A Heavenly Birthday

Today would have been my uncle’s 62nd birthday.
Today he is having the best birthday he has ever had.
He is having a celebration like never before.
A Hallelujah celebration.
But not for him, because he wouldn’t have wanted that.
He’s celebrating his Jesus today.

Ern passed away in Feb. a week before Kennedy was born.
I was unable to go to the funeral and it still makes me sad.
There is just something about saying that final good-bye.
It seems if you don’t get to do that, there is just a missing link.
Are they here? Are they gone?
When I go back to IN I often find myself wondering where Ern is.
Then it shocks me a second later to remember that he’s no longer here.

Ern wasn’t married and he and another uncle lived across the field from us
so we probably saw more of him the most of the nieces and nephews.
When we were little I remember we could have a little drink of his Pepsi…
if we  showed him our mouth was clean
and then sipped the top of the can clean when we were done. 🙂
He always had a cookie ready for us when we stopped in.
Today anytime I see Nilla Waffers, I think of Ern.
He gave us lots of rides on his 3-wheeler and golf cart
and there was always a dog running along beside us.
I have many good memories of him!


{I did a 40 page book of memories for our family a few years ago
and this was his page.}

Although I couldn’t be at his funeral, I was able to contribute in a small way
by writing this tribute to him

    Life wasn’t easy for Ern, but you never heard him complain. He worked for every step, suffered more then many of us ever knew, but still had a smile and a word for the Lord when you stopped to speak with him.

   Born with a heart murmur and albinism, he struggled as a young child with his poor eye sight and health. At a very young age he was stricken with the dreaded polio that left him crippled for life. His brothers helped him along, carrying him on their backs down the lane to meet the school bus, dragging his books along behind and helping him with his school work.

   Ern never let his poor health keep him down, life moved along and so did he. He was determined to gain his independence and in his mid 20’s he moved from the home place to live with one of his brothers. Mom didn’t let that stop her from taking care of him. Sunday lunch at her table was a given, as well as leftovers for his meals and an occasional pot of soup to keep him well fed.

   Although he never had his drivers license, he still managed to get around. If none of his family was around to take him, he wasn’t afraid to call someone and ask for a ride. Around the farm walking was taxing for him so he always had a 3-wheeler or golf cart handy to get him from place to place. The nieces and nephews loved that but also knew from little up that it was a good idea to ask his permission before taking any of them for a spin.

   He loved a good family night back at the cabin. Warm summer afternoons Ern would call everyone and let them know he was ready for another cabin party. Everyone would load up the children and the food and head back to the cabin for supper. Hot dogs and home made ice cream were usually on the menu along with some roasted marshmallows and a little fishing to end a good evening.

   Later in life Ern rededicated his heart to the Lord and had a tremendous zeal for God from that day forward. He always had a pocket full of tracts to pass out to people, wanting to spread God’s Word. Every New Year that rolled around, he would have a new batch of pocket calendars to hand out to everyone he met. He also had a love for the men in prisons and the local jail. He was always more then willing to go along and spend time sharing God’s love with them.

   Although reading was hard for him, he spent hours in his chair reading his Bible and listening to messages on tape. When technology advanced, so did he and his I-pod full of sermons became his constant companion. Many hour passed as he immersed himself in God’s Word.

   Ern had many friends including people he called to chat with during long hours, locals that dropped by to see him and encourage him, and still others that drove from afar to come and visit him. Jesse Wagler and Floyd Lengacher were friends from his younger days who kept in contact with him through out the years. Steven Schrock was another friend that Ern highly regarded and spoke to regularly. It meant a lot to him to know these men cared about him and invested time in his life.

   After Mom and Dad passed away, Ern and Gid moved down the road to live with Sharon. Sharon was a wonderful caregiver for Ern, willing to go the second mile to help him with his things, take him to church and town or do whatever he needed without complaining. He would often talk about how much she did for them. Ern also had a special spot in his heart for Diann. When things got tough, she was the one he called knowing he could always count on her. It was an unspoken understanding that Gary and Diann spend Sunday evenings visiting Ern, anyone else was welcome but Diann was suppose to be there. Diann and Sharon spent many hours at his side the last few weeks and he was very grateful for that.

   As his age crept up and his heart weakened, Ern’s faith in God stayed strong. His one desire in life was to live for his Lord and tell as many people as he could reach about Salvation. May we carry on the torch that he has held high and meet him in Heaven some day.

Happy Heavenly birthday Ern!



3 thoughts on “A Heavenly Birthday

  1. what a sweet post- sounds like such a special man. what a neat idea your book of memories is for your family and that shot if your uncle when he’s young reminds me of Opie from Andy Griffith! 🙂


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