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"81 YEAR OLD MAN IS KILLED WHILE RIDING HIS BIKE"  That was the headline in  the small town's newspaper.  It really says very little and the normal response would be something to the effect that he lived a good life and probably didn't suffer as his death was on impact.

Allow me to tell you about this incredible, out of the ordinary 81 year old man.  He was my son-in-law's grandfather.  My daughter, Rochelle and her husband Thomas purchased Grandpa's homestead and farm last year.  They were not planning on living there for a few years, but Grandpa wanted to continue to maintain the property.

The property consists of 11 acres of pristine, manicured grounds and the home where Thomas' father was raised.  There are several gardens and fruit trees.   There is enough carefully stacked firewood in one of the many outbuildings to last several years.  The entire acreage is fenced and the trails that wind around and through the property are clean and without overgrowth obstructing them.

Rochelle and Thomas live over 1,000 miles away and try to visit Grandpa and Grandma every 6 weeks.  They stay on the property and continue their preparation  getting the house ready for their move.

Grandpa took it upon himself to ride his bicycle every day over five miles each way to tend the grounds.  He loved doing it and moved away from the property to make life easier for Grandma.  She loved their new condo with all the modern amenities.

Grandpa's bike riding was apparently not enough exercise as he bench pressed 175 pounds daily and worked out regularly.  This is the same man who served in the Korean war and was one of the few men in his battalion that survived.  This is also the same man who was in a near fatal logging accident when he was 55 years old which forced him into early retirement and  told he would never walk again.  This is a man who was smaller in statue than this three sons but when he greeted them gave them bear hugs that lifted them off the ground.

He raised three sons and a daughter and gave them the same code of ethics he had.  He was a man of great wisdom and knowledge and trained his children and 18 grand children to think for themselves and to be brave, kind, compassionate and hard-working.

Last month Thomas wanted to divide one of the fields into two pastures.  He ordered over 100 fence posts and then contacted a fencing company to have them set up the posts.  They quoted him $4000 for the job and Thomas decided he would wait.  A few days later, Grandpa excitedly called Thomas to tell him that it took him a couple days to do by hand but the posts were all in place and ready.   Grandpa did it alone and it was done properly.  This was the 81 year old man whose name was not even mentioned in the newspaper.

Grandpa was involved in numerous volunteer organizations in the community and if you wanted something done, everyone knew who to call! 

Grandpa was an incredible husband who, by example, showed his sons and grandsons how to treat a lady.  When Grandma had her hip surgery and was bedridden on their wedding anniversary, Grandpa walked several miles to town to pick up Chinese food and a bouquet of roses for his precious wife.

At his Celebration of Life service yesterday, his four children and two of his grandchildren shared the Eulogy.  It was almost two hours long in a church that was not air conditioned and packed to capacity.  No one was bored and only wanted to hear more about this astounding man.  Our son-in-law, Thomas,  was one of the grandsons that told us about his role model, his grandpa.  He shared many of the life lessons Grandpa taught Thomas and throughout the service, there was a new appreciation for a man already loved and respected deeply.

I had only met him once but by the end of the service, felt he had been a friend for life and my eyes fill  with tears even writing this.  He had a strong faith in God and lived his life according to Biblical standards.  This causes me to love my son-in-law anew and am grateful beyond words that he chose my daughter to be his wife.

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Comment by Dave Cottrell on August 7, 2013 at 9:42pm

Very good, Carol.  Nice memory.


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