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Remembrances and Thanksgiving:

by Bickerton W. Cardwell, Jr.,
nephew

On behalf of the family, we sincerely want to thank each and every one of you for being here today to celebrate the life of such a wonderful man.  For your thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks, and for having touched Phin's life and those of Mary Ellen, Phin, Mary Ellen, and Peel.

While there is today an appropriate sadness in all our hearts, we need to be mindful that Phin is not so much at the end of a journey, but more importantly on the doorsteps of heaven.  We should all be so blessed.

You have read or heard of Phin's enormous accomplishments in the field of medicine -- as a teacher of legions of doctors and of his scholarly pursuits.  But as in all truly great men -- Phin's talents were overshadowed by his humility.

To us -- the family -- he was always just Uncle Phin, and he liked it that way.  To us he was an Historian and genealogist of the first order.  As evidenced by his book, notes and papers that could fill five basements.  To us he was quite a golfer, who chose to forgo his pleasure in order to save his healing hands.  He was a musician who kept his musical talents in perspective -- one of his favorites being "Minnie the Mermaid."  He was a world class humorist.  He knew and told far more jokes and stories than befit a physician of stature and even when the joke occasionally went south, it was still funny because of the way he would tell it and because of that wonderful smile.  He had a poem for every occasion and possessed a little black joke book that would put Bob Hope's to shame.


But above all -- to us the family -- he and Mary Ellen were always there.  Through whatever tragedy or problem they have always been there for all of us.

I was asked by the family to share a humorous story or two -- which is difficult because humor was such a part of his everyday life.

Being the offspring of his younger sister, our family always heard of how Phin would perform juvenile cornea transplants by chiseling out the eyes of his sisters porcelain dolls.  Or how Phin and Lawson would lure Marion up the rope ladder to their tree house only to let her fall to the ground to see what would break.

Phin's quick wit can quickly be illustrated at a family Christmas party in which Phin III, in showing off his new camcorder, wanted to do a mock interview.  Phin grabbed my sister Missy as the interviewing reporter and proceeded to impersonate a Gainsville chicken farmer who had bred chickens that would lay square eggs.  This would revolutionize stacking and marketing, but was especially hard on the chickens.

After Papa died, Phin inherited the six 50-yard line seats to Georgia Tech football, much to the amazement of the rest of the family since he was a died-in-the-wool bulldog.  We would all anxiously wait all week to see who was to get to see the big game.  We would finally have to call Friday night and would receive that wonderful Phinizy thought process" "Now look a-here Bicky, let's see now, well I, uh, gee..."  We would always get to the games but never saw the kickoffs.

There are countless other stories and I am quite confident -- as we speak -- Phin is finally getting to meet that elusive relative: the original Ferdinand Phinizy whom he sought like Don Quixote all those wonderful years.

Phin gave us many gifts, but none more precious than his wife of 50 years next month, Mary Ellen, nor his three wonderful children, Phin, Mary Ellen and Peel. We will all miss this most marvelous of men and can best honor his memory by living -- in our own way -- those attributes that remind us of Phin the most: dedication, humility, a sense of humor and an unwavering love of his family and his God.

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