It's been well over a hundred years since Ebenezer Scrooge died. No one who knew him is alive today, of course, but he is remembered — not least from this eulogy spoken at his funeral:
This week, we have lost one of our town's finest citizens. Ebenezer Scrooge passed away five days ago, on Boxing Day, at the age of 82. At his death, he was surrounded by his loving nephew Fred, Fred’s wife, and their three children. His faithful house servant, Mrs. Dilber, who nursed him in the last weeks of his life, described him as peaceful and comfortable, and dressed in his best, surrounded by family, and the beautiful bed curtains that she, and the other house servants, made him.
Many of you will remember Scrooge as a brilliant businessman. His company, Scrooge and Cratchit, gave many jobs in his warehouse to the unemployed throughout the city. He and his business partener Bob Cratchit helped many young men start up their own businesses, too.
Others of you may remember Scrooge for his good works. As the director of many of his charities, such as the Christmas Fund, the Hospital for the Poor, and his Soup Kitchen for the Hungry, I can tell you the good this man has done.
His orphanages have been a refuge for many abandoned children. And his Houses of Learning, which teach my own son and daughters, and which I attended as a young lad, have earned fine reputations.
Some of you may even be old enough to clearly remember Ebenezer Scrooge in the years before his miraculous transformation. Some say he was mean spirited, stingy, and liked it. No one knows exactly what changed him, for he never spoke of it. But many believe that it was the high spirits of Christmas.
For me, I remember Ebenezer in a different way. For he saved me. In a way, we were both crippled when we first met. I physically, and he emotionally and spiritually. If it weren’t for Scrooge, I wouldn’t have met my lovely wife, Edith. If it weren’t for Scrooge, I wouldn’t have had my dear children. If it weren’t for Scrooge, I would have died sick, as a tiny young boy. Because of Scrooge, I haven’t even touched my little crutch in nearly twenty years.
I owe Scrooge my life, and I am forever grateful to him. I think that we can all remember Scrooge not for who he was, but for who he became. And we can all honor his memory, by celebrating his life on Christmas, his favorite holiday. Thank you.
[Transcribed by my niece, Nora Rossi, from an old parish register in London]