January 1, 2006: The beginning of a year, the end of a life January 2, 2006Posted by Matsu in Family.
Yesterday morning, January 1, 2006, before the sun rose I was woken up by a phone call. It turned out that my Father-In-Law, Frank Roughton Harvey, who had been struggling with Leukemia, was experiencing trouble breathing. Hazel, his wife, was unable to get him to the car, so she called an ambulance.
Once he was at the hospital they determined through medical tests that he was in very poor condition. Within the hour, he passed away. That was at 8:20 am.
His immediate family was there, wife, children, and grandchildren. My parents, who live in a neighboring town, were also there. We cried. It was so very difficult to believe that Frank was no longer alive. We spent several hours there at the hospital after he died, consoling each other as we waited for the funeral home to pick up his remains. When we finally left, it was like he was being ripped away from us, all over again, and we cried.
Frank, who was 75 years old, lived to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and did so through drama and the example of his own life. He also loved to laugh. He thoroughly enjoyed a good joke and would try hard to remember them so he could tell others as he traveled. His vocation was his drama ministry which took him all over the world. He wrote all of his own material and performed them as monologues. He began with the role of Jesus speaking at the Sermon on the Mount. Then, he developed many more characters over the years including the Roman Centurion who witnessed Christ’s death, and Moses, and King David, and Judas, and so many others. One year, at the request of the military chaplains, he created a monologue about the person buried in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
When I married my wife, Frank helped perform the ceremony along with my own father. He was always so kind to me. He said many times that if his daughter ever divorced me that he would adopt me (and presumably disown my wife). While he said that in jest, I also knew that he loved me and was glad I married his daughter.
One of the more amusing things about Frank was that he loved gadgets and enjoyed acquiring them. It seemed that he had to have every wizz-bang gadget he would read about or see on TV. Even though very few of the products lived up to their hype, he always seemed satisfied. Which is just the opposite of how his wife felt about it. She would either try to send the product back to the vendor for a full refund or repackage it and give them away as gifts. And, of the products he kept, he would replace them within a year and would then generously give the relatively new (or at least lightly used) products to his children and grandchildren. In fact, that is how my daughter got her laptop computer, which she used the first two years of college.
Frank loved people. Everywhere he traveled, in the United States and numerous foreign countries, he would strike up friendships that would last for years. And, his impact on the lives of the tens of thousands of people who watch his dramas can’t be measured. I know that he changed lives and challenged people through his drama and his life.
It was always funny when Frank would say that I was his favorite Son-In-Law, since I was his only Son-In-Law. Well, Frank, you were my favorite Father-In-Law.
When Frank could no longer travel because of his health, I thought that he might enjoy posting his ideas and thoughts online. I explained to him what a blog was and how it worked. He was excited to try it, so I set him up on the WordPress.com site. He was working on his first posting when he passed way. I am sorry he didn’t get that first message placed on his blog. I have now used that blog site to communicate with the thousands of people who want to know about Franks death and the details of his funeral service. It has also become a place where his friends and family can express their appreciation for Frank and let his family know how much he was loved.
Goodbye, Frank. Thank you for everything. I will miss you.