My dear Father-in-law graduated to glory on Saturday evening, March 15, 2014. He was ready! He never wanted to be an invalid or as he said it, "in-valid". He worked hard to serve His Lord and he spent much of his time telling others about the peace and joy he found in his salvation.
When he left his worn out physical shack, he had his wife and six of his nine children with him. He had times of alertness during the last few days. He was able to acknowledge people and sometimes was able to say "yes" and "no". He lived a long full life. Those of us who were privileged to know him were blessed and encouraged.
His nickname growing up was "Sunny" and that he was. He always had a big grin on his face, unless he was grading his students homework or tests and they weren't doing well. That made him frustrated. He always was in combat with the administration who wanted everybody to pass. Bill just couldn't understand why he should pass someone who never did any work and only occasionally showed up. He was part of that WWII generation who understood that you did what was right no matter what the personal cost was, and not just what you 'felt' like doing. That was how he approached his own life and this caused him a lot of stress towards the end of his teaching career.
Dad really enjoyed all his grandchildren. He loved to play games with them and to be silly. He did insist that they follow the rules and get along, or he would put the game away. He loved making silly faces when someone took pictures and would turn his glasses upside down or stick his tongue out. I think he did it as much to tease Mom as anything. He loved to play physical games.
Kickball was his absolute favorite. Any time there were more than a half dozen adults or kids around he would try and get a game going.
He was never a grumpy old man. I found him to be more cheerful as the years passed. It was also sweet to see his and Mom's relationship grow closer as they aged. It was neat to see God continuing to work in his life. He desired to be an encouragement. He didn't always know the best ways to say things, but neither do I! He was faithful in praying for all his family and many others. I knew through the years that I could count on my in-laws praying for me! That is a blessing!!!! They also were always very supportive of us as a family. I know that we made decisions that they wondered about, but they never said a word of criticism and just kept praying. What an example!
Dad and I grew much closer in our relationship when he was here in Cleveland to have heart surgery. He had a number of complications and what was supposed to be a 4-6 week recovery ended up being about 5 months. I spent a lot of time with him at the hospital. We had a lot of good talks. With all the medications and illness, and time in the hospital, he sometimes was a little confused. One day he told the nurse that he had ten children, he only has nine, and I was thinking that he was confused again. But then he gave me a big grin and turned to the nurse and told her that these were two of his daughters (It was Debbie and I). He told me that he sometimes wondered about me, but I knew that he always prayed for me. His hearts desire was to share the gospel with all that he met, and especially with prisoners in jail. He held many many Bible Studies in prisons through the years. He will be missed.