Nov 5, 2010


My grandfather (Granddad) passed away early Tuesday morning.

Thursday was his funeral.

It was hard, but it was a beautiful service. It was full of stories that told of how special my grandfather was. How wise and kind he was. How his memories will live on because he had such a big impact on so many people.

My mom shared this at the funeral

For the past several weeks, Tommy has asked Nancy, “I just don’t know why the Good Lord doesn’t just take me.” She has replied, “He is not ready for you yet.” I think I might know why this is so but the answer to his question begins with a story.

Tommy and Nancy attended Austin High School together. She noticed him (he was good looking) and I’m sure he noticed her (she was lovely). Nancy’s friend, Helen, had a big crush on Tommy and she wanted to write him little love notes but didn’t know what to say. Helen asked her good friend, Nancy, to begin writing the notes for her and everyday, when they passed Tommy in the hall, Helen would quickly pass these notes to Tommy, hoping that Tommy would begin to notice her. Tommy was not the least bit interested and tossed the notes without ever reading them. Only later did he learn who the true writer of those notes was!

Then the war came, and Tommy headed off for boot camp. While he was there, he wrote to Nancy, asking her to write to him while he was gone. She didn’t think too much about this as she was writing to 5 other boys at the time; it was something all the girls did for the boys as they left. They corresponded this way for several months. When he wrote to her that he would be coming home for furlough and would like a date on Saturday, she answered that she already had a date but was free on Sunday. That Sunday began a romance and they saw each other every day that week. At the end of the week, Tommy took Nancy up to Mount Bonnell at evening time where the lights of the small city of Austin lay before them. It was there that he told her he loved her and she told him she loved him too. Sixty-three years later, Mount Bonnell was where Jon Dechiro proposed to our daughter, Tommy & Nancy’s granddaughter, Lauren.

Nancy and Tommy wrote to each other through those war years. Nancy even received her engagement ring through the mail and plans were made for their marriage after the war.

On April 12th, 1946, Nancy Whitworth became the bride of Tommy Mueller. They set up housekeeping in a small little house in Austin and enjoyed their newlywed life. With the births of Kathy, then Randy, and finally, Danny, their family and joy was complete.

Now jump ahead 19 years and I am meeting my future in-laws for the first time. Right away, I see something very special about their relationship because after welcoming me into their home, they sat on the couch close to each other and begin tickling one another. I was tickled myself to think that such “old” people would be acting like teenagers. From that point on, I was a witness to a very special marriage, and for the next 36 years I have been blessed to see what God desires in all marriages. Tommy and Nancy loved one another but the love of God was always first in their lives. It was only by this love, that they were able to sacrificially love one another. They did all things together, from camping and boating with the children, to supporting their children in school and later college. They welcomed spouses of their children and soon began wonderful traditions of incredible feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was always so important for them that the family gather together as often as possible. When the grandchildren arrived, Tommy and Nancy became loving grandparents. Now, from the 3 children, and 5 grandchildren, there are 8 great-grandchildren to share in their legacy of love. The bigger the family gatherings, the happier they would be.

But it has been in these final years of Tommy’s life that the perhaps greatest gift has been given. It was in these times of sickness that I have been touched the most. For despite not feeling well, Tommy would still reach out and playfully pinch Nancy and she would flirt and wink back at him. Nancy’s ceaseless devotion to Tommy’s care without complaints will be with me always as a model of true love and devotion. When he worried that his care was too much for her because it was 24 hours a day, she told him she would take care of him 36 hours a day. When I talked to Tommy this past summer about death and dying, he told me that he was not afraid of dying, but he was worried that Nancy would be ok without him. When they knew that with each passing day, he was growing weaker, they were thankful for one more day with each other.

The answer to Tommy’s question, “Why doesn’t the Lord just take me?” is clear to me. The love they that they have shared for 64 years is an amazing testimony of God’s love to family and friends all around them. I am thankful for each and every day that I have been blessed to witness that “Marriage takes Three.”

I then read this poem

A Marriage Takes Three

I once thought marriage took
Just two to make a go,
But now I am convinced
It takes the Lord also.

And not one marriage fails
Where Christ is asked to enter,
As lovers come together
With Jesus at the center.

But marriage seldom thrives,
And homes are incomplete,
Till He is welcomed there
To help avoid defeat.

In homes where Christ is first,
It’s obvious to see,
Those unions really work,
For marriage still takes three.


Yesterday was a hard day. But after the services my family gathered at my grandmother’s house. We looked through old pictures and enjoyed everyone’s company. There were more stories shared. Stories of little moments that we all remember. Things that at the time seemed so small, so usual, but now, now they are big. They are the memories that we will carry forever.

My cousin’s three year old son said it best “Granddad is not here tonight. Granddad is in Heaven with the Angels now”.



Erin said...

Tear Jearker! Sorry for your loss! Praying for you guys but what a beautiful and touching story and poem!

Chelsa said...

that def. made me cry!! so sorry for your loss, lauren.

Dara said...

Sorry for your family's loss. That is a sweet tribute to your grandfather. I'm thinking about you and your family during this time.

Queen of the Click said...

What a beautiful story.

I'm so sorry about your Granddad.