Dad’s Funeral Sermon

Funeral for Harold Trottier
6/12/08 ““ First United Methodist Church
Rev. Ned Hintzman

Note: The recording may have started just after the service did, so a small portion of the pastor’s words are probably missing. This was my best effort to transcribe the service.

God gives us the capacity to mix our losses with our celebrations, our sadness with our joy, and our grief and our comfort. You see, the loss we feel is the gain we have been given. Think about that. The loss you feel today is because of the gain you have been given. Harold was a good and simple man. Life was not complicated for him. Surround him with his family on Christmas at his house and he was happy. Maybe he had on his red sweats and his Santa’s hat, and if he did, he was in his glory. Family cookouts, where somebody else did the cooking, was a good thing. He was doing well then. Give him a good steak along with his dog Tiny Toy in his arms or Friday night fish fry, and he was satisfied.

He was a good father to all you children, and his children’s spouses. To you, Jimmy and your wife Sandy, to Clayton and Clifford, and daughters Karen and Penny and husband Robert, and Loretta and Elizabeth and husband Tom. There are lots of good memories, of watching scary movies on the Sci-Fi station. There was that sense of humor that, to my understanding, at times was boundless (laughs). You never knew where it was going. And there was the “Bozzo” image that sticks in your mind. The trips to the family reunions during the summer in the Chevy station wagon, a loving grandpa to twelve grandchildren and Grandpa T. to seventeen great grandchildren. The scooter rides. And his dog Tiny Toy. Watching gangster movies, and sleeping over, and rummaging, just having a good time.

And not to be forgotten this morning are those 42 years that he and Donna were married. Her seemingly untimely death in 1992 ended a lot of travel plans with that barely two-year-old van that had hopes and plans written all over it. The van that remains, even though it doesn’t run. But he couldn’t have it be sold, because he couldn’t part with it.

Harold was in the Naval Reserves for five years and will be honored for that service when we are at Sunset Ridge. He was employed for over forty years at American Motors, and in recent years again, just, I guess I need to say it again, he loved that Sci-Fi channel. All the mysterious and scary movies that were on there. The picture boards””I always like looking at picture boards. Picture boards full of those pictures that, for you, bring back all those memories, all those good times, all those hopeful times, all that time that you lived with him, and he knew and loved you.

The bulletin cover today reflects the hope of his fate. In my Father’s house there are many dwellings, many rooms that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare. One for Harold, and one that Donna’s already taken care of. He’s gone home to be with his gracious and loving God, to be with Donna and the rest of those who have gone before him.

These words seem appropriate today:

God looked around his garden and he found an empty place.
He then looked down upon this earth and saw your tired face.
He put his arm around you and lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering; he knew that you were in pain,
He knew that you would never get well ever again.
He saw that the road was getting rough and the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids and whispered “peace be thine”.
It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.

The joy of our fate is that when this life in the world can no longer be, God has another place prepared for us. A place where peace passes all understanding and living is always full and we share that hope not only for those who have died, but for us, as we continue into our lives. And I pray today that each one of us may live each day in the gracious compassion of God’s love. I pray that we might live with the assurance that God gives us, knowing that our lives will be filled with faith, and fill with the trust in God that is necessary, no matter what comes our way, no matter what we need, believing and knowing that God will be with us. This great gift of life. May you go forth today as people ready to live and ready to die knowing that either way, you are the Lord’s. Amen.

{Hymn: How Great Thou Art}

Go in peace. And may the peace, and the love, and the blessing of God Almighty, go with you, and be with you, now and always. In the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.