“S’UP!”

The date might be what most consider unlucky since it was the 13th, but my mother-in-law accurately said that November 13th was her husband’s lucky day. It was the day that he got to go to his true Home. It was the day that he no longer felt any of the aches and pains of arthritis or colitis or the various ailments of age and declining health. It was the day that he entered into the full glory of his foundational focus throughout his life – being in the unhindered, glorious presence of his God.

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Dad was born in NY, NY.

In my human imagination, I see him with his joyful grin entering the city of gold with wide-eyed wonder and delight. When he is shown the room that has been prepared for him, he asks if he can just have the campsite near the lake where the fishing is best. He is told of course that comes with it as well as the top-of-the line pontoon boat and a fresh thermos of coffee. I think he is served endless Dunkin Donuts. Since he gets the straight-from-the-source and angelic live version there, there is no longer a need for a portable radio to hear his beloved sermons and songs.

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He and his sister were MK’s

I only met my father-in-law around the last decade of his 77 years of life. It was just a fraction of time on the whole, but at least it was in the age of emails. With us always living hours and sometimes thousands of miles apart, we could communicate through this medium with ease. I will miss the group emails to Mike, Scott, Jenny, and me that started with “S’UP!” or “Guys, guys, guys” or “Guess what, guess what?!!?” He was eager to share many things with us whether a great sermon he just heard, a new book he loved reading, some interesting historical facts, his and mom’s gardening adventures, prayer requests, or sports tidbits. One of my latest emails from him simply said to Mike and me “Is you is or is you ain’t watching dem Bars?” He became a Michigan sports fan once he had relocated there, but he would egg us on about our Chicago teams like the Bears’ current season.

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50 years as loving spouses

He also had these precious emails with our boys. When Ethan brought home a sunflower seed from school, he provided what I (a black thumb) could not. He gave Ethan loads of advice on how to plant “Sunny” and sympathy when E later sent him a picture of Sunny’s grave. (My black thumb is really contagiously black.) When we got our dog Harper, there were plenty of emails about pet care since he and mom always had a pup in the house. He would even have his Tucker type “bow wow wow, arf, arf, bow wow” to the boys and Harper. Those emails were just one example of how he was such a loving grandpa.

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While visiting us in ABQ, he got to see the machine he worked with while serving in the Navy some 50 years earlier.

In their last visit with us, I was impatiently giving Ethan a stern lecture about his piano practicing. My exacerbation was clearly detectable and my words loaded with negativity. Dad just casually called from the couch how impressed he was with how well Ethan played. He said that when he was kid at a boarding house in Canada, he tried lessons but didn’t get that far. He smiled as he remarked how pleased he would have been had he been blessed with Ethan’s talent. He said with words loaded with love that he was so proud of his grandson. It was a million times more effective than my lecture and had Ethan turn around with a smile to finish practicing without complaint.

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Happy Grandpa

Dad Beckett did not have what this world would consider a lot. But he did not live for the aims of this world. There was no doubt that he had an intimate knowledge of and reliance on scripture. He had a verse for every occasion. Every Christmas he led us all in a time of family devotions to center us on the reason for the holiday. And every time we departed, he would lead us in a circle of prayer together.

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Mom & Dad in the latest church directory. They were faithful members of Bloomingdale Christian Church.

While he cared for others especially his family, he would never want to put anyone out for their care of him. It can be so humbling to have to rely on others when your body limits your independence and abilities. He had no choice but to depend on mom and others for many things. And each time, he would lament his bothering of those helpers as if asking for a mug of coffee was the same as asking for you to donate your kidney. He never took the things others did for him for granted. His deep humility only grew. Politics can be heated but especially so in an election year like this one. Yet even when we were on different sides of certain issues, he had such grace and humility that our exchanged emails felt constructive and edifying when the rest of the world resorted to name-calling or far worse.

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They got to visit us in Tucson just a couple weeks ago.

I am thankful that my boys were able to have known their paternal grandpa enough to mourn the loss of him. I pray they will heed their grandma’s tearful and heartfelt words to them and their cousins to follow Christ as that is what their Papa would have wanted the most. He left a legacy not of worldly possession or renown but something far greater in value. He left a legacy of faith that will continue to bear eternal fruit. We grieve the separation from him now but anticipate with hope and joy the reunion to come.

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