A Tribute to My Dad

A Tribute to My Dad

My father died on January 15, 2013 at the age of 74, a little over a year after being diagnosed with cancer. I wrote this about him and used it as the basis for my tribute to him at his funeral.

I had a great dad.

When you’re young, every little boy thinks his dad can do anything. But, as I got older I realized that in my dad’s case it was true. He was one of the most talented men I’ve ever known.

The Lord gifted him with a mind that could figure things out and I never knew him apply himself to a problem or something that needed fixing or something he wanted to build where he didn’t figure it out.

The variety of things he learned to do over the years is amazing. And not just to do them, but to excel at them. He learned to repair watches and became the one at his office who fixed the mechanical time pieces they used during that era. After watching the farrier shoe horses at my grandparents’ barn, he thought “I can do that” – and he was right. And so he learned to shoe horses.

He also learned photography even winning a couple of contests. He built a darkroom in our basement when I was a kid and learned to develop his own film. He learned to build furniture. We still have a beautiful doll cradle he made for our daughter when she was small.

After he retired he pursued a life-long dream and learned to fly an airplane and most recently he learned how to reload ammunition. And every one of these things, with the exception of flying a plane, he taught himself.

Even more than his talent, however, was the way he used it. Sure he enjoyed all these things but there was more to it than that. He saw his skills as a way to serve others. In fact, I think that’s the way dad showed his love to others best – through acts of service.

I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I asked him to help with some project whether it was a home repair issue or a pinewood derby car for the boys, he would always make time to help.

Over the years we’ve installed at least two hot water heaters, two dishwashers, a stove, a microwave, a toilet, put up wall paper, painted, tiled a back splash and installed ceiling fans and crown molding.  In fact the last thing he helped me do was work on some crown molding for our upstairs bath. We needed some decorative molding boxes for the corners and he said “don’t go buy them; they’ll cost you $8 or $10 each. I’ll just make you some.” And he did and they were nicer than anything I could have bought.

And, not just for me. My sister could tell of the many times he helped her and her family as well. He also did this for people in the extended family, for friends, anyone who needed his help; he was willing to use his God-given talents to help others. This is one of the many ways he was a godly example for my sister and me and for his grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.

He was also a godly example in the way he treated my mother.  For almost 53 years he was a faithful husband, generous and loving, caring for her in sickness and in health until they were parted, just as he promised. His biggest worry in his final days was not for himself but for mom. He told me several times while he still could “look after your mother.”  And of course I promised him that I would.

So like I said, I had a great dad.

But more important than that, my dad had a great Savior.

Dad loved the Lord and he loved the Word of God and he loved to teach the Word of God. His hope was not in the things of this world but in Christ, the One who created the world. And because of that, even though we’re sad and we grieve, we don’t as the Apostle Paul said; grieve as those who have no hope.

The evening before he died, I was able to sit by his bed and read to him from the scriptures. I don’t know if he was able to hear me but my prayer is that he was and that he was comforted by the words he knew so well. The last passage I read to him is also one of the last in all of scripture – Revelation 21:1-7:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Dad has overcome. He has finished the race.

I love him and I’ll miss him – especially the next time something around the house breaks – but I’m so thankful for the years God graciously gave me with him and for the knowledge that one day, because we serve the same Lord, I’ll see him again – in a place where nothing is ever broken.

14 Replies to “A Tribute to My Dad”

  1. Reading this reminded me of the passing of my mother just over a month ago, Dec 13, 2012. She was 92, and I had the privilege of sitting with her the last 3 days of her life, and actually holding her hand as she went from this world directly into the presence of her Lord and Saviour whom she served for so many years as a missionary and later as a pastor’s wife.
    What a blessing to hear her pray just a day before she went and to have those times together. As in your case, they are memories that will remain a lifetime – I know, I still remember being with my dad when he died 19 years ago.
    As my mom’s pastor, I also had to preach her funeral service. That was hard, but knowing she was now with Christ, it was also a great blessing.
    God bless you in your time of loss and make those memories of your dad grow more precious as the years go by.

    1. Thanks so much Jonathan. I was sitting by my dad’s bed holding his hand as well when he passed into the Lord’s presence. As you say, we miss our loved ones but what a blessing to know they are with the Lord. God bless you as you serve Him!

  2. My Daddy died last Friday (27th June 2014)
    He was also a christian. That’s what is keeping me going, knowing that he is in the arms of Jesus.
    My family and I found out he had liver cancer on the 26th June, the next day he was dead. The night before he died, I held his hand and sang songs about Jesus to him. I fed him water with a sponge. I will never forget that.

    It was devastating tome that the man that I saw as so strong, the man that could fix anything, couldn’t fix himself. That breaks my heart.

    I miss him.

    On the morning he died, my mum and two of my aunts were with him. He hadn’t opened his eyes that morning and wasn’t responsive.
    They prayed with him and started singing christian songs. His eyes opened. He put out his hand for my mum to hold. She held it.

    My aunt was praying for him to get up and not leave us but he shook his head. I think he was just so tired and wanted to be with Jesus. His breathing started to slow down. Then he was gone…

    My oldest sister and I missed him by 30 seconds. I was devastated. I miss him…

    My dad taught me to follow Christ. My dad was a prayerful man. My dad loved Jesus and spent more time in prayer weeks before he died. In a strange way, I think he knew he was going…

    I miss him…

    I love you Daddy. Rest! Rest in the arms of our loving saviour xx

    1. Thanks so much for the comment Sarah. I’m sorry for your loss. As you say, however, for the believer, our loss is our loved ones gain as they rest peacefully in the arms of Christ and one day we will see them again!

  3. Hi Larry,

    I lost my Dad on the 17th of December 2013. We were very close and though I live in another town and was unable to be there when he passed pain and shock were so much I thought I would never recover but a series of events that occurred before and after his death culminating in my discovery of your beautiful tribute while searching for ideas on what to write enabled me get back on my feet and take charge.
    I used your write up as the basis of my tribute and even as I write cannot read your tribute without tears especially my favorite – ”And because of that, even though we’re sad and we grieve, we don’t as the Apostle Paul said; grieve as those who have no hope.”

    Thank you for writing what my heart was saying but i could not articulate because of grief. Thank you for the comfort and strength I was able to draw from these words. May the Lord continually make his face to shine upon you and give you peace on all sides in Jesus’ name.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Emmanuel. I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray the Lord will continue to comfort you as you serve Him and await the day when you will see Him face to face and are reunited with your father. What a day that will be for all of us!

  4. My daddy died on April 2007..and through Gods help, i survived though it was not that easy. .but God helped me..just continuously trust in God..he will make you a wonder….be “richly blessed”

  5. My father passed away 2 months ago. I miss him terribly . I am still finding it very difficult living without him. He was the most humble person I ever knew. He went through so much of physical pain but he never complained. He fought right until the end. It’s really unimaginable to think that he really is gone, sometimes I wake up in the morning and think that this was all a dream and I go looking for him. I know that I will meet in heaven one day as Jesus has pripromised us, that is the only comfort that I have to keep on living.

  6. I’m sad that I didn’t have the opportunity of publishing my tribute to my late father just like you did here He died in december 1999. May God give you the grace to get over it.

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