Many hearts were broken today with the news of the passing of Loa Glenn early this morning. I knew Loa for thirty five years, beginning in the summer of 1983. I'm not sure what to say but I thought I would rerun an earlier blog to which she is central. It's from June 28, 2014.
Greg and Loa Glenn moved to Nashville, Tennessee this afternoon. It's hard to imagine any family impacting my life more. I met the two of them thirty-one years ago in Nashville at Lipscomb University before they were married. I had come to work at Lipscomb's basketball camp; in fact, Greg was the first person I met at Lipscomb. I moved to WCS because of Greg sixteen years ago and stayed with their family while both interviewing at Westbury Christian and when I moved to Houston. I taught and coached their daughter, Amber, and taught their sons, Richard and Cody. All five of the Glenns were on missions with me at different times and Greg was my boss as both AD and our WCS president. They will leave a huge hole but a wonderful legacy at both our school and congregation! Life is ever changing but some are tougher than others.
It's hard to know where to start with this family. Greg was there through the health deteriorations and the subsequent passings of my parents. He talked me into the toughest decision of my life, to return to high school basketball coaching. He, along with his predecessor, Bob McCloy, really emphasized spiritual development in our students, not easy in a school as diverse as WCS. He let me do stuff outside of the box with my classroom and fundraising for the kids in Haiti and Honduras. Greg is as good at being a diplomat in handling disputes as anyone I've ever seen, keeping a Christ-like spirit involved in the process. But he has never shied away from making the tough decisions when it's best for the school, and that's rarely popular. He walked away from a coaching career that was one of the most successful in the United States, taking on a much more difficult position as Head Of School. He let coaches coach and teachers teach. Greg has the ability to be visionary, something I sorely lack. He revered his college coach, the legendary Don Meyer, and in many ways, became like him. And he left our school light years ahead of where it had been when he came twenty-one years ago.
Loa may be the most efficient person I know. She served in so many roles at WCS that I cannot come close to listing them. Loa has a servant's heart. When I moved here, she took the majority of day with three little ones in tow to help me but before we finished that Monday, I had a bank account, a driver's license, an inspected car with license plates, and car insurance. When I had a question, Loa was my Google. How do I get gum out of a shirt? How do I rent a car at an airport? How do I get to St. Marks Episcopal?? ETC!!! Getting a laptop lessened my dependence on her but not by much! When I needed something for my house, Loa had it or her mom had it and they freely shared what they possessed. Not only was she Google, she served as Target for me and not just me. Many other new teachers/coaches lived with the Glenns until they got settled into their new home, and Loa helped them get started.
The day I moved to Houston, the Glenn kids had just been blessed with a kitten named Kisses and they were fighting over who got to feed her/hold her/love on her. That stopped. Amber grew up to play for me and be my student assistant coach as well as step out of her comfort zone on her first mission to Honduras. She was Homecoming Queen and she ran our summer basketball camp, earning the title of Amberella. She has a Masters degree now and a wonderful husband named Ben! Richard is a new daddy, making his folks very happy, and he has an amazing wife, Callie. He also could be an terrific Gospel preacher if so inclined. The thing I remember about Cody is that he always went to sleep on Loa's lap during worship. Right out of high school, Cody was drafted as a left handed pitcher by the Toronto Blue Jays and started a game on the mound for LSU in the 2013 College World Series! I used to baby sit Amber, Richard, and Cody when they were young. Apparently, I did an excellent job!
And so, I said good-bye to Greg and Loa early this afternoon. I hate good-byes even when you have some time to prepare. They'll be back and that lessens the pain. They'll be missed terribly but they'll be loved abundantly in their new surroundings. Normally, I leave with an applicable quote of the day which I don't introduce but today is different. Today, I'm closing with the words of a haunting Civil War song, The Vacant Chair by Henry Washburn:
We shall meet, but we shall miss him
There will be one vacant chair.
God be with you until we meet again. We'll keep the chair open for you guys.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: The picture is of Greg and me painting the front of a church building in Haiti. The onlookers were amused at how much paint managed to land on us instead of the wall!