Yesterday my dad, whom the kids called Granddad, went to be with the Lord at age 95. He was vigorous, cheerful, fun-loving, and strong to the end. And though the end caught us by surprise, I don’t think it surprised him. He was ready. He leaves an older sister, a younger brother, four children, fourteen grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, and my dear mother. We will all catch up to him in due time, Lord willing.
My earliest memories of my dad involve play. He invented games for us and had no end of patience when it came to balancing us on his hands and playing silly games. Bedtime was always a party. He took trouble to see that we kids were having fun, and planning trips and explores were his specialty.
He was a pilot, and he loved to “bore holes.” I remember the thrill of getting to unpack his B4 bag when he got home from trips. It was full of zippers and pockets, and there was always something for us in those pockets. I couldn’t help but think of that old gospel hymn today: “When I die, hallelujah by and by, I’ll fly away!” Dad flew away yesterday.
He taught us kids to water ski when I was 9 or 10 years old. He got out in the water with us, and came up with his skis outside ours, holding on to the same rope. Then once he thought we had the hang of it, he would drop off and let us solo. That’s how he did things. Boating, snowmobiling, pulling a trailer around the country on camping trips. He loved it all. Especially the water.
Dad was a real character, full of stories. He loved a joke and was such a tease. Doug saved up jokes to swap with him when we would visit. Corny jokes! He had a wonderful big laugh. When my mother-in-law Bessie was visiting one time, he was going to give her a ride somewhere and told her he would go get out the motorcyle. Of course he was teasing, but he had her mighty worried! She recounted that story to us many times.
He was faithful and devoted to my mom. He worked hard, he loved his kids, and he loved the Lord. He read to Mom out of their daily devotional every morning, and I have no doubt he did not skip it yesterday. Once, between waking and sleeping, he thought he had a foretaste of heaven. He was looking through a crack between slats or boards, and he could see a glorious paradise like nothing on earth. It was just for a moment, and then it was gone.
He was a do-it-yourself kind of man. When he was a boy, his dad had him take a car engine completely apart and put it back together again. He built the house he died in. He could fix just about anything. And he loved to figure things out.
Dad knew how to manage his money. He never spent more than he had, and he left behind no debts. But he was generous, always looking for ways to help needy folks. I don’t know how many times he slipped me a check as I went out the door, and I was not the only recipient of his generosity.
He was full of theological questions, looking forward to the day when he would understand it all. Evolution was his pet peeve, annoyed him no end!
He loved Logos School and was a faithful supporter from the early days, contributing in countless ways to make it succeed. He took an interest in all we were doing, always a participant, never a bystander.
He loved his grandkids and delighted in showing them a good time, building a zip line for them on his property, giving them rides on the motorcycle or in the bucket of his tractor. He loved to see them have fun.
I will miss my dad. He was a rock, and that isn’t just a metaphor. He has left us a large legacy of stories and story-loving which I hope my grandchildren will treasure up for their children. Even at our last visit, he told us a story we had never heard, and he was a great story teller.
What a blessing he has been to and for us, our children and grandchildren. I thank God for his life and for his death, and trust that he is surprised at the size of his bank account in heaven. We are the richer for our time with him. God bless you, Dad!
Lawrence Aubry Greensides, R.I.P.