Friends That Are Family
A Very Special Gift

Celebrating an Extraordinary Man


Almost 4 months later, and I feel like I can finally put together a post about Dad's funeral without sinking into a deep pit of sadness. 

Daddy died on June 12, the day of my first chemo treatment.  Those days were the toughest times of my life so far...losing my dad and fearing for my own life. God walked with me through those darkest days and continues to walk with me, and over the past four months my life has gotten back onto somewhat of an even keel with a new "normal" for all of us.



And yes, we DID take photos...some may think that's weird, but we are a family of photographers and we needed them for our own sakes.  Most will never see anyone's eyes except our own, but they are there and there's something very satisfying to me that I can always look back at them and remember details from that time. Life is a mix of happy and sad times, and photos are precious to me in helping to remember both.

(The photo credits for all of these goes to my talented niece Megan who, at our request, graciously captured these memories despite very awkward and difficult circumstances.  Thanks Megan...I am forever grateful!)



The calling was held in my hometown's small, family-owned funeral home. Mama's best friend Barbara crafted this gorgeous casket spray, personalized with many of Dad's own his watch, boxing trophy, Marine Corps medals, pocket knife, flashlight, and his beloved keys. What a beautiful labor of love from our longest and dearest family friend!

What an exhausting 4 hours that was!  I was still recovering from my chemo treatment, so I was weak anyway.  Over 300 people came to pay their respects to Mama and our family...Dad touched a lot of lives in his 83 years here on earth!  I was so proud of Mama...she held up better than the rest of us!



The funeral service was on a beautiful June morning, in the small country church where Dad grew up and our family attended our whole lives, White Branch Church of the Brethren.

That's Mama on the left of this pew, then us 4 siblings in our birth, Barb, Maria, and Mark.  We sang some of Dad's favorite hymns, and a family friend from the church touched us all by singing "How Great Thous Art."  Pastor Brian gave a wonderful eulogy then each of us kids spoke, making it a very special time of sharing.  After we finished, others who were there shared their own memories of Dad.  There were plenty of tears, but also lots of laughter as our family and friends remembered the one-of-a-kind "Bud."  He was truly loved and admired by so many and our whole family lost an icon the day he went to Heaven, and their stories warmed our hearts and eased our sadness just a bit.



All of Dad's grandsons and 3 great-grandsons served as pallbearers.  



I was so glad a few of Mama's peeps made the trip up from North Carolina...her sister Bernice, brother Larry, nephew Steve, and their three spouses.  Aunt Bernice comforted Mama as they loaded the casket into the hearse.



I don't know if this was by human design or God's design (I wasn't in on the meetings with the funeral director, as I was getting my chemo then...), but I LOVED it that the funeral procession took the back roads to the cemetery.  Daddy always loved to take the back roads instead of the highways! So many memories flooded through my mind as we drove these familiar roads that I've ridden with Dad innumerable times....



Even the cemetery holds wonderful memories!  Dad was the caretaker for several years, and my sisters and I helped him mow these grounds for many summers. Dad was meticulous in caring for the cemetery, always insisting that grass not be thrown onto the stones...if we did, we had to go back and clean them off.  He also dug graves, and I have fond memories of bringing pizzas from my summer job at Pizza Hut for our dinner break as he was digging a grave or mowing yet again.






Pastor Brian did a wonderful job with both services...



Grandpa Bud's young granddaughters...




Military rites by one of Dad's old friends, in honor of his service with the US Marine Corps...




Dad would have been so proud!  He loved his country and was always thanking God, even toward the end of his life, for allowing us the privilege of living in the United States.



A 21-shot salute...



...followed by the playing of "Taps"...the only time I cried the entire day.  I think I was already "cried out" by the time the funeral happened.  But "Taps" always gets to me...



Definitely a day of remembrance, a day we shall never forget...

...celebrating an extraordinary man.





Oh my goodness. All in God's time the healing begins. Just this week I was able to play the video song "You're Home" without tearing up.
Thanks for sharing TERRY!
LOVE my Family :) maria


Terry, thank you for sharing the pictures and memory of the day. It was truly an honor for me to be able to render a salute to Bud that day. I salute the flag each chance I am given, but to actually salute it "for" someone means so much more, if that makes sense. Like you, Taps always brings my tears.

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