Monday, April 20, 2009

Frank H Hall - June 23 1929 - April 19 2009


Click here to
view pics of Grandpa


Click here to view the obituary

A Lasting Impression:

Well here I am again, one of my rare appearances on our blog. Well I say our blog but let’s be honest, it is Christie’s blog chronicling our lives. The reason for this posting is both sad and joyful, sad because I have temporarily lost a very important person in my life, joyful because he is now in the presence of the Lord and he feels no more pain. In the coming paragraphs I hope to be able to paint a picture of my grandfather for those of you who did not know him. For those of you who did know him, I hope this will bring back memories that will not only bring a tear to your eye but a smile to your face.

My grandfather, Frank H Hall began life in Southern Illinois in a small cabin with a dirt floor. There is some debate as to how many brothers and sisters he had but we know for sure that he was at least 1 of 15 siblings born to at least 3 different wives of his father. Both of his parents were of significant Cherokee Indian heritage which could be seen in his features. Grandpa eventually made his way to Grand Rapids when his older brother, the man I knew as Uncle Earl came to town.

Once in Grand Rapids Grandpa attended and finished High School at Union High, joined the Army Air Corps and in 1949 married my Grandmother. After earning several medals during the Korean War he came home to be with his family. I remember grandma saying that my uncle Frank was something like 18 months old by the time they made it home. They lived for a time in Waco Texas but made it back to Grand Rapids which is where they would remain.

They had 4 children, Frank, Dan Ardis (my mother) and Steve. From there they ended up with 8 Grandchildren, Andrea and David born to Frank and his wife Berta, Daniel and Derek born to Dan and his wife Trema, Gary & Sheila born to Ardis and her husband Gary (my parents) and last but not least, Anthony and Jeremy born to Steve and his wife Kris. The family grew even more when they began to have great grandchildren. Connor and Ethan, born to Andrea and her husband Jacob, Ryan and Kylie born to David and his wife Liz, Alex born to Daniel and Anna and Isabella born to Christie and I.

Grandpa was a man of quiet confidence. He was one of those men that led by example and who commanded respect just by his presence. Grandpa never had to say much to get his point across. You knew with just a look whether he was proud of you, disappointed in your actions, happy, sad or mad. Grandpa had the patience of an angel. My mother fondly remembers playing cowboys & Indians in the living room, running and screaming around Grandpa’s chair while he read the paper as if it were dead silent in that room.

Grandpa was a teacher who taught in the same way that he lead, by example. Many of life’s lessons were learned without him uttering a word. Others needed some words applied to them but they were always spoken with a quiet confidence that served to say, “Trust me I know what I am doing”.

Grandpa was known for his ability to fix anything. It did not seem to matter what you brought him he would find a way to fix it. From bracelets to toys, to washing machines, pools or even mopeds, Grandpa could fix them all. Grandpa no doubt honed these skills during his tenure as a member, and eventually Foreman of the maintenance department at Country Fresh Dairy in Grand Rapids.

Grandpa worked for Country Fresh for 39 years and retired when I was 14 years old. I have vivid memories of class trips to the dairy where Grandpa would walk us all around and show us how things worked. The tour would conclude with a free ice cream treat. I would always choose a Nestle’s Crunch Bar.

Retirement was good to Granma & Grandpa. They were able to spend their time doing the things that mattered most to them. These included their church family as well as the family that they had built. Grandma and Grandpa attended what is now known as Grand Rapids First. I always knew it as First Assembly of God. Grandma & Grandpa were saved and born again in the early 80’s. I remember there being a significant change in them at this point in their life. From this point on they became wholly devoted to the Lord and they grew in that faith and devotion every day.

During Grandpa’s final days on this earth we all gathered around his bedside daily. His last words to me were, “I thank the Lord for you and those kids”, referring to my 2 daughters, Anna & Isabella. Christie reflected on the vision of all of my uncles and one of their cousins gathered around Grandpa’s bedside in the living room of their condo in Georgetown. She marveled at 4 big burly men standing around a once large and burly man who has now become frail, weak and small. She commented on how it felt like a torch was being passed on. On further reflection, I had to agree. So my final words to my Grandpa on Sunday were, “It is OK to go Grandpa. You have taught us well, we will take what you have taught us and pass it on. We will Take care of Grandma; there is no need to worry.”

From there Christie, the girls and I went to Church. The entire time during our worship I kept praying that the Lord would take him. Just as the pastor began his sermon, my phone rang and I just knew what it was. Upon exiting the Sanctuary I got the news that I had been preparing myself for, Grandpa was gone. When we got back to his condo, I went to his bedside and thanked him for letting go and thanked the Lord for taking him to a better place.

As a tribute to our Indian heritage, my mother’s Cousin Larry, the son of Grandpa’s brother Earl, posted the following poem to Grandpa’s online guest book.

An Indian Prayer

I give you this one thought to keep,
I'm with you still I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone,
I am with you still,
in each new dawn.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand there at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Author Unknown
Earl Hall's Tribe
Apr 20, 2009 Wayland, MI

Grandpa did not die; he is alive in Christ, watching over us as we continue our Earthly journey. He is now in the place that we all strive to be. Grandpa is alive in us as well, through our memories and our habits and idiosyncrasies’ learned from him. Grandpa has passed the torch to all of us who knew him, it is our turn to teach, lead, guide and love.

Thank you all for your words of prayer and support on Facebook, they are truly appreciated.


Gary, Christie, Anna & Izzy

1 comment:

The Holwerda Family said...

Great story Gary! You did a wonderful job at portraying your grandfather as very great man.
I am truly very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family.