Born on July 29th, 1924 in Burwell, Nebraska, he was a tall (6'6) lean man. He was Nebraska's athlete of the year in 1942 and was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers 2 years later.
Instead of playing for the Lakers, he chose to serve his country in the Army during WWII. During that time, he played basketball for the army, was Chief Cook for 300+ soldiers in Asia and Personal Secretary to the General.
He was married to Ruth in January, 1948 and was just 4 months shy of their 60th anniversary when he passed away.
He got his Masters in Education and earned a PhD in Theology.
He was a pastor in 19 churches, over 7 states, and 50+ years in the Assemblies of God ministries.
Most importantly for me, he was my hero, mentor, and the one person that I relied on every day of my life, never once letting me down. During his memorial, I said this...
"I thought about sharing with you some of the stories that I remember most...fishing in little ponds in Nebraska...running away from home when I was 4 to be with him...sneaking out to get a doughnut and having him tell me "Grandma does not need to know about this"...and the 3 days in a car I spent with him when he moved to California after retiring...but instead, I want to share with you the most important thing. I am a Christian...a Christ follower because Gramps showed me what that meant...he shared with me the most important message of all...the message of hope. No, he was not perfect, even though I will remember him that way...but he was God's hand's and feet to so many people."
While I never hesitated to ask him questions, just trying to learn from him...and nothing important was ever left unsaid...Over the last 6 weeks I have so longed to be able to call him and ask more questions...ministry questions...personal questions...life direction questions...I want to tell him about the new and exciting things that I am experiencing in Virginia...I want him to meet and get to know the new important person in my life...I want to see his devilish smile when he successfully pulls a little joke...I want to hear more stories about the Army, growing up in Nebraska, and pastoring 17 different churches...I wish I could hear one more of his sermons belted out with that wonderful deep voice...I want just one more car ride, one more doughnut with him, or even just one more hug...but I can no longer do any of those things...and for me, selfishly, that hurts. A lot.
I am so happy for him that he finally got to hear the words "Well done my good and faithful servant". Like Grandma, I am a bit jealous that he is there first. I am so impressed at the sheer volume of lives he so intimately touched. I stand in awe of the man that he was and he is missed more than I can express.