I originally posted this on my previous blog, My Life Commentary, when my grandpa passed away two years ago. I recently decided to revisit it as I thought about his birthday coming up, and it was a heartwarming reminder of the man he was and who I want to be, too. I pray God will help me take on some of these attributes my grandpa was known for during his 106 years of life.

While I’m glad my grandpa is home and no longer confined to his failing body, I’ll miss him and fondly remember the time I was fortunate to know him, as well as the examples he set for me about who I want to be.

Grandpa’s love for people

He loved everyone around him, and would often strike up a conversation with whomever he happened to be sitting next to on a bench or nearby at a park. And this carried through to coworkers, friends, and family. He was genuinely interested in the others, putting them at ease. People felt loved in the way he interacted with them.

Black and white photo of man and woman laughing together

Grandpa’s sense of humor

He had a great sense of humor! It was never mean towards others, but found the entertaining amusement in funny situations, clever word play, or silly faces. 

One of the best pieces of marriage advice he and my grandma gave to my parents–which they passed on to me–was to have a sense of humor.

Grandpa’s natural curiosity 

My grandpa was always learning! He wanted to know how things worked. He was always checking out books from the library (even at 106 years old!), reading everything he could, playing around with new technology, and sharing the cool things he learned with others. 

He was especially interested in electronics, cars, and trains. And he remembered everything! For his 90th birthday we went to a car museum in Danville and he ended up sharing all sorts of details he remembered reading about these cars from the ‘20s and ‘30–even the docent didn’t know all of the specifics he recalled!

Collage of three images featuring photo techniques.

Grandpa’s creativity

From figuring out imaginative photos (years before they were trendy and before cameras were digital!) to MacGyvering things around the house (although I’m not sure he knew who MacGyver was), his mind was sharp, and he was good at coming up with innovative ideas and solutions.

Grandpa’s acts of service

I remember the season where he was my grandma’s primary caretaker, doing all the cooking and cleaning, helping her bathe, plus general upkeep for their house. At that point he was the only one driving, so he did all the shopping as well. Being in high school at the time, I didn’t realize just how much he was doing and all the energy he was expending. But looking back, now that I understand how much goes into managing a household and taking care of others, it amazes me. 

And I know that wasn’t the only time in his life my grandpa served others. His life showed numerous examples of serving others. My mom recalls that when she was young, he also took care of his own parents, going over to their house once a week to help them bathe. His ease in “grunt work” types of tasks show how often he did them, often without any recognition from those around him.

Grandpa’s humility

Despite all the amazing things about him, he had an attitude of humility, putting others ahead of him and praising their achievements rather than his own. And if he was excited about something he’d figured out, he was more excited about sharing the knowledge rather than the praise.

Grandpa’s integrity

Honesty was important to my grandpa. You knew you could trust him. He would often go an extra step to be sure you understood his point, in an attempt to make sure what he conveyed was what he believed to be true. And if he was put in a tough situation, he would try to do what was right, even if it wasn’t the easy choice.

Most of all, Grandpa’s faith in Jesus

This was the most important part of who my grandpa was; it guided all the above attributes and defined him. Despite living through incredibly hard experiences like the loss of a child, he continued to put Jesus first and foremost. 

I recently just heard that when his son passed away at the age of 4, his first prayer out loud was one of gratitude for the time they’d had with him, despite being in the middle of what I can only imagine being immense grief. 

As impressed as I am by his perspective (especially now that I have children of my own), I’m also not surprised. That’s who he was. He trusted in God’s provision and timing. And he wanted to be sure everyone had heard the good news of Jesus Christ. Whether he was tucking me in bed at night as a child or visiting with me as an adult, he always talked about how much Jesus loves me and how important it is to follow Him.

Collage of great grandfather with young children.

Yes, I miss my grandpa, but I’m also happy for him. He’s home now. He lived a good life and set an example I hope to live up to and pass on to my children as well.

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