Influence: Papaw Jim
It only seems fitting that I share with you the influence my grandfather had on my life since his days on this earth came to end Saturday July 31st. Instead, of writing a new post I will share with you the words I spoke at his funeral.
My papaw, James Fulks Jr. passed away July 31, 2010 just 20 days after his 88th birthday.Papaw was raised in Scottown, Ohio, but has lived in Floyd County, Kentucky for 58 years. Papaw served in the United States Army during WWII. After his military service he began driving a Grey hound bus which is how he met his wife of 58 years, my granny Betty. Most of the people present today know my papaw as a hard working man who spent many years running Big Y food service and driving coal trucks. I have very little memory of his time running Big Y food service, but have been told that he was a friendly, generous man that lent a helping hand to many people in need.
Papaw was preceded in death by his parents James and Ruby Fulks; his brothers-Howard, Mack, and Jerry; and his sister Charlene.
He is survived by his wife, my granny Betty; his children-my mom Debbie and my uncle Brian; grandchildren-my sister Shea, myself, my cousin Dalton and my cousin Colby; great grandchildren-my nephew Braxton and my son James Bennett. He is also survived by his brothers Curt and Ronnie and sisters Maxine and Patty.
I have known for years that the day would come when I would stand before all of you to honor the man I call papaw. A week before papaw’s birthday I wrote a journal entry, some of which I would like to share with you.
“Papaw’s birthday is next week and I don’t know if he’ll live to see it. Then again I have been saying that for years. Oh how I miss him. He is so strong, so courageous. He will walk the streets of gold. Some day. Some day soon. Life will be so different without him. I’m thankful that Bennett bears his name: James!! Tears keep flowing. I remember sitting on his lap while he mowed grass. I remember climbing into his coal truck and riding to Ashland asking all kinds of questions. I remember him cutting flowers and bringing them to mom to put in vases. I remember him gardening . I remember him sitting outside the garage, shirtless, in the white chair. I remember walking down the hallway of the hospital to visit after he had his first cancer surgery. I remember him playing with and teaching Dalton so many things. Oh how he loved, protected, and nurtured him. I remember him always having fresh fruit cut. I remember him sitting at the bar writing bills. I remember that he never failed to walk sis and I outside and stand waving, just past the garage door, until he could no longer see us driving away. He’s leaving us......maybe now, maybe in the days ahead. He’s going to meet Jesus.”
I will miss him. We will miss him. He was a pillar of strength for many of us. He was a help in time of need. He was a man with a laugh you could never forget. He was a friend to the less fortunate. He was a father and a grandfather that loved more than any of us could ever comprehend. He was a fighter. He was so many things, but most of all he was forgiven. At age 13, papaw accepted Jesus as Savior of his life and was baptized in Indian Guyan Creek. Because of that day and papaw’s continued belief in Jesus Christ we can mourn and grieve with joy. For today, he is, indeed, walking the street of gold!! He is enjoying a garden that is far beyond his imagination.
My papaw was a man who influenced my journey of faith, because like my sister said, "He taught me to love with my whole heart."
Who or what has influenced your faith journey?
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Next Friday: We will continue our three part series. We will again share how someone has influenced our walk with the LORD Jesus. It may have been the words of a mentor. It may have been a sermon preached by your pastor or spoken at a weekend retreat. It may have been words on pages written by an author you've never met. It may have been the silent embrace of a friend. It may have been a life lived that you only watched from a far. It may have been your small group.