Recently I was at mom’s and there was a card left on the counter. I had already heard about the card. Alex told me about it! knew it if it brought tears to his eyes, I was in trouble. It was just a good thing that no one was there.
I knew Mom had left it there for me to read. So, I picked it up and began to slowly read the words Dr Anthony had written to Mom. It began something to the effect that it was way over due but wanted to let her know what a privilege it had been to have known Ned. His words were, “I think of Ned often. He is etched in my heart.”
As I read those words, all of the things that people said about him come flooding back.
A few days prior to his death, I asked family, co-workers and friends to tell me 3 words that came to mind when they thought of Ned. The response was overwhelming and we were able to read all of them to him prior to his death. He knew he was well-loved. In fact those at the Elizabeth House knew how loved he was. During his eight days there, there were more than 100 people who came to visit him.
At Ned’s request, I spoke at his Celebration service. I told the crowd there I was perplexed when he insisted that I speak on his behalf because he frequently gave me a hard time about my excessive talkativeness, dubbing it often as “diarrhea of the mouth”.
As I began to prepare for what God would have me say, I asked specifically for one word. Actually, I asked for a song with a one word title to best describe him. Almost instantaneously, the song, “Unforgettable” popped into my head. “That’s it. Precisely.” Then I began to pray over the scripture passage to use and one of my all-time favorites resonated clearly, Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do.”
As God began to weave my thoughts with words, even I was shocked how quickly it all came together.
One of the most important aspects was not to just let people know what I thought about Ned but to also share how others including family, friends and coworkers felt about him.
Listed below are the things people said:
Unforgettable in every way!
Mom- love of my life
Terry- loyal, family, Nitro
Kristi- selfless, giving, caring, stubborn
David -loyal, dry, caring
Ryan – hardworking, devoted, stubborn
Matthew – my hero
Alex -stubborn, generous, dynamic
Amy- stubborn, strong, caring
Zach- stubborn, caring, strong
Haleigh -ornery, loving, stern
Marshall & June- stubborn, generous and rabid Florida St fan
Jennifer- love for Ann, stubborn, Seminole fan
Mark-smiling, fun-loving, and family oriented. Maxine-musical, faithful, and funny
Amber- stubborn, loving, Ann
Mike Miller — Do you know how hard it is to describe Ned in 3 words, well here it goes: Friend, Mentor, and Blessing
Elizabeth Kohl — Great sense of humor, Compassionate, Down to Earth
Stephanie Cantwell — I can’t do just three! Wonderful Godly example as a supervisor, leader, husband, father and grandfather. We always knew where he stood but even when we were in the wrong he would discipline with a gentle heart and hand. It was a true pleasure to work with him and call him a friend.
Here are my three words for The General; grouchy old codger! No not really, he was an example of a solid Christian man who lived his life setting that example, true to his faith and a very kind and caring soul. Once you found it! 😀 ok that was more than three but I couldn’t think of single words to express what he represents to me.
Steve Carter — FAITHFUL, ENDURING, HONORABLE
Jerry Rice – Faithful loving husband
Cheryl Griffin – Happy Papaw Nedward
– Humourous, Direct, Humble
Jerry Hartline – Loyal, Stubborn, Definitely a Christian
Cecelia Rossell – Stubbornly loving and caring
Doris & Robert- supportive, wholehearted, prompt, outspoken
Jim & Retha- OK Kelly. I talked with Retha. Here’s what we came up with.
Integrity – he always wants to do the right thing. You couldn’t get him to cheat if you wanted to.
Kindhearted – beneath that sometimes rough appearing exterior, he would do anything for you we have observed.
Missions – nobody could do it like Ned, and nobody ever will.
Bob & Carol Friend loyal honest direct. Talented, committed, Nitro
Robert & Norma Ned was a Friend, Christian servant, Missions-minded, Faithful, Focused, Organized, Dry, Frank, Competitive, and Meticulous.
It’s evident that Ned’s life had a profound effect on everyone who knew him!
I think most of us will agree that his stubbornness, while sometimes, abrasive, was the driving force behind the last 19 months of his courageous fight. He touched the lives of many, including those who took care of him.
He loved with great passion! He never did anything half way! He always finished everything he started including finishing his earthly race with dignity and pride!
What he said the day he decided to allow Hospice to care for him!
He left a mark, one way or another, on everyone he encountered. He passing is leaving a substantial void but his legacy is one to be admired and mimicked. Be who you are, no matter who you’re with and no matter where you go!
Ned Whitmire. You truly made your dash count.
Enjoy celebrating your 1st birthday in Heaven. For those of us you left behind, it’s still difficult to do life without you. You were such an integral part of all of our lives. We wouldn’t wish you back but knowing you’re waiting for us makes the desire and taste of Heaven sweeter every day.