Please welcome Teresa Shelton Brooker, a dear friend from our first six years in Florida.
The photo above is from a Finnish cemetery. I took the photo while in Lahti for the 2009 Masters Track & Field World Championships.
Every Nationality struggles and rejoices at the same human conditions. Some better than others. But not because of their Nationality, but because of their spirit.
As you will read in a moment, our life lights the world…the brightness is up to us.
Take it away Teresa:
My husband and I recently attended the funeral of a 73 year old man we have known for about 11 years who was killed in a car accident. We first met Gene and his wife, Betty, in a Sunday School class. One thing you knew about him from the moment you met him was that he had a wonderful sense of humor. He had an infectious smile and you always came away smiling yourself after talking with him. He was a humble servant who would go to great lengths to make others laugh. He always had a joke to tell. He was the head of our Deacon Board, serving our church by meeting people’s needs whenever they arose. He was like our own Red Skelton, he was that humble and that funny. It’s a rare combination.
Gene and Betty have two daughters and a son. They are all married with families of their own, giving them a total of 10 grandchildren. The church was packed with those whose lives were touched in some way by Gene’s presence. We cried over the family’s great loss, but we laughed too, because that’s the legacy Gene left behind. His son is the spitting image of his dad. His first words were, “I’m Gene’s son, in case you missed the resemblance”. He obviously inherited his father’s great sense of humor and used it to encourage the rest of us. He said that the greatest gift his father ever gave him was a love for the church. His son is a pastor near Toledo. Gene didn’t do this by trying to convince his children to love the church, he did it by example, by serving joyfully and faithfully. Gene had pastored several churches before “retiring” and opening a daycare with Betty. His son stated that he’d never heard his father utter a negative word about the church. In the years that we knew Gene, Betty had undergone many physical problems that required him to be her caregiver. He never complained and when they were together, they were two lovebirds. They would have celebrated their 50th anniversary next summer. He set a great example for all of us and left a great legacy for his family.
We went to the funeral to be an encouragement to his family. I don’t know if we were an encouragement to them, but we came away greatly encouraged. If laughter is the best medicine, Gene could’ve been a doctor because he gave it in large doses, even in death. One of the speakers said that he heard that God was crying in Heaven upon Gene’s arrival, but not from sadness, Gene was telling him another joke. ”