Marshall Fritz Eulogy

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Marshall Fritz Eulogy

by Virgil Swearingen

[This eulogy was presented by Virgil Swearingen, long-time friend of Marshall, on Friday, November 7, 2008, at Marshall's funeral Mass at Old Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Clovis, California.]

I want to start by thanking you, Joan, for inviting me to present this eulogy for my wonderful friend, your husband, Marshall. It was an honor to be invited to do this, an honor which I gladly accepted.

However, I must hasten say that I do not have the capability to adequately honor Marshall. But then, I suppose that no one of us could adequately honor Marshall. He impacted his family and so many friends in so many ways over his 65 years that no one of us knows the full story of his life. I guess we’ll have to wait until we join Marshall in heaven with God and let God and Marshall tell us all the complete story. But for today, let me give you a few glimpses of Marshall sharing life with me, my family, and friends of ours.

We have gathered here today because Marshall has left us. His departure from this life is surely felt most deeply by you, Joan, and the rest of the Fritz clan. However, the rest of us, Marshall’s friends, are here today because Marshall’s death is a loss to us, also.

It is our custom here in America, upon the passing away of a family member or friend, to take some time to reflect on that person’s life. It is appropriate to ask about the deceased person’s response to God, and to ask whether the deceased person’s life was of any benefit to anyone, or did the person just waste their life away. And then it is up to each of us to examine our own life, asking if we are living in a manner such that we are preparing for the time when our life on this earth comes to an end.

The reason it is a pleasure for me to give this eulogy for Marshall is that he responded wholeheartedly to God and he contributed a lot to dozens, hundreds, probably thousands of people. You are one of those. I am one of those.

I’m going to tell some things about Marshall and me sharing life. The way you and Marshall shared life is both similar to and different from my story.

Some of you, including Joan and their four children, have known Marshall longer than I have. Others of you met Marshall more recently. Family members, co-workers, and friends have each known Marshall in different ways.

But, as you listen in these next few minutes, I hope my comments will spark memories you have of Marshall. I hope you will be reminded of your sharing life together with him. And I suspect you will be thankful for his influence in your life.

Marshall and I met in 1983. He and I have been better and better friends for about 25 years. That’s a quarter of a century. That’s a significant portion of Marshall’s life and my life.

There are two major Marshall themes I observed over the last quarter of a century of being good friends with him.

First, and most important, he was a Roman Catholic Christian. Marshall and I were soul mates in our view that being a Christian is the most important thing in life    both for time and eternity.

During these years of our friendship, Marshall and I have both worked on becoming better Christians. It has been a pleasure for me to watch Marshall make progress as a follower of Jesus Christ, his Savior and Lord.

Second, he was in favor of maximum self-government. Marshall and I were also soul mates in our view that maximum self-government is the second most important thing for this life here on planet earth.

It’s likely that most / all of you know of Marshall’s significant work aimed at increasing the level of self-government. That was Marshall’s career.

His work aimed at increasing the level of self-government was done in large part through the following four organizations.

1.    The Libertarian Party of California. He was the Executive Director when he and I met in 1983.

2.  The Advocates For Self-Government. He founded and ran the Advocates. Then he turned it over to some other people. It is still operating today.

3.    Pioneer Christian Academy. He founded, ran, and shut down the Academy. After shutting down the Academy, he pondered the successes and failures of the Academy. He concluded that America, and the whole world, needed more than just one such school. He concluded that America, and the whole world, needed all schooling to be separated from the government. That led to the fourth organization.

4.    The Alliance for the Separation of School and State. He founded and ran the Alliance. Over the last few years, he has been in the process of turning the responsibility for leading the Alliance over to Alan Schaeffer. And now the transition to Alan has been completed.

Over the years since we met, Marshall and I have done lots of greatly pleasurable work together in connection with all four of those organizations.

One of the fun projects from the Advocates was helping Marshall as he developed the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, which has been taken by millions of people across America and around the world.

It was also a treat to help Marshall as he developed the Proclamation for the Separation of School and State, which has been signed by over 30,000 people across America and around the world.

Of course, there is vastly more to say about Marshall. In these few minutes we can barely scratch the surface.

·      We have been speaking about Marshall  -  the man, the mentor, the mountain, the myth.

·      Something I’ve heard various people say is that Marshall seemed bigger than life. I agree.

·      Marshall was a large man physically, but he was also a mental giant, a mental powerhouse, a walking encyclopedia. As you know, Marshall had more ideas in one day than the rest of us have in a year, or maybe a whole lifetime.

·      Marshall was an excellent public speaker and a talented writer. He used those capabilities to advance Christ’s Kingdom and Self-Government.

·      Marshall had a delightful sense of humor. It was fun and exciting to share life with him.

·      Marshall faced his problems, and they were many, head on with his delightful sense of humor. He had confidence that in each problem he faced, God had something good waiting up ahead.

When you think of just the health problems he had, it is amazing he could keep going. You probably remember him saying he “went into the ring” several times with prostate cancer over these last 15 – 20 years. You probably heard him say he was glad to report having had a non-fatal heart attack. He had sleep apnea. His diabetes was getting more troublesome as the years went by.

He kept his trademark optimistic sense of humor in the face of a growing burden of serious health problems. You probably remember that after his diagnosis in February – March earlier this year, he would tell people he had contracted a whiff of terminal pancreatic cancer.

·      Marshall was not prone to being sad. Among the rare times I recall Marshall being sad enough to shed tears were times in recent weeks. These were times when we talked about his dying soon. He sensed he was soon going to lose sharing life with his family and friends. That was a big loss worthy of sadness and tears, for him, me, and you, too.

However, because he had embraced Christ as his Savior and Lord, we are confident that Marshall is now enjoying the ultimate good things God has prepared for those who follow Him.

And for those of us who, like Marshall, have embraced Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are confident that some day we will join Marshall and our Lord and will enjoy the ultimate good things God has prepared for us.

As God has told us in the Bible, we sorrow, but with hope. God has something better waiting up ahead.

As you have listened these last few minutes, I hope my comments sparked memories you have of Marshall. I hope you have been reminded of your sharing life together with him. And I suspect you are thankful for his influence in your life.

Thus, we say our final good-byes to Marshall. For some here, he was a big, important, part of your family. For the rest of us, he was our big, important, friend.

Whether family or friend, we hate these good-byes. We love life. We hate death. We sorrow at our loss. We should sorrow because these final good-byes, death, loss, separation are horrible. We should shed tears.

But, we sorrow, with hope. God has something better waiting up ahead.



Posted November 25, 2008

Some of the more
well-known signers of our proclamation:

Ed Crane
President, Cato Institute

John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year

Fr. John A Hardon
The Catholic Catechism

Don Hodel
Former Secretary of Interior

D. James Kennedy
Coral Ridge Ministries

Rev. Tim LaHaye
Left Behind

Rabbi Daniel Lapin
President, Toward Tradition

Tom Monaghan
Founder, Domino’s Pizza

Ron Paul
US Congressman, Texas

John K Rosemond
Parenting Author, Columnist, Speaker

They and thousands of others have signed Our Proclamation

"I favor ending government involvement in education."