He was born in a small Southern town and always held a job. Taught the value of a dollar by his parents early in life, he learned through his numerous after school jobs that it was so much easier to spend money than make it, and the lesson stuck in later life. When he started college at a prestigious school, he really was unsure what he wanted to do with his life and after two years opted to go in the military, allowing himself to really determine his calling. He served honorably in Korea in the Signal Corps in the 1950s and then, after completing his hitch, went back to school on the GI bill.
Now he knew what he wanted to be: a Professional Engineer, an Electrical Engineer to be specific. And while he didn't apply himself to math so much in high school, he now put his life in high gear and mastered his studies. Upon graduation, he began employment as a contractor at a large private shipbuilding firm, gaining excellent practical experience and learning the ropes of corporate politics. He enjoyed his work but wanted to move back closer to his hometown and after several years found a challenging engineering job nearby.
He worked in this large production facility for many years, only changing jobs once when the company was sold. His analytical and problem solving skills were magnificent, but he also had quite a sense of humor. He enjoyed the art of the "gentle tease", convincing someone that something was when it was not. He was good at selling such matters, only giving away his position by a slight smile with his twinkling eyes. By that time, it was obvious that he "got ya", and all just had a good laugh.
He raised two wonderful and independent boys. One became a scientist, the other a law enforcement officer. They were each different but they were both brought up as good Christian men and they loved their dad dearly. He and his wife were unassuming but firm in their values and they both always stood for eternal truth.
In his later years and being separated from him by many miles, I didn't see him as often as I used to, but we carried on an email or phone conversation almost daily. I always looked forward to talking with him because I could run any idea I had by him and he would always offer great advice, whether it be on a matter of life or just a story line. He was closer to me than any brother could be and I will miss his fellowship very much but I know that he is now under the wing of Our Lord and Savior and resting easy.
Being a Southerner and a lover of barbeque, he always had to watch his diet because of his health issues. Somehow I just know that he is sitting up in Heaven looking down at us with a smile as he devours a wonderful barbeque sandwich. All of the pain, limitations and suffering of this world are now gone for you, my friend, and I know you are enjoying it.
His wife, a wonderful woman and good Christian who is also close to my heart, is today sad I am sure but as she told me last night, he didn't suffer and he's in a better place. I will make sure and stay in close touch with her as I am sure her loving sons will do as well. And one day all of us will be together for that great big barbeque dinner in the sky with the One who made us and loves us.
Why did I tell this story about a man who will not be in the history books and lived a simple life? I did so because he represents the true Spirit of America, a spirit that combines that Spirit of 1776 with the Holy Spirit to make the American experiment grow. And since the primary duty of parents is to raise good moral children, no one ever did a better job than my friend. So I hope you will take this story to heart and use it to help you redouble your effort to bring the Spirit back to America.
Farewell, Old Friend, enjoy your newly found freedom from pain, suffering and all thing that a human body restricts, and I will see you again one day when my time is up on this earth. And what a glorious reunion it will be for all of us.
Thank you, Lord, for having given me the privilege of knowing and loving this good friend and for the positive impact he had on all who knew him. He was truly a good man. And now God, he's in your hands. Look after him and please let him know how much he is missed. In Jesus' name, Amen.
And God bless America. Happy Birthday.