A Gentle Man

The last two weeks have passed in a whirlwind of preparation for our first day at Providence Prep. That day came and went—a good beginning, on the whole. This morning, as I attempt to catch my breath, I finally have a few moments to think about a quiet anniversary from this past Thursday. My father-in-law, Donald Weitz, was born on September 8, 1930. Since his death three and a half years ago, few days have passed without some remembrance of this gentle man—and true gentleman. Recently, Mom found the wonderful picture above of Dad with my daughter, Grace, which prompted a flood of smiles and tears remembering those delightful years before his stroke when he and Mom lived close by and were a daily presence in our young children’s lives.

In his honor, I thought I’d share a bit of what I wrote for his memorial bio. Happy birthday, Dad!

Over the past two weeks in the kind expressions of sympathy we have received, a number of people have remarked that Don was a “gentle man”. Truly, he possessed a deep well of kindness and consideration for others, an overflowing supply of hospitality, and a never-failing reservoir of courtesy which not even the stroke that claimed his speech could erase. By these true marks of gentility, he endeared himself to everyone who knew him, including those who only met him in the years following his stroke.

. . . Dementia is a long goodbye. In the earliest stages, Don was aware of what was happening to him. Sometimes he expressed frustration and sadness over this, but much more often, he accepted this hard providence from the hand of His Lord with characteristic good grace. Though his memory was often clouded, he remained steadfast in loving and serving his wife, his family, and everyone around him in any way he could, even if it was just opening doors, carrying burdens, or clearing dishes. Though his speech faltered, the words of hymns and prayers often came to his lips without hesitation. Don’s gentle courtesy in his final years was a testimony to many; he did not need the aid of speech to offer kindness, courtesy, and hospitality to those who crossed his path. To the very end, Don Weitz remained a gentleman.

Our long goodbye to Don is over for now, and we rejoice in the knowledge that he, along with all the saints, is now praising His Savior with unfaltering speech and unclouded thoughts. We look forward with certain hope to the eternal hello we will share with him in Immanuel’s Land.

 

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