Gerald E. Winebrenner (gwine) 1952-2007

Discussion in 'The Honor Roll' started by BobVigneault, Oct 12, 2007.

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  1. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Gerry Winebrenner was my best friend. We vacationed together, took trips, haunted Half-Priced books together, showed off our reformed book acquisitions and searched for THE tastiest beer.

    Gerry was a non-conformist and consequently a puzzle to many. He didn't watch television at all and could only name shows that he heard the less erudite fellows discussing with irritating and prurient excitement. Gerry's response was to turn off his hearing aids and read the puritan tome he had downloaded to his PDA. His PDA was ever present in his shirt pocket in case he needed a Bible verse or reference or the relative magnitude of a star. Once, on a trip, he figured out where we were by the angle and position of the sun. You see even the smallest detail reveals so much about Gerry because nothing was left to accident.

    Take the PDA, he only wore shirts that had a front pocket for his pda. We were given the opportunity to order shirts with our Church name on it. Gerry raised his hand and asked if the shirt had a front pocket. The answer was 'no' and so Gerry didn't order a shirt - it was a simple matter of boolean logic for him. If the pocket = 0, then 'the placement of the order' is a null set. That is how Gerry thought. He knew what he liked and what he didn't like and it was all algebra and calculus. Gerry was a geek's geek. His passwords were uncrackable yet memorized - he knew pi to around 20 places.

    Consider a previous post of his as an example of what I'm speaking of:

    or his very last post on the PB in which he quoted from The Journal of Irreproducible Results, vol. 20, #3, March 1974, pages 22-23. Where did he find that and why?

    He didn't view the world as most of us see it.

    Gerry didn't hear the world as most of us hear it either. Gerry was deaf. With super powered hearing aids he was able to hear certain frequencies and with his ability to read lips he could follow a conversation extremely well. He worked incredibly hard on pronouncing words. If he encountered a word he was unsure of he would ask someone to repeat it and he would watch their lips closely, then he would repeat it and ask for feedback until he spoke the word perfectly. Most folks would never guess he couldn't hear. The amazing thing is, in spite of what should have made conversation a struggle, Gerry could and did start up a conversation with anyone. Even though his years as a youth were filled with ridicule because of his disability, he made strangers feel accepted and cared about.

    He was a sprout farmer. There was always a crop of sprouts growing in his front window. Everyday he would take a sprout sandwich with him to General Motors where he worked as an electrician. Yesterday, as Deb and the boys were trying to decide on a floral arrangement to go on top of the casket, poor exhausted Deb said, "Bob, what do you think?" I had to laugh as I looked at the pictures of pretty flowers. "I've been wracking my brain trying to remember any conversations about flowers that we might have had," I answered, "Gerry fought the norm, he would have wanted SPROUTS on his casket." He was into health. He exercised and ate whole grains. (Deb makes all their breads.) He wouldn't take an aspirin, he drank pure water, he avoided sunlight and always put safety first. When I heard that speed was a factor in the car crash I knew a few things were certain - that Gerry would have had his seat belt on, was fully attentive to his driving and well under the speed limit. We knew that if speed was a factor then it was the other guy who was reckless. The coroner confirmed by investigation what we all knew through intimacy with our practical Gerry.

    Needless to say, it's impossible to capture a lifetime in these few lines. I just wanted to reveal some of the things that made Gerry unique and special as a friend. His most important attribute came up yesterday as we were trying to select a verse to sit opposite his obituary on the program for the funeral. The booklet of samples had about 75 trite, sentimental and generic verses about memories of our dear friend and love is like a dove and whatever. Mutual friend and pastor, David King, said that he could come up with much better verses if Deb would like. Again Deb turned to me and asked if I had an opinion. I told her that Gerry would not like any of these, nor would he like words that said how wonderful he was. "If it's not Christ honoring, then Gerry wouldn't like it." Pastor David opened his Bible and read the passages that will be listed in the program.

    So this is the legacy Gerry leaves us: know what you like and what you don't like but in both of these choices, honor God and his Son Jesus Christ. If Gerry could speak now, those who knew and love Gerry can easily imagine that his words would mirror the sentiments of the Apostle Paul when he said -

    Gerald E. Winebrenner 1952-2007
  2. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    That was beautiful dear brother.
  3. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    :ditto: Indeed, you were truly blessed to have such a good and faithful friend. We were blessed as well, from a distance.
  4. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks for your encouraging letter Bob.

    Paul in Philippians 1:9-11:

    And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.

    What a wonderful thing to be blameless and in the presence of our Lord!
  5. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I'd use a crying smiley but it would be so crass to capture that tribute...

    Bob, when I die, I want a friend like you to be by my loved ones helping them.

    I'm so, so sorry for your loss.

    I'm very glad we could do this to memorialize Gerry. It's such a small thing and the Internet is hardly the same as the visible touch of those in our visible Church but it is a small corner where those of us, united to Christ in His death and resurrection, can share our common joy in Him.

    Thank you God for letting Gerry cross our path. Comfort those he left behind. Death is our enemy and so we weep. But not as those without hope.
  6. Pilgrim's Progeny

    Pilgrim's Progeny Puritan Board Sophomore

    Speechless! I would love to have a friendship like that which was between you and Gerry. I have officiated several funerals and I have always been comforted when I could say that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, is(not was) the God of the deceased as well. What glorious comfort from our Sovereign.
  7. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    Thank you, Bob, for a wonderful tribute. You can be sure that Gerry can hear now!

    I receive Grace Gems every day via email. I thought today's offering was very appropriate.

  8. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Thoughts On Death


    To debar death from our thoughts, and the future eternal world from our meditations—will neither render us immortal, nor afford us a triumphant dismissal from this into the eternal world—but must make our exit dreadful, and our latter end a scene of ineffable anguish. While, on the other hand, we never enjoy the pleasures of life, the sweets of society, and the endearments of our friends and families, with a better relish—than when serious thoughts of death and eternity predominate in our mind. We should study—

    1. To have a practical belief in the future eternal states of both heaven and hell.

    2. Not to be much elated with prosperity.

    3. Not to be much dejected by adversity.

    4. To more and more be weaned from the world, and to have our conversation more and more in heaven.

    5. To have frequent meditations on death and eternity; and then, when death comes, we may be made, not only submissive to our dissolution—but long to depart, and be ravished in the prospect of our being forever with the Lord.

    JAMES MEIKLE 1730-1799
  9. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks Bob, that was touching.
  10. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior


    I was thinking the same thing. This has been very difficult news to follow as it always hurts to lose a brother or sister in Christ here below.

    God's grace be upon you and Gerry's family during your loss, Bob.
  11. Anton Bruckner

    Anton Bruckner Puritan Board Professor

  12. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Bob. A very close friend of mind died of brain cancer 5 years ago. He was only 56. So, I've been where you are. My friend was a Christian also, so, while grieving, I was able to also rejoice in that. "Grieving, but not like those who have no hope."
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Bob, that is very touching. May God touch you with the gentleness of His comforting hand at this time of grief!
  14. tellville

    tellville Puritan Board Junior

    Bob, thank you for this thread and your touching words.
  15. Raj

    Raj Puritan Board Sophomore

    "Thank you God for letting Gerry cross our path. Comfort those he left behind. Death is our enemy and so we weep. But not as those without hope."

    Amen. So touching words to read about our beloved brother.
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Saddened, but with a joy in Christ. No partings are forever between friends in Christ. He is just the advance party.
  17. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I hate separation. I haven't had to deal with death for quite a few years now. At least nine. I hope for Gerry's family goodness and mercy. I pray their sadness is not long lived. Heaven is looking brighter the older we get. I may be selfish but I like the No Tears Formula Heaven has to offer.

    Be Encouraged Bob. You are greatly loved.

    And Gerry will be missed.
  18. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Bob he sounds like a truly amazing person and reading your post about his life helped me to be even gladder for his joy, and for God's goodness in creating Him. I will pray for you and his wife and family. Thanks for posting this.
  19. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    Can someone find his last post here? It might be interesting. Thank God we'll see him again.
  20. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I wish I could've know him here.
    I'll wait for now, and greet him there.
  21. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

  22. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

  23. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    Bob, I grieve with you in the loss of your friend and pray for the Lord to comfort you and his family in the coming days. What a poignant tribute to your friend, and what a comfort to know you will see him again in glory. Blessings!
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Bob, that was a very good post on Gerry. Thank you for sharing that with us. And thank you for the good picture. Putting a face to Gerry's name adds another dimension to it. Again, thank you for sharing his testimony with us.
  25. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Bob, thank you for a amazing tribute of friendship. May the Lord bless you in your grief.
  26. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Thank you everyone. Deb was here at the house for a while last night and she was very moved by the outpouring of prayers and encouragement from the Puritan Board. Gerry really was a brilliant man but he didn't think so and never gave himself enough credit. He could have done just about anything. The saddest part is that he didn't believe that people would have much interest in him and this resulted in a lack of confidence. So it meant a lot to Deb and their son Christian to see so many messages literally coming from around the world. Thank you again.

    Much of what we find on the internet is a propped up illusion of what people wish was reality. The community here on the PB is a 'real community of faith' because it is empowered by the same Providence and Spirit that has moved, shaped and sustained the invisible church for two millennia. The Board isn't a utopia; it is vulnerable to the weaknesses that we sinners bring in through our keyboards, but it is surely part of our Lord's building plan when he said, "I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." The simple act of encouraging a wife in the midst of death's sting, and again stating the truth of the resurrection, is an open attack against Hell itself and it has no defense against it. Even in our simple words of support for a grieving family we occupy new land for the Kingdom. :amen:
  27. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    My condolences to Gerry's family and friends.

    "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." - Romans 8:18
  28. lwadkins

    lwadkins Puritan Board Junior

    A truly touching tribute Bob, thanks for taking the time to share it with us. May God show mercy to you and to Gerry's family through the comfort of His presence.
  29. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    Bob this was very well done thank you for sharing this with us!!
  30. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    I hardly ever look at the front page of the PB, so this is late coming...and words can't express...well, my words can't...for our dear brother:

    53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
    55"Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. -- 1 Corinthians 15

    And this is all our hope...

    16 ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.’ John 16

    Blessings, brother...
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