January 22, 2013
I had a goal of doing a lot more writing for the blog this year but it has been some days since I have written.
My father, Robert C. Pelke joined his personal Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on January 10th .
He is now a part of that great host of witnesses in Heaven above.
I offered an eulogy at his funeral. I have copied it here.
I am on an airplane headed from Alaska to South Carolina. My father is dying. He had a major stroke about 12 hours ago and is in a coma and they say he will not come out of it. He is 93 years old. I hope I get to South Carolina and see him before he dies. But it is more than likely he will be in Heaven with his creator by the time I arrive. I want to see mom and I want to see my sister. Dottie has been the perfect sister in my eyes, helping take care of mom and dad these many years. I am so grateful for everything that Dottie and her family have done for them.
I always knew that someday I would get that call, but I wasn’t ready for it. When I saw my niece Kim had called I was hoping it was about my scheduled upcoming trip to Prosperity, SC next month when I was to parent sit for mom and dad because Dottie and her daughter Kim are taking Sean, Kim’s son to Florida to look at a college he is likely to attend next year. I often expected bad news when I would see Kim’s number, esp. if it was unexpected call. Kim is the one who always passes on to me medical news about mom and dad.
The message was that dad had a stroke.
Kim’s brother Scott is a family doctor in the Columbia area. I talked to my nephew about six hours ago and he told me that it was just a matter of time.
So, I have been thinking a lot about my dad the last few hours. My dad has been good man. He loves his family and he loves his God. He will soon be in God’s presence. I will soon be saying Father, into thy hands I commend my father’s spirit
I was so looking forward to parent sitting. I have so enjoyed the visits I have taken to see my mom and dad. The added bonus is that they live with my sister Dottie and her husband Frank and all her kids and grandkids live nearby, except Andy who lives in California.
My dad loved to listen to books that were on tape. He especially loved mysteries and Parry Mason was one of his favorites. I used to just sit on the couch and listen to them with him for hours at a time.
He could not see well. He only has peripheral vision. He would tell people that he could see everything but what he was looking at. For football games he would sit in a wheel chair that sat ride to the side of the TV. He could see the different colors of uniforms and see them moving. He really loved to see the movement and hear the announcers describe the plays.
My dad was a faithful man. I don’t know for sure but would bet my dad was at church last Sunday. He was always there. I am sure that whenever his pastor saw dad wasn’t there, he knew that something was wrong. My dad has been extremely faithful to every church he has attended.
I was so proud to post on facebook back in September how my parents had celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. I didn’t think or want it to be their last. I have had so many thoughts of my dad today it would be impossible to recall them all.
But he is a good man, and his father Oscar was a good man before him. Both men were highly respected at work, church, community and in the family. Granddad and my dad were two excellent examples that God placed in my life. I thank Him for that.
On a terrible day in 1985 my father found my grandmothers body the day after she had been brutally stabbed to death. I watched my father during the wake and the funeral. He greeted people, talked with them and prayed with them. He was the son that my granddad raised him to be. I don’t know how he was able to do it but I was never so proud watching how he carried himself during that horrible time.
I do know the last thing I said to my dad was "I love you dad." That is how I ended every phone conversation. On this occasion it was on Christmas day. He responded by saying "I love you honey".
There is so much I want to say to him. I had planned on filming conversations with my dad on my I-phone and spending hours talking about his life history. I mostly was looking forward to hearing stories from him, but there were a few things I had wanted to talk about for years and thought I would get that chance next month.
When I arrived to the hospital in Columbia my father was still alive. I was able to spend the last two and one half hours of his life with him. I am so grateful to have made it there before he died.
I did find out that my dad had attended church the Sunday before he died. In fact he attended the morning and evening services. Yes, that was my dad, a faithful at the age of 93.
On Monday night he watched the National Championship Bowl game when Alabama Crimson Tide beat his long time Purdue rivalry Notre Dame. He enjoyed the game immensely, went to sleep that night after the game and never woke up again.
Dad was greeted by the words of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, "Well done thou good and faithful servant:" Enter you into the joy of your Lord."
I thank God for the hundreds of prayers and best wishes that were sent my way. I felt your tremendous support and gathered strength that was needed to get through those extremely difficult days.
I will end this with full intention of writing much more soon about the Journey of Hope and what we are trying to accomplish in the near future. It is very exciting. At this moment I am very encouraged and I will be sharing with you why.