Monday, July 16, 2012

George Manlove

My friend, George, was raised in a parsonage.  His father was a pastor.  My father was a pastor, a parsonage was my home.  At various times in George's life, he was an elementary school principal and a junior high school math teacher.  I was a junior high math teacher; I was an elementary school principal.  One might accurately say that George and I had things in common. One thing we did not have in common:  George was a pastor in his own right in his younger days.

But our relationship was not forged in the crucible of hardscrabble living on the income of the parents; nor was it an outgrowth of professional interactions in the world of public education.  Though we lived in the same town, and I knew who he was, our friendship did not really begin until the death of my first wife.  I could see as we got acquainted the kind and understanding sort of man he was.  Soon I had chosen to begin attendance at the church of which George was a faithful member and leader, and thus I would see George on Sundays.

Time passed by all too swiftly, as I am sure many of a certain age have noted.   We both retired, and for a while life went on, so to speak.  But soon enough, too soon, George's loving spouse, Harriet, began to have serious health issues.  George expended all his strength and most of his energy caring for her for a long time.  She eventually improved in overall health, and with a hip replacement, from which she quickly recovered, she was able to resume her life. 

George was born ten years before I was, so it is hardly surprising that he began to exhibit serious physical weaknesses of his own.  Heart issues, fainting and falling, and a whole litany of things I'll not relate here.  I started stopping by the house, where the three of us would visit for half-hour or so.  We had wonderful conversation, because we saw things in the same light on so many issues, but we were not focused on the past   George's quiet demeanor, his twinkling eye and winning smile were always heart-warming.  A while back, the Manloves lost a daughter-in-law, then, less than a year ago, a son died.  We discussed at length a fear that all parents have, the very thing they were living, that is that parents should not outlive their children.  It just doesn't seem to be natural.  George and Harriet, through the hurt of the loss, were able to say, It is in the Lord's hands.

As it got increasingly more difficult for George to complete an expression of his thought, Harriet would sit patiently and coach him a bit, whereupon he could complete what he wanted to say.  As I was leaving the other day, Harriet said, "It is getting harder for him to remember things."

My phone rang.  It was George's daughter, Patty, who called to tell me that her father had passed away.  She said he had a massive heart attack and he was gone quickly.

Though I will miss him greatly, I know that George is with the Lord.

George A. Manlove  1923 - 2012  RIP


Shelly said...

My condolences on the loss of your great friend. Although as you said, he is with the Lord and one day you will see him again.

Jim said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Rebecca said...

A beautiful eulogy.

I must marvel that the man was a pastor AND a teacher AND a school principal. Boy, times have changed.

Pearl said...

A thoughtful and loving tribute to him.


vanilla said...

Shelly, thank you. The knowledge that we live not to die, but we live to eternal life makes it all worthwhile.

Jim,thank you. I appreciate that.

Rebecca, a man of character and dedication who gave his utmost in whatsoever he undertook.

Pearl, thank you. STSTT is not planning to become the obituary pages, but with the loss of two very good friend this past month, I found it necessary for me to write a tribute to these great men.

Lin said...

Aw, darn it. That's quite a loss there, pally. I'm glad he went quickly and didn't have to suffer too long. And I hope that his wife is okay. I will keep them all in my prayers.

I'm sorry to hear that you lost two dear friends. I'm sure that is very hard. Sending hugs, my friend.

Looking forward to our meet-up in August. I hope that helps a bit.

vanilla said...

Lin, Harriet is a stong lady of strong faith; and she has a close and loving family. Thank you so much for your kindness and prayers.

Michigan in August! Y-e-s-s!

Sailorcurt said...

I grew up going to the same church as George, My parents were very close with George and Harriet. And he was my uncle-in-law, being the uncle of my (now ex) wife.

I can say with authority, having known George pretty much all my life, your evaluation of him as a man is spot-on.

He was one of the kindest, most generous, giving men I've ever known. He was ALWAYS smiling, would do virtually anything for anyone, and I never, ever heard a harsh word spill from his lips.

Thank you for your faithfulness in your friendship...something I can't claim as time and distance separated us. It's good to know that he had good people there for him all the way to the end.

He deserved it. And he will be missed.

vanilla said...

Sailorcurt, I appreciate your endorsement of my assessment. George Manlove is truly a Prince of a Man. Trite as it may sound, our loss is Heaven's gain.

Went to visitation today. The serenity that Harriet and the children exhibited is testimony to the family's faith and confidence in George's reward.