Remembering my brother,
Gordon Eugene Longenecker,
on the 9th anniversary
of his death at age 49.
Â Nov. 6th I wrote about The Gift of Fall in a Season of Grief.
Today I continue the remembering with smiles. Â
It’s been Â nine years sinceÂ losing himÂ and itÂ seems like a good time to remember the Gordon we all loved and who drove all of us slightly crazy at some time or another.
Over 500 people attendedÂ the memorial serviceÂ to Â remember and honor their friend. Â The photos in this post were taken the day before his memorial service as we made a list that would be the basis for what Galen would Â share the the Memorial service as a family tribute.
* Â Stitches, of the Emergency Room type. Â (LOTS of them)
* Â Comfortable with people and engaged easily with them. Â (He never met a stranger)
* Â Interested in everything and had an opinion about it all.
* Â Very verbal and gregarious with a wacky sense of humor
* Â Loyal – Â Lois Jones, his Mother-in-law elaborates: Â Â “Heâ€™d see things thatÂ needed fixing and Â would do them for me, but often got the wrong thing from the store first, before he actually got the right thing and fixed it!”
* Â When he needed to figure out a job, heâ€™d lay on the couch with a pad of paper and pencil and stare at the ceiling until he figured it out.
* Â He insisted on doing things right and wanted things to be visually pleasing, taking the extra time it took. Â He wasn’t a duct tape kind of guy!
* Â Got a fish hook caught in his eyelid, sitting in his truck, trying to get it out of the seatbelt, where it had gotten caught!
* Â Fell off a ladder while he was at work when Carol was pregnant with their daughter Megan, and needed stitches on his head. Drove himself to the hospital and then called her to tell her!
* Â A window fell on top of him and he called his mother from the ER, (after he drove himself there) to tell her heâ€™d get to use that hospitalization she had just signed up for.
* Â Broke his leg the first time he went skiing
* Â Broke his arm playing in one of his first Little Guy Football games.
* Â And one of the funniest “accidents” – Â One day he was cleaning a fish over the kitchen sink with the disposal running so it would grind up the scales as he cleaned it…However, when he dropped the fish, down it went into the running disposal – fish fillet!
NO ONE loved a joke and a good laugh more than my brother and he had one Â for every occasion,Â every phone call with the family and anytime he was with a friend. Â My Â dad told me the morning of his death he would miss those phone calls, which always ended with a joke, often lame, but you just had to laugh. Â for example:
* Â Two cannibals were eating a clown. The one cannibal said to the other: â€œDoes this taste funny to you?
* Â A man went to a psychiatrist and said “I’m a wigwam. I’m a teepee. I’m a wigwam. I’m a teepee.” Â And the psychiatrist said “Relax! You’re too tense (tents!)”. I can just still hear Gordon telling that joke. It was one of his better ones! Shared by Carol, his wife
A few of the things Gordon would say and do:
* Â â€œI understand, but I disagree with you!â€ He had unique phrases for every situation â€“ always a new one, so they never got old.Â He loved telling Â a story and every time he told it, the story was longer and more elaborate.
* Â Loved to learn and talk about anything, especially off-the-wall topics, cell phones, his GPS, computer, how to paint (he was a painting contractor) and sports of any kind.
* Â He loved his church and his church Â soft ball league. He and one of this friends were the â€œold guys and he had recently started to play squash with a new friend.
* Â Galen, his brother in law, said when they played golf together, Gordon never got upset by a bad game because each hole was a new adventure and a chance to redeem his game.Â He rarely kept score.
Living out and communicating his faith:
One of the things I loved most was hearing Â how Gordon communicated his faith. Â One of his friends, Keith, added these comments a few years later as Carol and I visited with him at a coffee shop in Billings:
“When talking to me about God before I was a Christ follower (and I am one because of him) Â he never preached, or quoted scriptures.Â He told stories.Â And would often play devilâ€™s advocate.Â He would ask questions like â€œwhat if. . . why . . . have you ever thought . . .â€Â and then heâ€™d jump up and say â€œIâ€™ve got to go,â€ again, leaving you thinking.â€ Â For over two years Keith said Gordon Â was his “spiritual mentor” and it is because of him he is a Christian husband, father, business man.”
* * * * *
I miss you.
I am beyond grateful God answered my seven year-old prayer for a baby brother.
I”ll always love you, Little Brother.