Dear Family and Friends.
My father, Generoso Pope, once told me that after you die people don’t remember you. That you are here one moment and gone the next. In his case, this is certainly not true. In this, as in many other things he did during his life, my father defies the norm. Although it has been three years since he died, with each new day the memories of Generoso Pope become sharper, his figure looms larger and his legacy grows stronger in the hearts and minds of those who knew him and loved him. Each one of us gathered here today has his or her treasured memories of my father, that special and touching anecdote that offered a glimpse into the compassionate and caring side of a complex man that not many were privileged to observe. I would like to recapture My father‘s essence by reliving some of those moments. Here is one of my favorite stories about my father. One day, a friend came to visit my sister Michelle. The friend and her mother pulled up in the driveway to ask directions from a man whom they thought was the gardener. We were puzzled when they told us this, because we didn’t have a gardener on Sundays. Then we saw my father walking towards the house, wearing a straw hat and holding his pruning tools. The woman had mistaken the owner of America’s biggest newspaper for a gardener! This story from my father’s eulogy, which bears retelling, is that of the boy from the orphanage. One year, the director of a local orphanage took a group of his boys to visit the Enquirer Christmas tree. One of the boys somehow believed that his father was nearby and began to cry. Nobody seemed to be able to calm him. That is, until my father arrived on the scene. He took the little boy by the hand and asked him gently if he would like to visit the Enquirer offices. The little boy nodded and my father took him into his own office. There, where he had entertained VIPs ranging from distinguished politicians to famous movie stars, he sat the little orphan down and got him a coke. With a few kind words and some jokes he made the boy smile again. But that’s not the end of the story. Some days later, there arrived at the orphanage crates of ice cream, a pool table, and a ping pong table. Not long after that came a check for $30,000 and many, many other gifts. My father’s strongest wish was to make people happy and give them relief and escape. Generoso Pope delighted millions with the fantastic Christmas wonderland he set up every holiday season on the Enquirer grounds. People chartered buses from all over the country to come and admire the Enquirer Christmas display with its gigantic tree. The display was my father’s Christmas gift and people never paid a penny for enjoying this treat. The tales of my father’s legendary generosity, of the many ways in which he tried to relieve human suffering, are so numerous they would fill a volume. The main characteristics that made my father exceptional were his unpretentiousness and his generosity. Generoso Pope was wealthy but never ostentatious. He could have anything he wanted, and yet was satisfied with the simple pleasures of life. My father was uniquely compassionate. Whenever he saw or heard of people in need, he reached out to them. He gave literally millions of dollars to charity. The beneficiaries of his generosity are everywhere – JFK Medical Center, the Palm Beach Habilitation Center, The Florida Easter Seals Society, Police forces throughout the country… the list is too long to cover. Generoso Pope was a legend in his own time, an extraordinary personality. If he believed in something, he stuck by his guns and ignored the doomsayers who predicted failure. He was a leader who demanded a lot from those around him, but also gave of himself tirelessly and selflessly. His standards were high and he could be tough. He did not tolerate mediocrity or slackness. This is why he was able to build one of the premier publishing empires in the world out of a small paper with a circulation of 17,000. Creating the Enquirer took guts, perseverance, sweat and a very special vision. My father had them all, he had faith in himself and in his dream. From nothing, he created greatness. Failure was not in his vocabulary. The force of the Generoso Pope legend continues to inspire and challenge us to reach new heights, to dare to attain goals we sometimes believe impossible. From all of us you left behind, thank you Dad. We will always remember you and we will always love you.
Paul D. Pope December 20, 1991