October 25, 1998 was a day that changed my life forever! After spending the evening with my parents the night before, the long drive home and being five months pregnant at the time with our first child I was easily exhausted, so Tom & I were sleeping in on that crisp autumn morning eleven years ago when the phone rang, it was my youngest brother Kevin saying that our Dad's heart had stopped and to get to Ashland as fast as we could. When we arrived at the hospital my middle brother Wayne came to me crying, he gave me hug and told me that Daddy was gone, I looked around and saw my oldest brother Steve comforting his eight year old daughter, I felt like I would fall to the ground then I saw my Mom and I lost it. You see my Mom & Dad had a marriage that was truly made in heaven, the love that they shared for each other was like no other, they were in the prime of their lives, they both were 55, Daddy had semi-retired, they were traveling all over the world on fabulous vacations and were building their dream home on the coast of Florida when this horrible tragedy struck. He was a kind, thoughtful, intelligent and wonderful man who helped so many people in his short time on this earth, he was always the first to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need, to churches or to help missionaries around the globe who needed vehicles or Bibles for their congregation. As a true testament to his character he did these things and much more anonymously, he never wanted recognition for his generosity which only assures me of what I all ready knew about him, that he was indeed a man of God. He was a powerful presence in our family and is missed everyday in so many ways by all of us. I look at my children and wish that he could see them and that they would've known their grandfather.
It's amazing to me how time goes on even when you think that it couldn't possibly without the people that you love the most. During the past eleven years our family has welcomed five new grandchildren, his youngest son has served in Iraq for a year and is leaving in a few weeks to serve another tour, the older grandchildren he knew are graduating from high school and starting their lives at college, Mom still mourns him everyday but has learned to smile and enjoy life again. I'm thankful that we are able to heal and move on but in everything that we do he's always in our hearts and on our minds.