By Del Duduit
How will you be remembered when you die?
This question hit home over the weekend after a dear friend suddenly passed away. Bob had been sick – but he was not expected to die so quickly. In fact, we all thought he was going to come home from The Ohio State University James Cancer Center and be back to church soon.
Instead, Bob was buried in our church cemetery under a crisp and chilly Sunday afternoon blue sky.
Bob was a man’s man. He was a golfing buddy of mine and a true patriot. He was a Green Beret who fought in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was a trustee at church and a Sunday School teacher. He was a volunteer firefighter. He was a former softball coach. But all of these trademarks took a backseat to his most important roles as a husband, father, grandfather and a friend to all who knew him. He was anywhere you needed him to be.
His passing made me ponder my own legacy.
When it comes my time to go, will I have nearly 2,000 people come to my visitation as Bob did? Will there be over 600 people come to my funeral like Bob’s? In all of my years, I have never seen such a large number of people turn out for a visitation and funeral. That spoke loudly to me.
Will my legacy be passed down like Bob’s? I hope I still have time left in my life to make a legacy half as strong as his.
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.” Psalms 103:17 KJV
I wish you could have known him. This blog will not do justice, nor will I be able to get into the hundreds of Bob stories that are out there. He was one-of-a-kind.
Bob was the epitome of the word “encourager” and the ultimate family man.
“He was always the first person up on stage after I preached to tell me what a great job I did,” my assistant pastor Brian told me. “He was by far the greatest encourager I have ever met. I will miss his big smile.”
And Bob was always there for anyone who needed something — anything. He drove several miles one day when Brian called to let him know their heating unit was not working. Bob taught heating and air conditioning at a local vocational school, so off he went. When Bob got to Brian’s house, he fixed the unit by a simple flip of a switch. It took 10 seconds.
“I felt embarrassed, but Bob didn’t mind,” Brian said with a laugh. “He told me he was thankful it wasn’t something serious, and then he drove back home with a smile.”
And there were dozens of times he helped me and Angie over the past 30 years of our marriage. Angie grew up across the street from Bob and Denise. He has been in Angie’s life longer than I have.
I have fond memories of chasing ducks with him through his creek and shooting fireworks off with him on the 4th of July. We also played many rounds of golf together.
Bob had a way with words and an endearing way of poking fun. If he called you “a big dummy,” that meant he loved you. I always heard those words from him and knew he loved me.
His positive attitude made everyone else around him happy. Bob didn’t look at things with a half empty or half full attitude. Instead, everything was always full, according to Brian.
Jeff, a preacher in our church, spoke at the funeral about the influence Bob had on him in high school as his teacher. “I am a Christian today because of Bob,” Jeff said. “He showed me I can live for the Lord and be a man at the same time, and stand for things.”
Bob had a great sense of humor and rock-hard abs. He could fix anything and loved to eat – especially shrimp. He was not a big man but famously put down over 80 shrimp at a golf outing one time — which did not help his game – nothing did. But he loved playing because he loved being around the guys. He was a hunter and fisherman and loved going out west on trips. He also loved spending time in his garden.
But most of all, Bob loved his family more than anything else. He was a natural grandfather. He leaves behind a wonderful wife, two daughters, sons-in-law and seven grandchildren who idolized him.
Now comes the healing – and it’s not easy. I lost my father when I was 30, and I still have days when I miss him terribly. But that’s where the church comes in and helps. That’s where the Word of God comes in and eases the pain. That’s when being a Christian is the only way to handle death.
“Blessed by God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” II Corinthians 1:2,3 KJV
God not only comforts us by His spirit and Word but with friends and family.
“What you see here today is the result of a man who loved God,” my pastor Cal Ray told me after the burial. “Bob loved the Lord and his family and has passed down a wonderful legacy for his family and friends to follow. This is what family is truly about. We rally around each other when we are hurting.”
This blog cannot come close to describe Bob and the lasting imprint his life had on others. But it can do what Bob always did every day — it can encourage.
It can encourage the reader to evaluate your life and realize without God, there is no hope. It can encourage the reader to start a legacy of faith if they don’t already have one. Bob’s family is assured they will see him again. That is hope. That is a wonderful thing to have during times like these.
Will you get to see Bob? Do you have hope you will go to Heaven?
What will your legacy be after you die?
Please tell me about it.