Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tribute To My Father

My father, Walter Luehrman, died of congestive heart failure on October 14, 2010.  This is a tribute that I read at his funeral.

My dad was born with a song in his heart.  He had a natural talent that could not be learned from a book or a class in school.  The music was inside of him and it had to come out.  My mother said there were times when he was outside working on his farm equipment and singing "How Great Thou Art" and other favorite hymns  I believe this talent was a gift from God and he faithfully used this gift to bring glory to the Lord.  I am confident that he is now singing praises to God in the heavenly choir and will be doing so throughout eternity.

My father never had the opportunity to attend college, but he valued education and learning.  Back in the 1960's, it was not very common for a farm wife with three young children to go back to college.  My mother had a dream - she wanted to be a school teacher.  My father supported her and encouraged her.  She earned her degree in 1964 and went on to teach 3rd grade in the Higginsville School Disrict for 27 years.  My sisters and I have all earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in college.  One grandchild has graduated from college and the other two are well on their way to becoming college graduates.  My father's influence will live on through the Luehrman Rotary Scholarship Fund.

It has been said that you can tell the character of a person by his friends.  I would like to speak directly to my dad's friends who meet each morning and afternoon to drink coffee and talk about the things going on in the world around you.  You met at the Higginsville Junction, at Smitty's Drive-in, at Beck's Cafe and in recent years at McDonalds.  My dad enjoyed your friendship and companionship so much.  I want to thank each one of you for the part you played in making my father a happy man.  His body will no longer be able to join you but he will be with you in spirit because love and friendship never die.  Savor the time you have together, my friends, because your opportunities for fellowship will not last forever.

On August 20, my dad had a major heart attack.  A doctor told him that his arteries were blocked, his heart valves were damaged and he had congestive heart failure.  According to this diagnosis, he was a dead man walking.  There was no hope.  But he didn't accept this grim prognosis...he had every intention of going home, getting better and going on with his life.  He was not afraid of dying but he loved life and living.  Each and every day was a gift.

I would have traded places with Daddy if I could, all he needed was a heart...but God had other plans.  Our faith has helped us through this difficult time because we know he is in a better place and has had a family reunion in heaven. 
I am not saying goodbye.  I am saying "I will see you later."  I love you, Daddy.

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