was. Last night spoke that in volumes and the number of wonderful people who Joseph touched was a testament to the man he was and the way he lived his life.
Joseph was driven. He did everything BIG. He built Suburban Paving and Sealcoating and initially with my Mum's assistance it grew and grew to be a huge success and then when his Stephanie came along she became not only his partner in life, but his partner in business...and boy where they a fabulous team. He was such a gifted manager that everyone who ever worked for him loved having him for a boss. He treated his workers with dignity and respect. As a family, we used to joke about having asphalt in our blood....my Dad works in the business, I worked in the summers for Simeone Corp, Joseph built Suburban, and David worked with Joe sealcoating. And at this very moment, we have three paver and roller operators in the making in Joseph, Gavin and Owen and you better believe that we will see that some day.
Joseph was quiet and private. He was a listener and he intimately became familiar with who you were on the inside. He was also gregarious and outgoing - charming. He had a fabulous sense of humor and a love of teasing and trickery. I will always remember his belly laugh and that twinkle in his eye when he was planning his next attack on an innocent friend or family member...I know many of you today in this church had a practical joke played on you.
FAMILY Ė Family was everything to Joseph. It was his roots. . .it was his foundation.
He had a lovely wife and two beautiful babies and they were the priceless lights of his life. He adored them with his every breath. Stephanie was his heart. At family gatherings I would often see Joe gazing at her with an awestruck smile on his face. I knew he was wondering how this heavenly lady had allowed him to share her life! He was soooo proud to have her on his arm. They had their own language that only two people could that were goofy in love! He knew how much his Stephanie love him.
Joseph and Gavin were his pride and joy. They put the twinkle in his eye. He would often tell me how he LOVED being a father and how these two precious children made his chest feel like it was going to burst open with pride! Children were drawn to Joseph because of his sweetness...and is wonderful imagination. He would tell Joseph what he called a Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer story every night from his own imagination and generally it was from his adventures with his friend Derek.
Dad . . .you were his role model, his dunne buggy building partner, and his #1 fan, and he knew how much you loved him...
David . . .you were his original roommate. He was so proud of the man you have become and was so enchanted by your talent and artistry, and he knew how much you loved him...
Me, well, . . .I was his biggest cheerleader. . .his original babysitter and probably his first and worst tattle tale, and he knew how much I loved him.
Joseph was a good man and, as we all do, he carried his own shadow. The effects of that shadow have brought us together today. Being a human being is a mixture of light and dark. Along with the good in us, there is also a part of us that is filled with darkness, frailty and doubt.
There are no words in the English dictionary to describe our pain. We are all broken. In the midst of this pain and anguish there is something to consider. . .
In the depths of his soul. . .my brother, Joseph Hanbury, my Lovey, would never hurt another human being. His final act was not about any of us here. . . It was about him. It is hard not to take it personally. Because, at times, it certainly feels personal. But I know he did not intend his death as a personal affront to any of us.
Think of who Joseph was. Can you imagine for even a moment, that the man you knew, loved and respected would ever act in this way except under the most extreme duress? Would this man ever willingly, knowingly hurt another human being? I say.. . .Of course not. Joseph was in a prison. An emotional prison. A prison that locks from the inside. No one holds the key on the outside. Joseph just either lost his key or forgot he had one.
This is the bridge between our outrage and our compassion. The anger that I speak of is not anger at Joseph, but anger at his choice. If we can step back from our paralyzing pain for just a moment, we will see that this wasn't about us. This was about him. This was about HIS pain. If we can understand this concept, then we take the first step towards healing.
Sweet Joseph, we know you are with Mum, and I know you can hear us. We want you to know that we wish with all our hearts that we had heard your cry for help soon enough to have made a difference. We want to tell you that we hold you innocent and blameless. We ask you to forgive us for not hearing you. We want you to know we will do everything in our power to look after your family and if we can do even half as well as you did in your lifetime, they will be ok. We want you to know that we all loved you.
We need to leave this church today knowing that our world is filled with people who care. We need to be authentic with one another. Next time you ask someone how they are doing . . . .make sure you take the time to truly hear what they are telling you. . . .with their words, their eyes and their souls.
And, as long as we live we will remember Joseph, the sweet and gentle boy and man with those beautiful baby blue eyes.
Memorial Submitted by: Kim