How does one even begin to explain the complex world of Henry Bancel "Bam" LaFarge? A man who was as wild as the scrub oak of Nantucket, and was considered Nantucket's walking encyclopedia on so many subjects. He was a history buff, a science whiz, a master craftsman--the list is endless. Well, at Bam's service at the First Congregational Church and the Celebration of Life at that Maddaquet Admiralty Association more insight on Bam was revealed.
On March 7, 2015 the main hall of the First Congregational Church was packed with Bam’s friends and family. In his short 65 years he had touched on a lot of lives in many different ways.
At the service his daughter Kate gave the eulogy. With no notes, Kate stepped up to the pulpit and gave the most beautiful tribute to her father that one could give. She touched on all aspects of his life. She talked about the love between her mother and father in many endearing ways. One such story was that he never bought Nini flowers from a store, ever. Every spring he would hop on his boat and venture out to Tuckernuck . He would go to his secret spot in the woods and carry home a huge bushel full of daffodils for his beautiful wife.
Kate also touched on what an amazing dad (and now grandfather) Bam was. She talked of many stories and explained many ways he stayed so engaged with his children over the years.
Bam had many passions and was an expert on all. Whether it be preservation, music, Tuckernuck, history, fishing, botany and science, carpentry and boatbuilding, Bam always had intelligent, thoughtful and logical answers on all subjects.
Throughout the service wonderful music was played, many of Bam's favorites.
There were also wonderful stories from Ron Shepard and his lifelong friend Paul Rishell as well as numerous other people.
After the service we all gathered at the Maddaquet Admiralty Association, of which Bam was a long-time member, to remember our dear friend. The place was packed with friends and family. There was music, dancing, food and drink! I have to say, with no exaggeration whatsoever, it was some of the best food I have ever had. There was an oyster bar, ribs, chicken, you name it, they had it.
Bam was truly the "salt of the earth". He was unpretentious and danced to his own drummer. I am quite certain that last Saturday, Bam was looking down on all of us and in his loud, gargling voice he shouted "thanks for the fantastic send off! I love you all".
After all was done I walked down to the town pier at Hither Creek. I went down there to have my quiet moment with Bam. I have the utmost respect for him and quite often when we would meet up we would talk about Steve, my former husband. As I looked to my left I saw on a piling this rose and inscription. Bam was such a beautiful person, but a little raggedy. Just like this rose. It was so perfect.
[Photo credits: Oliver LaFarge, Cate Raphael, Bam LaFarge, Mariellen Scannell]