Posted tagged ‘Ruth Kennedy’

Losing Special People

June 7, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          June 6, 2015

                                                 

A few weeks ago (April 22), I wrote a blog post about a special lady, Ruth Kennedy, who was celebrating her 96th birthday. That post was entitled “The Saints Who Go Before Us”. Ruth Kennedy passed away yesterday.

One granddaughter posted a few pictures on Facebook of some of Ruth’s final days with family. I got somewhat emotional looking at them as I remembered what a great lady she had been during my growing up years.

My life recently has been crocheted with loss. My Aunt Cynthia passed away about three of weeks ago. She would have been 93 on May 22. “Aunt Cynthy” always made me smile, especially as she handed me a rolled-up five dollar bill and told me not to tell anyone. She had a down-home wit and humor about her that I will always remember. Visits to her house were punctuated by eating! A few years ago she looked at me and said, “Billy Dean, you’re looking (pause)…a little manly!” That was Aunt Cynthia’s way of saying I had put some weight on. I think she offered me a piece of apple pie and ice cream right after that!

This past week my dad has been in the hospital back in Huntington, West Virginia. Being in Colorado is hard during these times. Writing about Dad, Aunt Cynthy, and Ruth Kennedy are a way that I cope with loss and absence.

It’s how I deal with having to say goodbye to some good friends over the years as well. Most are still on this side of glory, but separated from me by distance and schedules.

We lose people in different ways throughout the journey. Hopefully it causes us to value each relationship…each conversation…each piece of pie lovingly cut…each moment shared even more.

Aunt Cynthy and Ruth Kennedy have passed on to their eternal rewards, experiences of a precision choir of hallelujah praises. My Dad, closing in on 87, isn’t far behind. I’ve been blessed by all. May I be a blessing to just as many!

The Saints Who Go Before Us

April 22, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                            April 22, 2015

                                         

We have been blessed in so many ways and by so many people…and so often we don’t immediately recognize it.

Today it hit me…in an unusual way!

Today is the 96th birthday of a woman who I always saw as being a person of compassion, gentleness, and faith. Her name is Ruth Kennedy.

Now…you need to understand something! I haven’t seen Ruth in close to twenty years. I was taken back by the fact that she has a Facebook page…and is now one of my Facebook friends, although in my birthday greeting to you today I couldn’t bring myself to calling her Ruth. She has always been Mrs. Kennedy to me!

Her oldest daughter, Cindy, was a good friend of mine in high school, and several of us hung out quite often at the Kennedy mansion in Ironton, Ohio, between the flood wall and North Second Street. The Wolfe’s and Kennedy’s were  a part of the same church, and our youth group as close-knit.

Mrs. Kennedy would welcome us into her home, and then…this is important!…give us space! She would go to another part of the house and let our group of friends laugh and converse together.

She was faithful! She would sit with her husband Jim on the Vernon Street side of the sanctuary each Sunday for worship at First Baptist Church. Ruth was not a hit-and-miss attender. She was consistent and friendly and warm.

And now years later it hits me how blessed I was to have her in my life during those high school and college years.

We talk about the saints that go before us, but sometimes we are blind to the saints that are with us! And then years later…in an unexpected Facebook post you catch sight of how special someone in your past was to you.

Mrs. Kennedy was just one of many saints who affirmed my call to ministry in 1979 when I was ordained. I can see some of the other faces…Pastor Gale Baldridge, Pastor Jerry Heslinga, Bill and Sue Ball, Paul Hughes, Glenn Fairchild, Ralph and Phyllis Carrico, Ramona McCollister, Dale Clark, Betty Douglas, Rev. Earl Dale…the list could stretch on to the horizon! Some have gone on to Glory…some were like “church moms” to me…and some were encouragers. All had a part in shaping me and causing me to press on!

Happy birthday, Ruth…I mean, Mrs. Kennedy!