Sunday, August 12th, 2007. The world grieved the deaths of 5 US soldiers in the ongoing war on Islamic terrorism. We noted the passing of an entertainment icon named Merv Griffin. But there was another homegoing that day. It's one that will attract little attention, outside of this blog, but is of great significance nonetheless.
Jim was one of those guys you just fell in love with, the first time you met him. Outgoing, confident, and charismatic, he was quick with a funny line, and always at the ready to lend a hand. The survivor of a near-fatal auto accident in his youth, and the victim of a number of debilitating injuries on the job, Jim understood suffering, and made it his life's work to help others in need.
In the days following 9/11, Jim--a trained and experienced funeral director--volunteered to pick through the ruins of the World Trade Center, helping recover the remains of those killed by the collision of airplanes and skyscrapers. Days later, he would return to Gotham to identify the charred remains of the victims of another airliner crash in the city, giving some modicum of peace to those grieving families. But just as notably, it was the community and professional services Jim rendered in his hometown that expanded his legend, and his circle of friends. Still, Jim made the time to be a loving husband, and a beloved father to his two children.
Jim lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease on Sunday, August 12th…but at the same moment, gained eternal victory over sin…entering into the presence of his Lord and Savior. I was privileged to be holding his hand, praying for him, at the very moment God called him home. Jim was my younger brother, and--through childhood and youth--my constant companion and best friend. Jim was just 43 years old.
Goodbye, my brother. Well done, indeed.