Saturday, September 5, 2015

Funeral Talk for My Dad

My Dad was a good man.  Really, really good.  In this world of good, better, best…where we tout this person as the greatest, or this product as the best…”good” may not seem like much in our eyes, but in God’s eyes it is.  We see the word Good used many times in the scriptures: The Good Samaritan. The Good Shepherd.  May the Good Lord bless and keep you.  Be of Good Courage.  Be of Good cheer.  The Good Tree bringeth forth good fruit.
Luke 6:45  A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good;
  Helaman 5: 6……. and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.

Today I want to remember my dad…and his goodness.
My Dad was a Good Father.    He taught us the gospel with bleary eyed morning scripture reading  as we lay on and around his bed.  Often when dad would get us a drink or help us in any way he would smile and quote Matt 23:11 “he who is the greatest among you, let him be your servant.” He got the family “toys” the motor home and boat so we could spend time together.  We  boated at Pineview, motor homed to California with luggage bursting off the roof and clothes bouncing down the highway as we drove.  We  spent 43 summers at Bear Lake condos together.  Dad wanted us to have fun…even though he said he wasn’t very fun and needed to work on that.
HE taught us to work before we could play.  Many a summer holiday we would be outside pulling morning glory and weeding, before we could join our cousins swimming.  Once we arrived at the pool, however we were treated time and again with “The Silver bullet”.  My dad bouncing on the diving board and doing a beautiful swan dive.  In his younger days he would don a silver swim cap,  as he got older he performed this trick fully clothed much to our delight.
As a family we loved to perform and Dad was our best audience member. He would tell us we did good.   Dad  joked when we were singing with the  Cole Collection, that we would have a party to invite our friends over just so we could sing at them.  He was correct.
I want to share a life lesson my dad taught me…. I was in 4th grade up at my Uncle Jay’s farm in Fairview, Idaho…where my dad grew up.   I was on the back of my cousin Nora’s horse while we were rounding up cows.   We tried to jump a ditch, and were almost successful, but the horses hind legs were in the ditch and as it was scrambling to get out, I slipped off the tail end, and ended up having my foot trampled on by the horses hooves.  I lay in the ditch crying, I’m sure pretty dramatically, and my dad rode up, looked down from way up on his horse, with the sun shining and creating a  glow about his head… I thought My angel father is here to rescue me and give me comfort…. Instead He reached down with his hand and  said, “ Well, get up before he steps on your other foot.”   That was it.  Dad taught  us to be strong through our challenges…he learned this at a young age…and wanted us to learn it too. You see my Grandpa Cole passed away when Dad was 15 years old….and it was tough.  Dad was from a his, hers and ours family he was the oldest son of the final ours family…and much responsibility fell on him  when his dad died.  Dad doesn’t remember really being sad, but more in a daze when his father died.  Then a few months later while working in the field, a piece of equipment broke down and dad didn’t know how to fix it …so he broke down and cried and screamed to the Lord…he said he heard a voice tell him, “if it is to be, it’s up to me.” And that’s where the pity party stopped.
One of the last “father” things dad did was give father’s blessings to his children.  He couldn’t walk or stand anymore, so he sat in his chair and we all sat on the floor at his feet for one last blessing.   His words were never sweeter.  We never have doubted of his love for each of us.

My Dad was a Good Husband.  My dad loved my mother… Adored my mother…always said She was THE best thing that ever happened to him and couldn’t believe he was so lucky to get such a catch as Sheri.  I remember countless times my dad dancing with mom in the kitchen…and it would most always end in a dip or a kiss with an announcement, “Kids have I told you how much I love your mother?”
   My parents always sang this tenor-alto duet:     “God gave the wisemen their wisdom, and to the poets their dreams.   To father and mother , their love for each other, but he left me out so it seems. I walked around broken hearted, thinking life was an empty affair.  But when God gave me you it was then that I knew he had given me more than my share.”    
Dad was a good singer. He could yodel and sing all of the old cowboy songs.  ( play recording)  I found such comfort in this especially as a child driving in the old station wagon at night time.  My parents would sing together in the front seat while we pretended to fall asleep in the back just so my dad’s strong arms would carry us in and up to bed.  My dad loved to sing tenor in a ward choir and did so faithfully for 50 years…it helped that his wife or mother in law were the choir directors.   I hope I can always hear dad's high tenor and mom's low alto voices.  If it’s possible to die of a broken heart that's what dad died of. He said over these past two years that his spark has gone out since Sheri passed away.

My Dad was a Good Grandfather…he taught all of his grandkids the song .. Once I went in swimming…it's about a guy stealing the clothes of Some one  skinny dipping. We have sung it so much we changed the words at the end to, “ it looked like Grandpa Lyle,”  and then we all laugh.  We even sang it at the end of my moms viewing 2 years ago to cut through the sadness and bring much needed smiles.

One summer Dad  gave cash incentives to grand kids to work out at his home.  He would pop his head in and check to see who was there and call us his angels…so we called him Charlie.  (Charlie’s Angels)
 My dad taught his grand boys about faith and prayer.   Years ago my family was training a guide dog named Stephi. We had just returned home from our Bear Lake Vacation and I walked into my back yard and went "CRAZY!" I didn't have one flower left.....we were under attack by snails. I hate snails. I went into the garage and pulled out the snail bait and went to town in the back yard, sprinkling it EVERYWHERE.
The next night, while Wayne was at a baseball game with Monson and Truman....Addison noticed Stephi was foaming at the mouth and shaking. She wasn't doing good AT ALL. We picked her up and put her in truck and started calling vets one was answering their phones. It was 7 at night, but where were all of the vets? I called all through the phone book....finally one animal hospital answered in SLC....we drove straight there, praying and crying over our Stephi. She couldn't die. She wasn't really our dog. Technically she was on  loan to us for Guide dog training. This was an expensive puppy...and now she was dying. It was horrible.
Addison was sobbing. Landon was hysterical. I was praying harder than I had prayed in a very long time for Stephi's life. We carried our sick dog into the hospital and the Dr. couldn't believe she was alive after all of the snail poison she had digested. Stephi was put on machines and a stomach pump with tubes running every which way.  My dad came to the vet hospital after we were told that Stephi was going to die.
 My dad looked at us all sobbing and this is what he records in his history, “What happened next was pure inspiration and came about not of myself, but by the power of faith and how we sometimes receive blessings and spiritual experiences in all parts of our life.  I recall it as if it were yesterday how the words came out of my mouth, ‘Hey guys, the Vet doesn’t know what is going to happen.  There is only one individual who knows, and that’s our Heavenly father.  Where’s your faith?....she can make it. “And he had us all kneel and say a prayer right there in the lobby for Stephi’s life.    I couldn’t believe it… I had just prepared my kids for the inevitable death and now here’s optimistic Grandpa Lyle telling them that Stephi was going to live.  I wanted to punch him in the face….Well….He was prophetic. The vet said it was a miracle that Stephi pulled through.

Dad always taught faith and prayer and bore his testimony at many a family event.     Just 3 weeks ago dad called all of his family together for his final King Cole moment… He shared about his life and how he  wanted us to get along and love each other when he was gone.   He bore his testimony of forever families and the love of  his Savior .  We all cried and sang Love one another. He took his calling as family patriarch very seriously. 

My Dad was a Good Latter Day Saint.  My dad served in many callings……but his most cherished were the two missions he served…his first to the Southern States serving along side of Harold B. Lee ….in the 1950’s and then to Scotland with my mom in 2003.   But….Being obedient didn’t always come easy to dad in his youth…but once he was truly converted to the Book of Mormon while serving in the army during the Korean War…he never looked back.  He was a good disciple a dedicated believer and loved the Lord.
In his obituary we wrote Lyle is a ‘Fine old high priest’.  This is from a book we read together 16 years ago…and again during his last days….by Donald Smurthwaite…  I will paraphrase…
A fine old high priest is someone who has  thin strand hair that long ago faded to gray.  A fine old high priest wears silver rimmed glasses and works in the temple and without being asked puts back the hymnbooks in the chapel.  He is a person who  sees gentleness more clearly than ever before and it is the hallmark of all he does.  A fine old high priest’s words are always kind and loving.  He thinks nothing is better than to have a child sit on his lap, unless it is to watch a baby fall asleep in his arms.  A fine old high priest knows there is more to be gained from life by slowing down than by speeding up.  A fine old high priest holds his wife’s hand when they walk together toward church and still thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world. A fine old high priest doesn’t care about gain or getting ahead or making money or who is right and who is wrong but concerns himself more with finding wisdom.  A fine old high priest is at peace with himself, and he understands life, and he knows he can’t tell another how to become a fine old high priest because it is something that is not sought but happens gradually and may take a lifetime or more.  A fine old high priest finds joy in common things, treasures a crayon drawing from a primary child more than any piece of art in a museum and nothing bothers him much because he knows that he has done well and this part of existence is almost over and he needs only to endure another season.  A fine old high priest knows how to say good-bye and looks forward to saying hello.  A find old high priest likes where he is in the world he created.  Many men grow old, and many are high priests.  It is the fine part that is difficult to attain.

My Dad was a Good friend. My dad owned a men's clothing store on Main Street in Bountiful  for years. Cole Esq was THE place.  This was Pre Mr. Mac time.  As a result growing up it seemed  Dad knew EVERYONE in Bountiful.  He Learned a lot about human nature and how kindness goes a long way.   He would smile and shake hands at every restaurant and store or just walking around the block.   There were many times that dad helped out people financially and spiritually.   Dad has many friends.  Our dear friend George Sharkey from Scotland shares this about his friend Lyle,  “ … my sweetest friend Lyle, is and will always be that special light that never dims. To be in his presence is heaven to me. I feel like the moth around the flame, where I flutter, he remains still and true to all that is true…….He is my regulator, never found off course.  He has that unique ability to make others feel that they are the most important people he has met all day and we leave him feeling that we have been in the presence of greatness. What a talent! What wisdom! What humility! I have never met such an influence nor experienced such a closeness in the bonds of friendship. He has been that ' image of Christ ' to all who have needed him as I have needed him on so very many occasions.”

And now… I would like to share my Sister Marcie’s thoughts….. As Marcie lay in her cancer bed, a few days before her death I had a chance to talk to her and record her thoughts about many things.  I asked her to tell me about dad… ……Marcie's words. :  Our  dad’s  the best.  He was silent but deadly. He didn’t say much but he always had your back. Very loyal. He didn’t really have a lot of example growing up of what a father did.  His father was in his 60’s when dad was born and died when dad was 15…so Dad was just figuring it out on us kids.  But he always wanted the best for us.  He really cared. 
Dad was definitely sad when Marcie won the race to heaven, but I’m sure he is rejoicing with her now.
We began Dad’s Obituary …”I am Sufficiently sophonsified and everything else would be superfluous.”   This is what he said for years at the close of many dinners to tell us he was satisfied, filled and happy.  Well I’m pretty sure the Lord is Satisfied with Dad’s good works and his happy, filled life and welcomed him to heaven with open arms and said to him, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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