Class Act

June 8, 2012 — 13 Comments

My father-in-law, Walter Goodall, died this morning at the age of 87 – having lived 32,065 days.  Most of you who read this blog haven’t met him but he was a class act in every way.  He was hall of fame – literally.  Let me tell you just a little bit about him because he’s one likeable guy.

He was quiet, yet warm because his genuine interest in you was clear.  He was soft-spoken; yet rock-solid in character.  He was humble, yet super-smart and talented.  He raised three really fine daughters, one of whom he entrusted to me nearly 32 years ago.  He sure made a difference in my life and I told him so plenty of times. 

I first met him when I was 19 and he challenged me to a game of H-O-R-S-E on his backyard court.  I got waxed.  And it was just the first of many on-the-court waxings I endured over the years.  I learned to never underestimate the guy because beneath that jovial, gentle exterior beat the heart of a competitor.  Like to play ping-pong?  My father-in-law was as good as I’ve seen.  He would beat you silly at ping-pong and then offer you a bowl of ice cream for consolation.

My father-in-law played to win in basketball, ping-pong, cross-word puzzles and cards.  Most importantly, he played to win in the ultimate assignments of life (faith, family, character) as well. “Never underestimate the heart of a champion” and he had a champion’s heart in a big-time way.

What made him tick was his love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for him.  He ran a strong race to the finish and his death, because of Jesus, is the crowning moment of a noble life and a doorway to God’s good eternity.  My father-in-law was a class act and I was privileged to have a front row seat to the incredible power and enduring imprint of a life well lived. 

Revelation 14:13Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they shall rest from their labors; and their works will follow them.

Jeremiah 17: 7, 8 But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

13 responses to Class Act

  1. 

    A beautiful Tribute to Martha’s daddy. Thank you

  2. 

    Thx so much Vickie.

  3. 
    Randy Roberts June 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Ronnie, a few years back God took home Vicki’s dad, a father in law so very similar to yours. All we can do as we grieve is honor him with genuine words, your wife and her family will appreciate it more than you know. You do a great job, son in laws miss them too.

  4. 

    He sounds like more than a winner; he is a victor.

  5. 

    Insightful words my brother. I think as husbands we really appreciate good fathers in law.

  6. 

    I know you and Martha are comforted knowing you were able to express to him many times just how deep your love and appreciation was of him. And to have shared your common love of Jesus with him is surely a blessing. Thank you for sharing.

  7. 

    Thx so much Barbara.

  8. 

    Ronnie our hearts go out to you and especially Martha. Michelle’s Daddy passed away about 6 years ago. He was as close to me, if not closer ,than my own Dad to me as far a spiritual mentor. He had a lot of the same traits that you spoke of about your father-in-law. When he spoke it was not often, but when he did you had better listen. He sounds like a wonderful man. I think the best part is you know he heard those wonderful words” Welcome home my good and faithful servant” Our thoughts and prayers are with you both.

  9. 
    Cheryl Gowens June 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

    What a gift to have had a front row seat to the life of a man who lived his life intentionally for Jesus…and for people. I love your tribute to him.

  10. 

    Thanks so much Lee and Michelle for your note and prayers. Hope all is still on the upswing in your world.

  11. 

    Thanks so much Cheryl. We’ve had similar experiences with those front row seats.

  12. 

    Sweet Martha and Ronnie, there’ll be no sad farewells, there’ll be no tear-dimmed eyes, where all is peace and joy and love, and the soul of man never dies. Martha’s Dad surely was one special man. Prayers for all of you.

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