We moved to Indiana 16 years ago and lived next door to Joe and Carol. They have lived there for most of their 42 years of marriage. We grew to be very good friends.
We were shocked when we received a phone call a few days ago from another friend telling us Joe had died. During the last few years he had experienced some serious health problems.
He and I used to race to see who would mow their lawn first in the spring and last in the fall. He also liked our snow blower so he bought one like it. We worked to keep driveways cleared for those who needed help on our street. A couple of years ago his health had deteriorated enough that he could no longer do the snow blowing but he always made sure that I took care of the driveways of those on the street he was worried about. When we sold our house over a year ago it was obvious Joe and Carol were saddened that we were planning to move but gracious enough to wish us a great time on our RV adventure. Every time we are in town we make a point to see them and visit a while.
Joe was teaching and coaching in the athletic department at Taylor University and was a member of the town council when we moved to Indiana. Carol was the librarian for the elementary schools in the district. They both retired a few years ago.
The day we received the news of Joe’s passing was homecoming at Taylor University. He was being inducted into Taylor’s Athletic Hall of Fame. During the ceremony that morning he was surrounded by family, friends, coworkers and classmates. He was ecstatic to be honored in this way. After the ceremony he didn’t feel well so he went home to rest instead of staying for the homecoming football game. That afternoon he died of a heart attack in his home.
Today we attended his funeral and heard many aspects of his life that we did not know. He was a man who truly loved God, his family, his town, and his university. It was an honor to know him and we know the community will support Carol as she deals with his absence.
The cycle of life goes on regardless of where you live…some people do it with humility, conviction and style.