The obituary writing template we looked up on line suggested we capture the essence of Dad in a few definitive words and that's what we've done here as shown on the casket spray
Christian – Husband – Father – Teacher
Dad's Christian upbringing in a missionary/pastor household undoubtedly formed the core and foundation for his entire life. While he grew intellectually in his faith and on several occasions changed his point of view on the details of spiritual matters, he never wavered in his fundamental belief in the Scriptures as his guide and his Christ as his salvation. On this foundation all the other parts of his life and character were built.
As the Bible indicates that Christ's relationship to the church is one of a husband and bride, I believe Dad tried to reflect that in his relationship with Mom. In all my life, I never heard a word of anger or even a raised voice between him and my mother in spite of what must have been times of disagreement. For that domestic tranquility, my brothers and I were blessed to be in a home that continued for 65 years. As his disease took away his mind, one of the last words that would come from him was crying out “Mother!!!” at times he was upset. Clearly, his bond to her was one the disease could never break.
Dad was not the “My Three Sons” kind of father but he was a true guide and example of hard work, honesty and integrity. The vacation trips to far and near exposed us to a wider world and his fascination with nature and history helped us see beyond the neighborhood we lived in at the time. Dad was a financial “Scotsman” whose sense of economy was shaped in the hard times of the depression and a war and at times seemed to us overly frugal. Beyond that, he was exceedingly generous in helping those less fortunate and in support of endeavors he believed in. While he may been hard to please at times, his insistence on all of us doing our best produced three sons that I hope honor him through our own lives. He believed in the Bible's injunction to raise us up in the way we should go and when we are old, we will not depart from it. I trust that is the case.
Dad ended his professional career as a university professor, undoubtedly the most fulfilling job he ever had. However, he was engaged in teaching for decades before he wore the official title of Professor. Starting with Sunday Schools and later as a guest speaker on matters spiritual and worldly, he was clearly in “teaching mode” when he stepped behind the lectern. When he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it wasn't clear what God's purpose was in choosing this last direction for him, but I now see that it was his last teaching assignment to us, his family, on how to give unselfishly to someone who had spent his life giving to others.