Charles J. Dyer
January 23, 1935 – July 8, 2009
Charles J. Dyer passed away on July 8, 2009 at the age of 74. Chuck was born on January 23, 1935, in Detroit, Michigan, and spent much of his youth between family in Michigan and Arizona. Chuck served in the Navy and often spoke fondly of his service to our great Country. After his honorable discharge, Chuck received his Business Administration degree from the University of Nevada in Reno.
While obtaining his degree, Chuck worked in the Trust Department for the Bank of Reno which resulted in two great things in Chuck’s life. Chuck met his wife of 46 years, Nona, through a co-worker at the Bank. In addition, during his tenure in the Trust department was his introduction to Probate and Trust law. Not long after his marriage to Nona, the couple relocated to Tucson where Chuck was accepted to the University of Arizona College of Law, earning his Juris Doctor degree and admission to the Arizona Bar. Upon graduation, Chuck served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Carl A. Muecke. After finishing his time as a clerk, Chuck went into private practice in the area of Probate, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Conservatorship and Elder law. To say that this area of the law was his passion would be an understatement. Chuck devoted many hours to the Probate community and developing the law in this area.
Having grown up in and around the office, both of Chuck’s kids, Mike and Lisa followed in their father’s footsteps in their own way. Lisa is a social worker and has worked in case management for many years and Mike has had the privilege of practicing law with his father for the last 12 years. Chuck leaves surviving his loving wife Nona, his two children Lisa and Mike (Robyn), three grandchildren Ashley, Brendan and Courtney, and his “adopted” son and law partner, Scott Ferris. Chuck was also survived by his three nephews Mike, Dave (and Toni) and Tim.
He will be missed by all in his law firm and his many friends and family.
You can read letters to Chuck from the family that were read at the funeral service.
First, let me thank you all for coming today to honor my father and pay your respects. On behalf of my mother, Lisa, Robyn and the rest of the Dyer clan, please know that your presence today is very special and appreciated.
As I went about trying to put my thoughts together for the memorial today, it was a first. I have always been blessed with the gift of gab and although I give many presentations and teach often through out the year, I have never had to prepare my comments word for word. Today, I was pretty sure that it was going to take my very best just to be able to get through my comments and I must therefore resort to reading, and for that I apologize in advance. I figure, better to say what needs to be said then to get choked up the whole time.
I guess one of the perks of growing up as a “PAK” that’s short for Probate Attorney’s Kid (in honor of Pastor Leuning, who is the “king of Acronyms”) is that you have the privilege of attending more than your fair share of funerals. Despite the number, there is no way to prepare for the loss of someone that is special to you. In our office, it seems that we have been in morning for the past month with the passing of Suleiman Saigh, the father of my good friend and associate Chuck Saigh. Our attempts to support Chuck and his family through the loss of Sam has been more than returned during our time of loss and we thank you for everything, that really does mean all of you (that is a pretty big thank you if you know the Saigh clan). It helps to know that Sam and my father are enjoying a drink together in heaven.
As I began to prepare for my remarks, I had a hard time figuring out how one goes about talking about a person who has been such a big part of shaping your life; you attempt to describe one particular area only to leave out the so many others? I am blessed to have had such a relationship with my father and would not have it any other way. I tried to organize my thoughts in chronological order but after writing four pages of notes, I was concerned I might lose some of you after the first hour. So, I figured the best way to describe my father would be through the attributes that I most admired about him and hope and pray that I can model them in my own life.
Love – there was no one with a bigger heart than my father. There was no individual that I can think of that my father did not get along with, he was just one of those souls that always found the good in people. He truly modeled unconditional love to me, my family and all of my friends. I was certain of this when my father agreed to represent me and two of my friends for J walking in high school. My father did not treat this as some petty crime, as far as I was concerned he was going to take this to the highest Court if necessary.
Joy – My father was a man that was full of Joy. We have shared many of the pictures of my father from over the years, and although most people have to be directed to smile in pictures, my father was not one that often had to be directed to this. His smile was contagious and he was never one to complain. Even in the last few years when his health was declining it was very rare that my father would complain about his situation and he always was quick to speak joy into another spirit.
Peace – My father was always at peace and desired it for all. Growing up, my sister and I did not always “get along”. In fact, like all good siblings, we fought like cats and dogs. My father’s favorite saying was “Someday your mother and I are not going to be around and it will only be the two of you, so you better get along.” He was always the consummate peacemaker.
Patience – During my youth, my father always made of point to be at the important events and games. This was not the best part for my father. The important time to him was the time that he got to listen to each and every detail that my sister or I wanted to share regarding the events of the day. I am certain there never has been nor likely will there ever be someone that is such an unselfish listener as my father. He never skimped on listening to all of the gory details, regardless of how boring it might have been.
Kindness – My father would give you the shirt off of his own back if you asked for it. My father helped several of my mother’s family to immigrate to the United States. When they would relocate, my father was the first to volunteer to begin teaching them English. Both my Aunt Dara and Cousin Payow studied cosmetology while they stayed with my parents after coming to the US from Thailand. I am sure that my father was able to translate all of the terms for bob cut, teasing and any other hair style that was in at that time. His kindness seemed endless.
Faithfulness – If you ever discussed religion with my father you would know that he fancied himself a free thinker, never to be restricted to a denomination or particular Christian faith. My father never forced his views of religion on anyone, let along his own children. When my second set of parents, Bill and Cathy McCullough, were kind enough to drag me along with them to church with my good friend, Doug, my Dad never discouraged my pursuit to reach my own conclusions about God. My father completely embodied the tenants of one of his passions, Freemasonry, which requires the belief in a Supreme Being, but does not endorse one religion over another. I have many a wonderful memories of discussions regarding religion with my father. On several occasion he specifically assured me that he had accepted Christ as his savior and that he would see me in Heaven. How much sweeter a statement can a son who adores his father ask for.
Gentleness – My father was not the disciplinarian in our family; my mother had that well under control, in fact I am pretty sure she could still do some pretty good damage today if called into action. There are so few memories of my father ever getting angry at my sister or I for any reason. Whether we were “borrowing” dimes from his parking meter stash to use for the ice cream truck or completely totaling the old pickup truck on a camping trip with Shawn and Butch, my father never raised his voice or showed anger. He was a gentle man through and through.
Although my father would never have been one to identify all of these traits as “fruits of the spirit” as described in Galatians 5:22, I believe them to be. I know that my father was a blessed man and that he was spiritual in all things he did.
As I wrap up my remarks today, I wanted to share with you all one more story. Two weeks before my father passed away, my wife and my kids, my sister, my mother in law and father in law, and the Bone family were able to take my father on a cruise. I name all that accompanied us on the cruise because it really was a joint effort and my father referred to us as “his crew.” In any event, in the weeks leading up to the cruise, both my father and mother requested that I reconsider taking my father along with us on the cruise because of the difficulty he was having with his mobility. Fortunately for me, once in a great while I can be stubborn, and I did not give in and my father came along with us on what would be his final voyage. He got to enjoy sun on the deck, the fresh sea air in his face, a massage, great meals, some gambling, and some wonderful company if I don’t say so myself. There could be no better gift that my father or God could have given to us now in retrospect and I am thankful for our time together.
Upon my father’s return from the cruise he was very tired and his condition began to rapidly decline. As with the rest of my father’s life, God provided once again. My cousin, Tim Marderosian, was able to provide respite care to my father. Tim was an answer to prayer and I am not sure he knows that. Tim was also with my father when he passed away and was there to help my mom through such a traumatic event. Timmy, I hope you will always know how much I appreciate all that you gave my father in his last few weeks of life; to you I am forever indebted and thank you. I know that this day is a celebration of my father’s life, but I would be remiss if I did not recognize my mother for all of the care that she provided my father in the last several years of his life. She has been devoted to my father for some 46 years and I know that the last several years have been hard. Mom I am certain and I hope that you know, that we would not have been blessed with Dad’s presence without your tireless efforts. Know that he is at rest in heaven and will be watching over you until the time comes for you to meet again.
There were so many people that were important to my father and in order to make sure we finish this service before sundown, I know I cannot recognize them all. I did want to make sure I recognized the wonderful group of people that make up our law firm. This last week has not been very pleasant, but I have not received anything but support from all of the Dyer & Ferris team. I wanted to thank our family friend, Bill Gumbert with Messinger’s mortuary; Bill, I know that this is your profession but I appreciate your treating us like family. My father made so many long time friends/family through work – Aunt Kay, Aunt Billie, Wayne Clouser, Nancy Elliston, Greg & Peg Dovico, and Jim & Cristy Bone, thank you all. I know his time in Eastern Star was precious as well Betty and Fred Rupert, Linda Beck and Susan Warren, thank you for giving him his time in the sun.
Finally, before I close, I wanted to thank Pastor Leuning and my Desert Springs family. My family has called Desert Springs our Church home for over 16 years. Our children and Robyn and I have grown up here. From my family and myself I cannot express how much I appreciate and have a deep and heartfelt appreciation for your prayers and the support that you have provided to us during this difficult time. To all, thank you once again on behalf of my mother and my family, for coming and “celebrating my father, Charles J. Dyer’s life.”
Thank you all for coming and expressing your respect and love for my father and family. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have him as my father, mentor and friend.
As my father, he was my foundation. He was the calm word of reason when I was trying to plead my case as to why I was right and why someone else was wrong. He was forever trying to teach us patience, compassion and forgiveness. If you know me then you know that I was testing his ability to practice what he preached on a daily basis. He encouraged me to be independent and self sufficient. Not too long ago my dad and I were discussing my favorite rebuttal to his words of wisdom: I would say I know that you’re probably right but I need to go out and try it for myself. I was only able to say that because I knew at the end of the day I could count on him to be there to catch me or congratulate me, whichever one the outcome called for. As kids we spent countless hours terrorizing my father’s office staff. We quickly found out that he had given them permission to disciple us if needed. Who does that?! But that was my father. He loved to work and he loved those that he worked with and for. If you have ever worked with my father or hired him to be your attorney then you know that you instantly became a part of our “adopted family”. Our adopted family was as big a part of our lives as was our “blood” family members.
As a mentor and friend he was always willing to be transparent and didn’t feel that anything was off limits for discussion. We always knew that we had someone to tell our secret to and that he wouldn’t expose it to anyone. His integrity was not just saved for his professional life but he also applied it to his personal life. He was a role model and he took that role seriously. He was a firm believer in honest, hard work and helping others. It is my hope that I will continue to make him proud and never forget what he was taught us.
As a child I remember telling him how I hoped that I would go to heaven before he did because I wouldn’t know what to do without him. He gently told me that he thought he should go first and make sure everything was ready for me. That was my dad- putting everyone ahead of himself. At the mortuary I found a poem that I would like to read that I think tells us all what he would want to tell us:
To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me:
When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears,
Be thankful for our many beautiful years.
I gave to you my love,
You can only guess how much
You gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love each have shown,
But now it’s time I travelled alone.
So grieve for me awhile if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust,
It’s only for a time that we must part.
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you cannot see and touch me I’ll be near.
And if you listen with your heart you’ll hear;
All my love around you, soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way,
Alone I’ll greet you with a smile and say,
Good afternoon everyone. I am Ashley Dyer, Chuck’s oldest granddaughter. Thank you so much for joining my family and me in celebrating my grandfather’s life. There are many things I can talk about my gramps, his compassion, patience, and mostly love, but seeing as how I am already having trouble reading this, I will keep this short and sweet.
I have never lost a grandparent before so this is a new experience for me. Looking back, I remember a few memories that I would like to share with you.
I remember when I was very young, my grandpa and I use to watch Jurassic Park over and over and over again until the tape actually broke! I remember sitting on his lap, playing a video game together on his computer, that was my favorite.
I remember when I would stay with grandma during the day and gramps would go to work. Grandma would fall asleep and I use to go into his closet and see what treasures I could find before getting caught.
But most significantly, I remember 4 weeks ago driving out with him to go on our 4 day cruise. I was driving and asking him about his earlier years. I remember him explaining how he met grandma and calling her the most beautiful, intelligent woman he had ever met. I was so intrigued by his stories and just wanted to listen to him forever. Having my grandfather with me on my graduation cruise was a true blessing.
Although my grandpa will be greatly missed at my future wedding, every birthday, Christmas, and every other party from now on, there are many things that I am truly joyful for him about. He is now rejoicing in heaven with Jesus, running and jumping for joy, two things he couldn’t do here before his death.
Thank you Grandpa so much for the wonderful memories. And thank you all for letting me share with you today.