Loey Pell graduated from home to heaven this week at the tender age of 91. She was one of those rare, almost ethereal saints who lived from birth until near death in the same home. The youngest of 10 children and one of six sisters who never married but lived together with their brother Will, using their singleness to give them more time to focus on ministering to others. This remarkable family started several wonderful ministries, including Gospel Folio Press and Rest Haven Homes, where both my parents and Alan’s Aunt Annie spent their last years. Just to give you a feel for the quality of care this home provides, when my mother moved in (after breaking her hip and with advanced Alzheimer’s), I asked her how she liked being there. “I like it; it’s safe.” My dad joined her a few years later, and I asked him, “How are they treating you?” With a bright smile he responded, “If anything, they’re too good to me!” That speaks volumes both for Rest Haven and for Lois’s oversight.
Alan spent 10 years on the board of Rest Haven with Lois, and Alan and I spent 10 years serving the medical needs of the folks there. I was really disappointed when Alan’s full-time job became so demanding that we had to give up our little Tuesday afternoon clinic. I felt blessed every week. You can never out-give God!
John Bjorlie (among others) spoke about Loey. He mentioned many of her strengths and then (with a twinkle in his eye) went on to list some of her weaknesses: she was too believing, too forgiving, too gracious, too kind…you get the picture! People sometimes took advantage of her goodness. But, can you ever be too much like the Master?!
I’ll tell you my two favorite stories about her. They may be little known, because they’re my own, but they’re very indicative of the type of person she was. Shortly after we moved to GR, she discovered that I loved flowers and so invited me over to dig out all the little volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes I wanted! I think we have about 10 now blooming here and there around our yard each August as a constant reminder of how Lois’s love sprouted many new affections in others. Also, once when our oldest three boys were teenagers, Lois drove them somewhere. Now, mind you, she was probably already in her late 70’s or early 80’s. She got behind an “elderly” lady who was traveling below the speed limit, but Lois, as always, was in a hurry! She waved her hand in the air and declared, “Sleep at home, lady! We do!” She was not only a grand person, she was a total character too! So, we will all miss her, but I bid her a fond farewell with her own words, knowing that she is at last sleeping at home in her eternal haven of rest!
“Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalm 107:30)