Friday, May 21, 2010


This is a very long, but I feel very important post, so I ask that you please read every word.

We had a 56 year old man in our church who passed away 2 weeks ago. He had not been in our church too long, I think they said about 3 years, and he came to the early service so Mickey & I did not know him well. He always sat at the back of the church on Sunday & Wednesday nights.

He was diabetic, and quite ill from that horrible disease. He had several diabetic episodes that many in the church had witnessed and were aware of. When he did not show up for work on Thursday morning his boss called our Pastor Gary to go and check on him. His boss knew something was wrong, because he had NEVER been late to work or missed work since working there. He called our Pastor because Pastor Gary was who he had put down on his work papers as the immediate contact person.

When Pastor Gary went to the house and could get no response, and his truck and motorcycle were parked there, the police and then the fire department were called to enter the premises. He was found dead in his bed.

Now what I have written so far is sad enough, a 56 year old man who lived alone dying in his sleep from an awful disease.......but what is really sad is for the past two weeks, despite going through all his papers and personal effects. absolutely no immediate family could be located. They learned he had a brother who lived in the Ft. Worth area but all efforts there and other leads in various parts of the country located absolutely NO FAMILY.

Now for the glorious going through his personal effects it was discovered just how much our Church family was truly his family, and his brothers & sisters. As Pastor Gary said, "No one would plan on their Pastor going through every item in their home." But in having to fulfill that very chore and task it was discovered just not completely his entire life revolved around nothing but his love for his Savior and his Church family. All the many books in the home were all Christian books, etc. He had notebook after notebook of sermon notes, Bible verses and names and phone numbers of different members of our church body.

The woman, called upon to fix his hair at the funeral home, also works in the local flower shop and she said, "Oh I know ------, He was always coming in and ordering flowers to be delivered to various church members."

His funeral was at 10 o'clock yesterday morning and MANY of his brothers and sisters in Christ were in attendance. His place of employment closed for his funeral and were all in attendance. His boss spoke of him...what a wonderful employee he was. What a good job he did. How he was never late for work. How he was trying to learn a few Spanish phrases so he could say them to some of the employees there. What a kind man he was. He called him, "A gentle giant." He talked about how he would always save up his vacation time to use to go on mission trips with the church and how excited he was about the upcoming mission trip.

The man who worked side by side with him spoke. He talked about the impact he had on his life. About his kindness. He talked about knowing about his illness and being afraid he might be hurt due to it, like falling down, or having an accident in his truck or motorcycle but it never entered his mind that he might die from it. He said, "....was too young to die." About how he would never forget him but that he would see him again in Heaven.

The woman who taught the Sunday School class he attended spoke about him and how everyone in that class loved him. She said you knew he was a praying man because he would always later ask you how what he had been praying about for you turned you knew he prayed. She said when he was asked to pray in the class his prayer would be to God and for God and not for the hearing of the people in the class. That you KNEW he was speaking directly to God.

Another woman from that Sunday School class talked about what a friend he was and how he always referred to people as his "church family". How kind and thoughtful he was to everyone.

Sister Paula, our Pastor's wife, talked about how she would tease him and say she was his official "nagger", since he didn't have a wife and how she always asked him if he had eaten. She spoke about last year on a mission trip how he would just be sweating but wouldn't stop and eat something and take a break. When she spoke to him about it he said, "Those other men out there are working hard and I'm not about to not do my part and let them down." She would purposely go out from time to time and tell the man she needed him to help her with something just to get him to come in for a minute, cool off, get something to drink.

He had been a door greeter for the early service and Pastor Gary said he had found his calling in that position and how he loved it. How everyone loved to see his big grin and smile and how he always had a kind word for everyone. Pastor Gary also shared that on the mission trip last year they had shared a camper that had been turned into a dorm for sleeping and visited a little bit at night before they turned in. Pastor Gary said, "He was a very private man" but he had told him he'd come from Texas, after serving in the military to attend Rhema Bible College. He was a graduate of Rhema. Then something happened, and he did not share that with Pastor, but he told him he'd turned his back on God for a number of years. BUT....about 3 years ago he'd moved to Coweta, came to our church and been loved and accepted and that our church had become his family.

I have never been to a funeral where the "family" section. which is marked off by the funeral director. had no one in it. I hope I never have to attend another like that. But this man loved God, and his impact on every ones life he touched was a witness for His Savior and Lord.

I am sharing this here because it is a lesson to all of us to be more sensitive to those around us. Many said, "I never dreamed he didn't have any family." "If I'd have known he had no family I would have............... (fill in the blank)". I am also sharing this because it is such a clear testimony of a man's walk being more than his talk. They shared how he loved missions and had told Pastor that the Lord had told him he'd use him on some mission trips and how much it had meant to him to see that dream and hope fulfilled in his life. He will be greatly missed next month when the Mission Trip is made. Not only to the Mission Team but to those children whose lives he would touch on the trip.

This man is in heaven today. Not one person who knew him doubts that for one minute. We will see him again. The testimony of his life had a great impact on me today. I hope reading about him will have an impact on you, too.

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Mari said...

This is a powerful post Susan. A reminder to remember that we never know when it will be our last day and to live that way. A reminder to be aware of those around us. And - joy in knowing where he is now, in perfect health!

Mary Lee said...

A wonderful tribute Susan. Thanks for posting it. Ditto to what Mari said.

Momma Roar said...

What a wonderful testimony he lived, but how tragic that there was no close family.

Thanks for posting this.

Sharon said...

This was a beautiful tribute.
It sure does make one think about your own life.
Thank you for sharing this with us.

Joy said...

Susan, how sad that no family could really be found for him. But it sounds like he was surrounded by those who meant so much to him - The family of God.

Your point is so true. You never know what people are going thru or have been thru and being sensitive to others is the right thing to do.
♥ Joy

Kathy said...

Susan, what a testimony to the heart of your local Church fellowship there in Coweta. We are sorry for "your family's" loss. I say that because your church in Coweta was as much if not more his family than his earthly one, wherever they may be. Glory to God that He truly does put the lonely in families, as His Word declares.

Thank you for sharing this tribute.

Shirley said...

WOW is about all I can think of :)
I was just reading this morning in the Message version: 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 where Paul talks about those unmarried can focus on the things of God. It sounds like this is exactly what this man was doing the past 3 years.

Maxine said...

Susan, I have to say that he has had an impact on my life, by my reading of your testimony for him. I sat reading with tears after getting half way through. What a precious man he was.And thank you sister for your exhortation to all of us to be more sensitive and and aware of those around us. I am so glad his dream for missions was fulfilled and so thankful that he has reached his heavenly home. Heaven's gain; your church's loss.

Oklahoma Granny said...

What a beautiful tribute to a man described as a gentle giant. I can only think of the impact that he has made on so many lives. Surely many seeds have been planted in those that knew him.

Susan Skitt said...

Thanks for sharing Susan. You indeed were his family at your church. Praise God for the body of Christ and that we are children of God. And praise Him too for that wonderful day of reunion we will have in Heaven!

Debra said...


This is a very touching post. What a wonderful man this guy was. Yes, many of us do not realize how many there are of people who have no family or at least no family support in the least.

It makes me very sad he died alone. I know that Jesus was with him, but you know, no earthly person was there. My mother died that way and I have always regretted that she was alone (physically) when she took her last breath on this earth.

Blessings to your church family for being there for him. I won't ever forget this story...and I'll look forward to meeting him in heaven one day!

Thank you for sharing this,