Remembering With Joy And Grace

As many of you know, my 95 year-old grandpa went to be with the Lord a couple of weeks ago. Some have asked about his life; what he did, what my memories are of him...and so I am writing this post, a bit jumbled at times, as I look back at my grandpa and his life.

He was born on July 3rd, 1917, in Plainview, Texas. He was the second of five children; below you can see him with the blonde hair and bowl cut.

He was called to be a pastor at an early age, so after high school he attended Denver Bible Institute, Omaha Bible Institute, and York College. He was first a pastor in Tilden, Shelby, and Creighton, Nebraska (Creighton was where my dad was born), and then in Denver, Colorado.

He and my grandmother then moved the family, which was now a family of four after my aunt was added, to southern California. He served at a church in Boron and then was the pastor of Grace Bible Church in Rialto. This is where I first remember him.

I was the first grandchild....

It was probably when I was at about the age in the photo below that my grandpa started a game with me. He would pretend that there was a flea named Oswald that was his pet; Oswald would come and sit on my shoulder, or hop onto my knee.....we had all sorts of fun pretending we saw Oswald and making stories up about where he was.

In my mind's eye, this is how I still see my grandparents.

Here they are with their four grandchildren, my sister and two cousins. All girls.

In Rialto, I remember they lived close to a train crossing. My grandpa would hold me up when a train was coming so I could see it over the fence in the backyard.

I also remember listening to him preach at church, and then when the service was finished he would stand in the back and greet everyone as they were leaving. The grandchildren would always stand with him so we could meet people too.

Below you can see one of my absolute favorite memories with my grandparents....making popcorn balls. Grandma would even wrap them up and give them to us as Christmas gifts. We loved it.

From the looks of the photo below I'll bet this is Christmas. And see my grandpa at the head of the table? That is where he always sat, and after every dinner at their house he would read a passage of scripture and a selection from Our Daily Bread.

This was in 1984, on the special day when my grandpa baptized me.

In the late 1980's, grandma and grandpa moved to Santa Rosa, where he became the counseling pastor at Santa Rosa Bible Church.

Other memories I have....grandpa always had a study with his big desk and a typewriter in it. When we would visit, I would sit at his desk and open the drawers to find the ever-present Tic-Tacs, type notes on his typewriter, and look at all the pens, erasers and odds and ends in the drawers.

And if it was in the winter time, in the morning grandpa would have started a fire in the living room, and would still have wood shavings on his pants.

In 1991, he spoke at my homeschooling graduation. You can see me in my purple hat and robe below, sitting in the front row with the four other students.

In 1996, my Sweetie and I asked my grandpa to marry us. And so he did, in a lovely ceremony.

In 1997, we celebrated his 80th birthday with the whole family.

I look back at this photo and see everyone together....we had no way of knowing that in the next two years, heaven would gain both my mom and my grandma.

In the early 2000 decade he was still pastoring at the church, but had more free time to visit. Here he is at our house on Bookworm's 2nd birthday.

Life began to get harder for him. He was getting older, living by himself, caring for the a few times a year we would come out and do some yard work for him, clean the house, and visit.

This was when I started seeing the next generation learning things from grandpa....he got out his saw and wood tools and showed Mr. Lego how to do a couple of things.

And as I had done years before, my little girls sat on his lap after dinner when he read the Bible.

Life gets even harder, and so finally he packed up his things and went to live with my Aunt in Oregon.

He came down here for visits, and he loved to talk on the phone. But it was hard to see him age and become more frail.

We went up to Oregon once a year and were happy to see year his sister made it out for our family reunion. (She was the little girl in the old photo at the top.)

And this last year we were delighted to have him come to our house for a visit; we knew it was probably the last time and cherished the moment.

And then of course this last trip up to Oregon....his health was failing and we knew his time left on earth was short.

Grandpa and his children.....

...with and his grand-children...

 ...and his nine great-grandchildren.

Every time we would leave his house to go home we would hear the familiar words, "Let's have a word of prayer before you go." And this last visit was no exception.

On August 30th, 2012 he finally went home.

When I look back over his life, with my memories and the photos, I think of two things: Joy and Grace.

I think back to my growing up years with joy; so many fun memories at their house. Christmases, other holidays, climbing trees in the backyard, playing in his study....good memories which make me so thankful. What a blessing it was to have had Christian parents and grandparents!

I also think of my grandparents influence on me and my family, and the importance they gave to God's Word and spending time worshiping Him. What grace God has bestowed on our family!  All of these blessings and joys, that we take for granted so much of the time, are undeserved; only by His grace can we have such riches in this life.

 I  think of where my grandpa is today and I am so joyful. His body is perfect, he is rejoicing with our Lord, and is finally home. And now truly knows how much Jesus has done for him, in grace.

When my dad called to tell me the news of his promotion, this hymn started running through my mind.

When this passing world is done, when has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory, looking over life's finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know, not till then how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne, dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art, love thee with un-sinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know, not till then how much I owe.

My grandpa, is standing before the holy throne and is perfectly worshiping the Creator. 

What joy! 

What amazing grace.


  1. This is beautiful Char!:) Thank you.

  2. Oh Charlotte,

    This is a beautiful tribute!! I am sorry for your loss, but it is truly heaven's gain. Hugs friend!

    Love you!

  3. Absolutely Lovely.
    I am sorry for your temporary loss and glad you will spend eternity together!

  4. My goodness, Charlotte. Warn people that they will need tissue before reading this one :)
    What a beautiful tribute to your Grandpa! I love the legacy and godly heritage he's left behind.
    This was such a sweet post and yes, made me cry quite a bit.
    Thank you.

  5. What a beautiful post Charlotte! So many precious memories! I love how your Grandpa not only baptized you, but was able to marry you and J also - so wonderful. And the Oswald story made me laugh because it sounds very much like the sorts of things my Grandpa would joke with us kids about. :)

  6. Charlotte, I was in his congregation in Boron, CA as a teenager. I lived close to your grandparents, so I knew most all of you. I loved Narine and Bro. Garland. They taught me so much about the Lord. I am so grateful for their godly lives. Thank you for this tribute to him. So your comments of grace and joy describe how I feel about them too! I will be praying for all of the family. Patty (Williams) Howell


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