METHUEN – This month, The Valley Patriot had scheduled a sit down interview with U.S. Navy War Hero Edmund Solomon.
As fate would have it, Mr. Solomon passed away two days before our interview.
In his honor, we are publishing his son, Joe Solomon’s eulogy from last week.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Solomon family.
EULOGY BY JOE SOLOMON
Hello. As I stand here, I see friends and relatives some that have come great distances to be here for my Dad. I am humbled and impressed at how he must have touched your lives; it would have made him so proud to see you all here. I’m Joe Solomon, Ed was my dad, and my best friend, and this is our love note from me, my mom and my sisters to him.
You see, we had a father for 60 years and have only not had a father for four days, so anything I say today must be understood as the words of a family only four days into a great loss. Losing our dad is one of the most difficult things we as a family have gone through.
As I stand here today, I realize how fortunate we were to have him as our Father. There are not words to express his influence in all 41 of our lives. It is through his example that we all learned to be the fathers, mothers, husbands and wives that we have become.
Today, I will speak about my dad’s accomplishments, his loves, his lessons and, his stories that are routed in lessons. I am honored and blessed that my family asked me to deliver dad’s eulogy. This eulogy is a compilation of the thoughts, and conversations and tears we all shed the last few days, while attempting to put into words the immense impact dad has had on all of us and the tremendous loss we feel. While we were writing this we received a call from our family in Lebanon and we reminisced about dad and the impact he had on their lives when they lived in the U.S. In their words “he was a very loved person, who impacted our lives and will be missed endlessly”. Dad was always the teacher, mentor, leader and full of affection. These legacies are the greatest things that have been passed down to our generation and have had a magnanimous impact on all of us.
He truly was the king of our family. The name Solomon is defined in the scriptures as: an extraordinarily wise man; this describes dad perfectly. We choose a short passage from the Old Testament that touched our hearts and describes our dad well:
“Solomon became the wisest man on earth. People came from other lands to ask him questions. He gave them wise answers. Kings and queens came to see him.”
Our father was born and educated in Lawrence, where he spent his early years prior to moving to Methuen. Dad began working at the age of 7 and started his culinary profession at the age of 14, as a butcher for From George. He served overseas during WWII on an LST in the US Navy. Out of all his accomplishments after his family, he was most proud of his honorable service to our country. His service message resonated so deep that many of us, through three generations, have chosen service as our careers.
During his professional career he owned and operated Eddie’s Meat and Quality Market and then Eddie’s Delicatessen both in Lawrence. He was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a culinary arts teacher, as well as cluster chairman at the Greater Lowell Regional Vocational Technical High School. Dad was such an immense influence on all of us that some of us have chosen to be business owners and teachers. Regardless of what we have done or are doing for career choices, dad was always there to give us his guidance, advice, mentorship and most importantly his endless love and support. Every success was celebrated and praised and no failure went by without lessons learned and a pick me up talk. God knows I received many of these throughout the last 56 years.
Dad passed on a plaque to me that reads:
When I gave this name to you it was unsoiled, live your life so that when you pass it on it is as unsoiled as when you received it.
This sums up how dad lived his life every moment, every day and every one of his 93 years.
He would tell us stories about his childhood, when he would walk the train tracks daily during the winter in Lawrence to collect coal that fell from the trains to heat his house. He spoke about wearing government issued overalls and eating government cheese. He told us these stories to remind us to be humble (I missed that lesson), well-grounded and selfless. In his true fashion when we may be swaying from the straight path of life, these and endless other stories would suddenly pop up in a conversation. It was not for days that you would realize how he was guiding you back on path. My favorite story is how he walked to school and back home uphill both ways in snow as high as the telephone poles. This story I have used myself many times with my children. The moral of the story – Perseverance and Heart.
Dad was known for his generosity and his willingness to help anyone. He prided himself on spreading love and kindheartedness. I remember working in his market on Broadway in Lawrence as a young boy. I had all the glamorous jobs, sweeping the floor, stocking the shelves and of course the best job cleaning the toilets. Each day was filled with hard work and determination and the lessons learned throughout these formative years have guided my sisters and I throughout our lives. The hard work instilled a tenacious work attitude and a customer service approach to work and life. One day when I was working at the market, an older woman came in and I rang out her order.
My dad yelled over to me to “cuff’ the order.”
I was looking at him and I was trying to figure out how to hold all these groceries in the palm of my hand. He realized I was confused and came over to me and took a small metal box out from under the register and wrote the amount of the order on an index card under the woman’s name. At the end of the week he took out the cards and tore them up. I asked him what he was doing. He told me these were woman who had families and had lost their husbands. He said not to embarrass them he told them he will keep an IOU file for them to pay one day. This is just one of the greatest lessons my dad taught about selflessness and unconditional compassion and love.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, dad entered the United States Navy. He served as a Signalman aboard the LST 1011 in the Asiatic Pacific Theater and the European African Middle Eastern Theater. He was awarded four medals for his service. He was a member of the greatest generation and was proud of his service in WWII.
He was an avid fisherman and carpenter and his greatest love was his family and our mother who was the love of his life for 65 years.
I have wondered for years why I have a passion for guns. While reminiscing, I remember one of my fishing excursions with my dad. We were fishing at Plum Island and I landed my first Bluefish. My dad was yelling don’t touch it, it has teeth. My dad took out his .38 caliber S&W revolver and began to beat the fishes head. He succeeded rather quickly. Of course, everyone fishing on the beach moved away from us.
One of dad’s qualities was perseverance. In 1977 he suffered his first heart attack which nearly took him from us. We are so blessed to have had him for an additional 40 years. He was a fighter; he fought through all his pain every day until his last breath without ever complaining. You could see on his face he was suffering and we would say dad how do you feel? He would respond “I’m fine. How you are?” He did this for ma and all of us. He did so many wonderful things for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. When he would do something for us we would say thank you. His response was always “for what?” He always felt it was a duty to do for your family.
He was such a humble man. Dad lived his entire life for Ma and all of us. Ma and dad have a love and true devotion to each other that made a great love story. He taught us to always take care of each other and ma. Dad, that legacy will carry on with all of us. We must also thank our mother for 35 years of unending care for our dad. She was the consummate nurse from the day he had his first heart attack, until the day he passed. They lived by the vows they made 63 years ago, for better or worse, in sickness and health!
It is now your turn to rest Dad. You fought a good fight and have left a lasting legacy for us all.
What amazes us when we think back is the LOVE of family. Our children have so much respect for you and ma, that even our sons, grown men, kissed dad every time they saw him. It was an honor for them. Never a chore or a source of embarrassment, just a token of respect, of course our daughters did this as well but we all know women are way more compassionate.
Family and Love is what the Solomons are all about. Ma and Dad’s love spanned over 63 beautiful years and they are our role models to live a full and happy life. Our parents were inseparable for as far back as we can remember.
Dad’s legacy of caring for others, selflessness, pride, service, respect, caring, and comfort carries on through us each and every day. We are the lucky ones to have witnessed a love so great. It was this love that gave dad the fight to live this long because he never wanted to leave his family or the love of his life.
Dad you filled our lives with so much love.
We do not know what we will do without you. Our hearts are truly broken. We will always remember and cherish you.
We hope to be half the person you were.
We will take care of mom for you.
Dad rest easy; we will carry on your love of family, until we see you again.
WE LOVE YOU
*Memorial Contributions may be made to the following non-profit charities, in Ed’s name: Merrimack Valley Hospice, 360 Merrimack Street, Building 9, Lawrence, Ma 01843; The Down Syndrome Program at Children’s Hospital 300 Longwood Ave Boston, Ma 02115, The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, P.O. Box 428 Dracut MA 01826 or Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, 10 Reed St, Haverhill, MA 01832.