Eulogy for Genevieve Fancher

November 10, 2007 

Öfor I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Philippians 1:19-26

We may all say we do not fear death, but we fear the stroke of death, in other words, how death is delivered to us. It is not death that is frightening, it is the dying part. Paul, facing a short time in prison knew that to live in Christ, he had to die. We all know that instinctively, the question is how we prepare for it. Death is our enemy, but it does not possess the finality that so many dread. There is something waiting for believers beyond this life Ė something better. During our physical life, we have opportunities to serve Jesus. For the Christian, the fear of death will give way to the fullness of everlasting life. But one day, we will actually be in His presence. Our fear will melt away when we see Him face to face. That is where my mother is today. Her baptism has been completed. She is probably doing the first true to life portrait of Jesus Christ.

The dying part was hard for my Mother. She was in pain.

My Dad is the living hero here today. He made life easier for her. He patiently fed her, he stayed with her, held her hands, and rubbed her back. He talked to her, and as she lay dying, he recited the Lordís prayer to her. Fifty nine years of marriage and they cherished each other. Dad, we all appreciate your dedication to Mom.

As we get older we see so many things, many of them happy and joyous. Kathleen and I have been married 34 years, our two daughters Kim and Jennifer are married, and with Kim we have our first grandson Daniel Paul Kelley, Momís great grandson and Dadís great grandson. It is the natural progression from life to death, and back to life.

My parents enjoyed life together. The square dancing drew them closer, after I had grown up. In fact the dress Mom is being laid to rest in, she made, and wore when she was the Arkansas Square Dance Queen at the National Square Dance Convention in Oklahoma City. That dress is on the front of your programs today. Her eye for art came through in so many ways.

Many of us have some specific talent, but we donít always use it. In your programs today you can read about my motherís philosophy of life. She used the talent given to her, and she readily admitted that talent did not come from her. It was a God given talent. I donít have the artistic talent she had. My wife Kathleen can grow flowers, and I can take pictures of those flowers. But it was my mother who could take those photographs and put them on canvas. She saw things in sunrises and sunsets, flowers, and the sunlight in a childís hair that some of us have never seen and never will see. She had a special relationship with older folks and with children. She took the time to get to know them. She spent time with them. She really did rub their hands to feel their lives, and she could translate that. With children, she showed me how to capture them in photographs, just being children.

I draw your attention to the paintings in this room. To my left, at the font, is a finished picture of the River Jordan.

Some of the pictures along the walls on my right, the ones with no frames on them were unfinished symphonies. We brought those to note that our lives are unfinished on earth.

The thing is, many of us will be remembered for something truly remarkable that we did with our lives. We die, and those things, that we did in life, are soon forgotten. Our lives, our loves, are reduced to a few words on a tombstone.

Not with my Mother. The artwork she created will live on to future generations. Her artwork graces this church and in homes and offices all around the country. And so today I know she is personally thanking God for some sunset he created long ago, just for her to paint. And for those of us who still have a few sunrises and sunsets to appreciate, get out and enjoy life, while you can. Life is just way too short not to enjoy.

In closing. I say thanks to each of you for helping us celebrate the life of Genevieve Fancher, my Mother, my Dadís wife of 59 years, the grandmother of our daughters Kim and Jennifer and the great grandmother of Daniel, Kimís and Matthewís son. I also thank: Momís sister, my Aunt Loy; Cousin Hal; Uncle Russell, Nita and Patricia; and Aunt Dee, for being able to be here today and for helping my Dad out.

My mother has been a dear friend to so many of you here today, and we all miss her and love her.