Please forgive me but I am going to reprint one more three year old tribute marking the anniversary of my father's passing. This is by one of Dad's favorite people, Dr. Dennis Lynn.
April 20, 2008
One of my mentors, Roger Hawley, died Tuesday morning. Anyone who knew Roger and Nelda has their own stories about how they influenced them for good. Many knew him better and longer than I did, but these are some of my stories.
I first met Roger Hawley when I stepped onto the campus of York College in 1974. Roger was the Dean of Students and taught Psychology. He had previously served as the preaching minister for the church in York. Roger’s example of ministry merged with teaching helped set the trajectory of my own career path and priorities. I am not the only one who wanted to follow in his steps, but I know I am one. In truth, Debby and I both wanted to grow up and be like Roger and Nelda—deeply in love and committed to helping others grow in love.
Over thirty years ago, Debby and I went through premarital counseling with the Hawleys. I remember sitting in their family room, listening to stories and receiving wise counsel. As was their custom, they gave us their phone number in case we ever needed to call them. Two days into marriage, Debby called and got the answer to a honeymoon-related question we had not even known to ask earlier.
Several years later, when we were struggling with how to help our older son work through difficult times, we traveled to see Roger and Nelda. As I recall, we came in the door, sat down in their chairs, and said, “We feel like we’re falling apart. We need you to put us back together.” And they did. A few years later, we were honored to participate in a marriage-enrichment training weekend in their home with a few other couples.
We haven’t been with Roger and Nelda much over the last several years. Nelda has been sick and Roger was her trusted caregiver, ever attentive, always adoring. He died surrounded by the family he cherished. Each one bears a unique heart-resemblance to him. As I was driving this morning, tears filled my eyes as I thought of how profoundly important Roger was to me. He encouraged me and strengthened me. I can hear his startling laughter, often in response to his own bad jokes. I can feel his empathetic eyes soothing me deep in my soul. I can recall his fervent prayers to the God he served.
As is the case with all good men, the residue of right living lingers long on those left behind. Just as I can still hear his words, I picture his broad smile and feel his encompassing embrace. If you knew Roger, he became a part of you. Some of the best parts of you. All of his family and all of his friends around the world will miss him. He went ahead to be reunited with other loved ones and to wait for Nelda, whose eyes will light with recognition when she sees him.
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