For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believed in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Robert E Dolan
October 1, 1926 – August 26, 2015
We got the sad and unexpected news yesterday: Diane’s dad had died probably sometime on Wednesday. He was 88 years old. Dad was a true gentleman. He always looked out for the needs of women and children. He was courteous and thoughtful. He held the door for people, dropped people off at the door, was keenly aware of potential dangers especially to children, and always had a solicitous attitude…except when his temper got the better part of him. That didn’t happen often, but it was at least a part of his personality.
Most often he was smiling, planning some fun escapade, or practical joke, playing pinochle, joking with the residents and staff at the Lutheran Senior Services apartment where he lived. He was quite independent and often enjoyed trips and outings that were organized there. More than anything, however, he loved his family. The photo above was taken at the reception following the funeral for his wife who died June 19, 2013. They had been married more than 60 years.
Memories of him with our children are very precious. He made something like a Flintstonemobile for them to play on when we visited, complete with tree-trunk wheels and rope steering. He loved little babies and came and spent time with us in Arkansas after our fourth child was born – taking over for Diane’s mom who had spent a week or more with us before he came. He would “steal” our boys’ plates or a morsel of food at the dinner table, or play croquet while he barbequed chicken. He had three wonderful daughters – Diane being the middle-born, Debbie, the oldest, and Gail the youngest. He took Diane to see Stan Musial play at the old Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, instilling a love for baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals in her.
He could look into your eyes with a look that revealed an intensity of faith, values, belief, and conviction that said, “Don’t you ever do that again!” He served in the US Army in WWII, and was on a ship ready to invade Japan right before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a faithful member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Charles, MO for many years, sending their three girls to the Christian Day School there through 8th grade. He did projects around the church and school, having served as a Trustee there. He loved his family deeply and was very proud of each of them for their own particular accomplishments.
His death hit me harder even than my own dad’s death (which we had seen coming for 7 months prior, some 30 years ago).
As good as he was, honorable, faithful, loving, and a man of conviction, he nevertheless needed a Savior – which he would never deny. He wanted to have Holy Communion more often at the LSS chapel where he lived. He was a regular at the weekly worship services there. He read Portals of Prayer or Living Hope daily – proud of his daughter Diane who regularly contributes devotions for the latter publication. The truth offered in each of those devotions, springs from the profound message of John 3:16. He believed in Jesus, and for that we are deeply thankful. For through faith in Jesus he now lives, and is with Jesus.
We will gather as a family for a memorial service later next month. We will sing hymns, read Scripture, pray, and rejoice in the hope of the resurrection and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. One thing will surely not happen – which I have not seen in person, but could certainly believe. We will not witness him slamming closed the hymnal because he can’t sing the tune or provide the harmony he loved if the organist varied from the standard four-part accompaniment!