Friday, April 10, 2015


Let’s take a little survey.

·      If Todd has ever fixed your car when he didn’t have to, raise your hand.

·      If he rewired your basement when he didn’t have to, raise your hand.

·      Or tiled your bathroom.

·      Or had you over for BBQ and Yuenglings.

·      Or took your phone call at 10pm on a Monday, explained why your car won’t start in the Walmart parking…and then walked you through how to get it started, raise your hand.

If haven’t raised your hand to any of these questions, then you are clearly checking Facebook on your iPhone.  Busted!

The point I’m trying to make is…that Todd cared.  But he more than cared.  He backed up his care with actions.  With deeds.

Todd was a big, gregarious, endlessly energetic guy who loved helping practically anybody with practically anything…any time, anywhere.  He had the skills of McGyver, the personality of Norm from Cheers, and the heart of Mother Teresa.

He would help you even if he didn’t like you.  But that’s a moot point, because Todd liked pretty much everybody.  Except, perhaps, whichever team was playing the Chicago Blackhawks on a given day.  Those idiots can change their own transmissions.

Todd cared about his wife, children and grandchildren. 

He was the gold-standard of househusbands.  He was a stepfather without the “step.”  He logged more hours at soccer games than Pele.  He coached his boys’ soccer teams, even though he never played the game in his life.  He, along with Terri, raised three kids so strong, polite and well-grounded that during the past week…THEY have been comforting US.  Todd showed through actions and deeds that no father or grandfather can be too engaged.

Todd cared about his parents and siblings.  On this one, I don’t even know where to begin. 

Well…for starters, he called us.  Constantly. 
Ring, ring. 

[Right hand telephone in ear] “Hello?” 

[Left hand] “Waddyadoin’?!!!”

[Right hand] “Not much. What are YOU doing?”

[Left hand] “Nuthin’.  Just calling to see what’s up?” 


He almost never missed a birthday, holiday or other family function.  And believe me, we have a lot of family functions.

He did so much work on my house, my parent’s house and my brother’s house…that each one should have a sign hanging on the front door that says “The Todd Mahal.” 

Seriously…you cannot walk five steps in any of our houses without encountering Todd’s handiwork.  And god forbid that any of us should have the gall…the reckless audacity…to even think about hiring some other handyman to do “Todd’s work.” 

And every Winter…on the day of the first snowfall…Todd would receive a phone call from his brother asking the same question:  “Tell me again…how do I start this snow blower?”

And every year, Todd would give the same answer:  “Do you see that rubber handle attached to a cord, College Boy?  Why don’t you try pulling twice and see what happens!”

Todd cared about his employers.

After graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute in 1990, he spent a year doing his dream job:  Working in the pit crew of the Dale Coyne Indy Race Team.  Randy Lewis was the driver.  During that year, he travelled to and worked at Indy races in Portland, Oregon…Toronto, Canada…Surfer’s Paradise, Australia (he hated the flight to that one)…and, of course, the Indy 500.

With that out of his system, Todd started work as an Auto Technician with Max Madsen Mitubishi in Downers Grove—and stayed there for 24 years.  At Max Madsen, Todd was not just one of most skilled and well-respected technicians—he sold, I’ll betcha, more Mitsubishis over the years than Max’s top salesman.

Todd cared about his friends.  And having fun with his friends.

And man-oh-man!…he had a ton of friends.  My family and I simply can’t believe the sheer quantity of tributes that have been pouring in on Facebook during this past week.  Then again, we can.

Todd cared. 

But if he were standing at this podium today, what words of advice would he leave us with?  Well…there are a few.

First…trade in that Volvo for a Mitsubishi!

Second…take care of yourself.  See your doctor when you’re supposed to.  Check your blood pressure regularly.  Get that prostate exam.  Get that mammogram.  It may not make a difference.  Then again, it may.

Third…always buy a high-quality Shop Vac.  Not some cheap piece of junk that sprays drywall dust all over your brother’s master bedroom.

Fourth…give the gift of organ donation.  So that others may enjoy a Pittsburgh Steelers game that you can’t.

Fifth…if you are a man…and you own a bathing suit that you bought in Europe…never, ever, EVER wear it in pubic in front of your family.  Because you WILL be made fun of today, tomorrow and every week for the next ten years.

And finally…remember this…life is uncertain, so eat dessert first.

I think we call can agree that Todd’s life was a 45 year-long dessert course.

Thank you.


At 1:21 AM, Blogger Franje said...

my condolences. It is a touching eulogy. The world should know of his character.


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