Eulogy for Representative Carl Gatto
Governor Sean Parnell
May 19, 2012
We are here to honor and remember the life of Representative Carl Gatto.
What does it mean to honor someone? I think of Carl when I think of honoring others. When I go to memorial services for our nation’s fallen soldiers and airmen, Carl would be there.
He always humbly and willingly showed up on behalf of the Legislature to honor America’s fallen heroes. Carl did so without wishing any notoriety for himself, only that our military families might know that he and Alaska honor our warriors and the sacrifices made.
Carl showed us how to honor others, and that is what we do today for him and his family. We honor his life of service.
We remember his love for others. In 2011, Carl’s other-centered life was made clear by his words. He said, “First, I am a child of God. Second, I am a dad. Third, I am a husband, and then fourth, I might be a legislator.”
His priorities for others reflected his love for others. We recall his humility and his humanity, his honesty and tenacity; and we linger over his wry sense of humor and the sound of his laugh.
As a legislator, we knew we could count on Carl to do what was right and to, in all ways, honorably serve Mat-Su residents and the larger Alaskan community.
In a sometimes raw, ego-driven political atmosphere, Carl brought decency and selflessness to the table. He never forgot who he served while in Juneau: All of you, never himself.
In an atmosphere that can break apart families, we understood and respected the tenderness and love Carl held for Cathy and his family. For example, he spoke fondly of his walks with you, Cathy, across the years.
In addition to honoring Carl, we are here to share grief and to bring comfort. We have suffered loss, and today we express our collective sorrow.
To Cathy and your family, know that your Mat-Su neighbors and your extended Alaska family love and care for you and your family. We offer our deepest sympathies as Alaskans and want you to know that you are not alone. Our hearts and prayers are lifted up for you…For a grief shared, becomes a bearable burden.
At times like these, the words of Jesus bring comfort, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
How good to know that God’s peace, which passes all understanding, is available and at work at all times.
And we are here to give thanks for Carl Gatto. Amidst this grief of separation, it is all too easy to lose our attitude of gratitude.
One picture of Carl said so much about him, and is instructive for us today. There was Carl, obviously at the end of a campaign, waving to traffic and he was holding a sign that said, “Thank You.” The sign he held said it all: “Thank you.”
He always remembered the people who put him in public service, always put first those he served, and today we say thank you, Carl. Thank you for your service, thank you for your love of others, thank you for your decency and civility.
And, thank you, God, for Representative Carl Gatto. Thank you for putting such a man among us for a season. We look forward to the day when we see him with You again.
God bless you. Amen.