I was not up to reading what I wrote for the service a few days after his passing into Heaven, so my husband Joe lovingly read my tribute to my father. I would like to post what I wrote for that day so you all may remember him fondly, and know the different sides to him that his family knew and loved. May you be blessed and encouraged to know that we will see him again.
There is so much I could say about my dad. He truly was a blessed man, and had many good qualities about him that will remain forever etched in my memory. He was loving, gentle, soft spoken, hardworking, humble, talented, and he loved God with all of his heart. I would watch him as he sat, Bible in his lap, having his quiet time on the front porch. As the birds sang their morning songs, and the early sunlight would begin to warm up the night-chilled ground, he would read and meditate on God’s Word. It did not matter where we were – on vacation, or visiting friends or family – he always made sure he stole away for those few precious moments with His Lord. It was his lifeline and it saw him through each day.
Ever since I can remember, he got up early to go to work, no matter if he felt like it or not. He did not complain about his job, and did what he needed to do, not only to work a computer job at IBM, but to provide for his family and make sure all our needs were met. He did it out of love for us; he did it so we could have food and clothes of course, but also so we could get creemees after supper, or take day trips up the Granby Zoo. He loved us to pieces and made sure none of us lacked in any way.
He had a sense of humor that sometimes shone through with a twinkle in his eye, but sometimes he would just surprise you and do something completely unexpected. I remember the time he came to pick me up from my job one evening and as I climbed into the front seat I noticed he was looking out the window; all I could see was the back of his head. He then slowly turned his head and scared me half to death! He looked right at me with some bushy-eye-browed-Groucho glasses that had a huge nose right in the middle. I screeched and almost bolted out of the door, thinking I had climbed into a stranger’s car. When he began to laugh I realized he was playing a joke on me, but it took some time for my nerves to settle down. Those glasses became our little joke after that, and once again, he surprised me with them when we went out to dinner for my graduation. He pulled them out of his pocket and wore them as he presented me with my diploma. Yes, he had a quiet sense of humor, but it sure kept us on our toes. Like when we said, “Niagra Falls!” Even to this day I still have a hard time saying those words out loud. It was an old joke from the Three Stooges, but he loved to reenact the scene and we never tired of watching him say, “Slowly I turn, step by step, here I come, and when I came upon him I tickled him!” We would screech as he grabbed us and tickled us until we could not take anymore.
Every year he would take each of us children on a special daytime trip, to a place of our choosing. We called it “Our Day” and we got to spend the entire day with just Dad. What fun we had watching planes take off at the airport, riding ferries to the zoo and waterparks, going camping, or driving up to La Ronde in Canada because the train left the station without us. My dad always had a special desire to tie heart strings with all of us, and he loved being with us. It gave him great joy to see our faces shine with delight at all the sights and places we got to see with him.
My dad was very talented in so many ways. He designed chips at IBM, he built woodshed. chicken coops, he always fixed our toys when we brought them to him, he could do plumbing and heating, he knew and understood math, and even knew how to use a paddle quite well when necessary. He certainly obeyed the verse from Ecclesiastes 9:10 that says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;.”
Something else my dad knew was the importance of making sure we went to church and had devotions a few times a week. He always made sure that we learned God’s ways and he instructed us in the only way he knew how – by the Bible. I took what he said to heart and developed my own relationship with the Lord. It was that relationship that brought me through the struggles of my teen years, and brought me to where I am today. I am thankful for the testimony of my parents and for what they taught me through the years.
As I look back at the years gone by, I wonder where the time has gone. What is life? It is only a vapor – here today; gone tomorrow. We strive to make money, raise a family, get a name for ourselves, but in the end, what really matters? What matters is how we lived our life for Him. Like the song “I Can Only Imagine” says, I can only imagine what God is like right now. But my dad does not need to wonder anymore. He is seeing Him face to face, bowing at His feet; walking down the golden road. Everything he believed, everything that he taught us was for the very moment when he stepped through the gates of heaven. He loved God with all his heart and his ultimate goal in life was to do what God called him to do: take care of his family and teach them to love God with all their heart too. We had our struggles; we had our faith tested; we had our moments where we doubted God, but God was with us all the way through, just as He promised. It is hard to understand why God called my dad home. It seems too soon. We were not ready for him to leave. We still had so much to share with him; so much for him to see and help us with. Yet, God had another plan; a perfect plan – my dad had completed his time here. He had done what he needed to do. He had made Jesus his own, when he asked Jesus to come live in his heart in the summer of 1975. He lived, loved deeply, and shared his faith with all those around him. Now it is time for us to continue on where he left off; it is time for us to teach our own children what the ultimate goal in life is: to live for the Lord and make Him our own. We must strive to live our life as God wants, because in the end the ultimate goal is heaven, where my dad is right now. I want to see his kind face again, and see that twinkle in his eye, but better yet, I want to stand beside my dad and look into my Savior’s face and hear Him say, “Well done, my child, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”
A Celebration of Life will be held at Daybreak Community Church, 67 Creek Farm Plaza Suite 2, Colchester, VT, at 11:00 a.m. on May 22nd. For all who can attend, please come and share your memories of my father.