dick was 95 when he died a few weeks ago. he was active right up to the end. though he had suffered a mild stroke about a month before his death, there seemed to be no impairment from the stroke. within a matter of days after the stroke was diagnosed he was raking leaves around the house he had inherited from his father, the house in which he lived with his wife of 70+ years and his daughter who is a retired missionary-teacher.
dick went to his office in the engineering firm he had founded every day until the last couple of weeks before his death. he was in church every sunday morning and wednesday evening. we were so accustomed to seeing him in his usual spot that it is difficult to believe that we will never see him there again. dick's life was an expression of his faith. he was a civil rights leader in our community when racism was the norm, a way of thinking that most civic leaders embraced. he championed the poor and the powerless. because he only spoke when he had something worth saying, we knew that we should pay attention when dick rose to speak.
this quiet, strong man leaves a legacy that demonstrates how life continues even after the body has stopped functioning. his ashes are buried in the family plot in the cemetery, but dick lives on. just as his physical remains nourish the earth, his influence will be felt in all of us who knew him, calling out to us to stand up for what is important, to gently push and prod so that wrongs are righted.
maybe this is the truth of life after death, that a life well lived conquers death, enriching all with whom that well-lived life has come into contact. may dick live on in those who knew him. may each of us learn from his example. may we all live so that the world is better because we lived so that death is not an end but a phase in the continuum that brings about the replacement of hate, greed, envy, lust, and all negative states of being with lovingkindness and compassion that is universal. shalom.