Jack and Lois were my best friend’s parents when I was growing up, and they made a huge impact on me during those critical teenage years. Like Saul and Jonathan, Jack and Lois “were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided” (2 Samuel 1:23). Their daughter Brenda has always been one the the sweetest, “goodest” people I’ve ever known, so when we were growing up, our shenanigans were fairly harmless, but even during our worst faux pas, such as when we’d both get in trouble for staying out later than was wise, neither her parents nor my parents ever had the heart to “ground” us from being together…sensing that no crime was so terrible as to condemn us to separation, which would have been a fate worse than death! I mean, we were so inseparable that her grandma got us both summer jobs working as waitresses at Woolworth’s, and we did crazy things—like make pacts to fall down any time we saw the other person fall on a ski slope so we’d both look dumb, or, when we were too shy to invite the guys we most admired for a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dinner at our church, she invited the guy I liked, and I the guy she liked…and we double dated. We used to say that “boyfriends come and go, but a good girlfriend lasts forever” (forget the diamonds)! All the while, Brenda’s parents were in the background, setting an example of a harmonious marriage and allowing their daughter (who had a pretty well developed sense of appropriate demeanor already) hang out incessantly with a crazy teenager who was a new believer and hadn’t a clue what a “meek and quiet spirit” looked like. Brenda’s dad used to call me “black eyes” because I wore too much mascara, but he’d always make me laugh and never really hurt my feelings…while still nudging me in the direction of wisdom. When Brenda turned 16, her dad gave her an adorable little blue Corvair convertible, but I don’t remember him ever complaining about how much gas we burned “dragging main” (driving down our little town’s main street) with Brenda’s darling 3-year-old little sister planted in the back seat, trained by us (secretly) to wave at all the cute boys. I look back now and cringe sometimes at how immature and untaught I was, but that makes me all the more in awe of Brenda’s nurturing parents. We had so much fun together! Brenda’s parents even took us out to Dog and Suds for dinner (for real? I wouldn’t be caught dead going out with my parents at that age)…and I loved it! Sometimes on a Friday, we’d spend the night with her grandparents, “Ma” and “Pa,” in their cabin on the St. Mary’s River. Pa had ridden with the infamous Chicago gangster, Al Capone, but was miraculously converted, and when Bren and I would wake up in the morning on Saturday, we’d see Ma in the kitchen making breakfast while Pa sat at the table reading his Bible and praying. For a teenager whose father told her that “no intelligent man would ever believe the Bible,” Pa’s quiet faith and kindness gave me hope for someday finding a godly husband who wasn’t “dumb.” Well, Brenda and I have remained fast friends for 50+ years, and though I rarely saw her parents, I continued to hear of their steadfast faith and charity, their tireless hospitality and work, and Lois’ ministry as the director of Child Evangelism Fellowship in the Eastern U.P. They were healthy well into their 80’s, but this past year Jack developed pronounced dementia, and just recently, Lois was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They were very ready to go home to heaven, but…they waited patiently for the Lord to take them. Jack died and went home to be with the Lord at the end of September, and Lois passed away (and on to join him) less that two weeks later! Isn’t that sweet? I stand amazed at God’s tender care for these two, who were so faithful to each other for over 60 years. They were beautiful in life…and in death!
“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).
“God looked around his garden,
And found an empty space.
Then he looked down upon this earth, and saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you,
And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful,
He only takes the best❤ Rest in peace Grandma.”
(All the pictures [except for the B+W from the 70’s]
and the poem are from Brenda’s FB page, used by permission.)