Update on L.'s Trip for Grandfather's Death

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Sonya shared this about a week ago: http://www.puritanboard.com/f22/my-grandfather-s-final-days-update-died-am-25653/ {viewable only by Regular Members}

Things are well. We flew from Okinawa to Pittsburgh over about 27 hours. The kids did as well as can be expected. Sonya did well considering her stage in pregnancy. We were very blessed by some kind people who gave up aisle seats to take middle seats so we could sit with our children.

The viewing occurred on Tuesday. Virginia, his wife, was there. She was cogent but is still recovering her ability to form words. Very strong grip. What sorrow it was to watch her grieve for her husband.

The number of men and women of all ages that came to view Joe that day was a testimony to the man's life. There wasn't a single man that Joe had ever made an enemy of. He had worked at the steel mills in Pittsburgh after leaving the Marines following WWII and, after working the night shift, drove a bus for disabled children. Joe would carry many of them to the bus. Every summer he would have a big picnic on his property and give the kids hay rides. His nephew told my father-in-law that he would do anything for Uncle Joe. You see he was the oldest boy and only 11 when his father died but Joe would be there every time his mom asked to help around the house. He took care of his family.

The funeral occurred on Wednesday. The minister was PCUSA but gave a powerful testimony of the Gospel and that all should have hope because Joe was a believer in Jesus Christ. He noted that Joe was an honorable man but he was very distinct in preaching that Joe's hope beyond the grave was his faith in Christ.

We drove to the gravesite and military honors were rendered by the Beaver County Ceremonial unit. What a class act of retired men and women that took time out of the middle of the week to render honors with a color guard and firing detail.

It was perhaps the greatest honor of my military career to go to the hospital the next day. Sadly, his wife Virginia couldn't be at the funeral. I had brought my uniform and I presented her the flag that had draped Joe's coffin. Three spent cartridges from the military honors were within the folded flag.

I told her that Marines want to return men and women as better citizens than when they join. In Joe's case it seems we had little work to do. He was a man that had left a great legacy. I told her that, as I heard the countless stories testifying of Joe's character, I thought: "Behold, an Israelite without guile." I thought, surely, this must be a fruit of the Holy Spirit and that she should have every confidence that Joe is in heaven because he trusted in Christ.

Still much to do but it has been a blessing to be a part of this mourning process. Death is an enemy but has a way of waking you up to the battle at hand. I'm gratified that the family grieves but many as those with hope. It is my prayer that the unbelievers in the family will reflect on the week's events and take stock of what is important.

Joe knew what was important and lived his life in light of it.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Thanks for posting this Rich. Your family was uplifted in prayer. Praise God for a man who has run the race well.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
That was very thoughtful of you Rich to deliver the flag to her with honors. Very moving scene. Thanks for the update.
 
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