Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Daddy

January 13, 1948 — December 29, 2009

Tim began his college application testimony by writing, “I started out as a child.” His obituary, fittingly, should begin the same way. Tim started out as a child. He was born in Salem, Oregon on January 13, 1948 to Tony and Ruth, the fourth of their five children. He grew up under the watchful eye of his sister, Judy, and surrounded by three brothers, David, Nate and Bruce.

He spent the majority of his formative years in Western Oregon on Chehalem Mountain in an old farmhouse built in 1903. His boyhood was full of shenanigans from being covered by red ants and subsequently dumped unceremoniously into a tub of cold water, to being whacked in the forehead with a double-bladed ax, from playing for hours beneath the branches of giant, stand-alone fir trees to finding a stream and following it to its source at the spring.

From his front porch, he could see Mount Hood across the Tualatin River and Willamette River valleys. In his words, “On many winter days the fog settled into those valleys, and Mount Hood seemed to rise from an ocean of mist and ride upon it.” Tim’s childhood panorama also included the Cascade Range from south of Mount Jefferson to north of Mount Rainer. Even the one-room school he attended on the corner of his parents’ farm was called Mountain Top School. It is no wonder Tim acquired a love for mountains that grew into a passion for climbing them. He even climbed to the top of Mount Saint Helens before it erupted.

Tim graduated from Newberg High School in 1966 as president of his student body. On April 29, 1968, Tim met the love of his life, Karolyn, after his sister-in-law, Judi, suggested he stop by her office to meet her replacement. The chemistry was instant. Tim and Karolyn married on August 24 that same year and of course they honeymooned in the mountains, at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. By their first anniversary, they were three months pregnant with their firstborn son, Aaron. Their first daughter, Andrea, joined the family a year and a half later, as Tim began training for his lifelong career as a carpenter.

From a young age, Tim’s transcendent goal in life was to show others the love of Jesus Christ. To that end, he prepared to go into full-time ministry. When Andrea was a year old, Tim packed up his little family of four and headed to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. Over the next four years, he acquired training in theology and two more children. Tony entered the family in 1974, and Becky followed in 1976.

Tim’s pastoral ministry began shortly after college, and one of the greatest highlights of his early ministry was the birth of his third son, Benjamin, whom he welcomed in 1977. Five kids strong, Tim and Karolyn lived in various locales around the Pacific Northwest, touching hearts and lives wherever they went, always leaving an imprint, always intent on proclaiming to those around them the unconditional and indescribable love of God.

In 1982, God blessed Tim and Karolyn with their fourth son, Seth, whose arrival coincided with Tim’s return to Prairie Bible Institute to complete the degree program Prairie did not offer when he got his college diploma in 1976. Tim obtained his Bachelor of Theology degree in 1983 with a 3.98 GPA.

By 1984, Tim and Karolyn and their six children were settled in Hailey, Idaho, where Tim became the pastor of Calvary Bible Church, nestled in the foothills of what would soon become his favorite mountains. Every summer, he four-wheeled his family and friends onto one hiking adventure after another as he explored the Pioneers, the Sawtooths, the Boulders, and the Lost River Range.

When Tim’s pastoral ministry ended, he and his family stayed in the Wood River Valley, where he continued working as a carpenter, a vocation he pursued from early adulthood until he left us for heaven. The last portion of Tim’s life was full of the joys of grandchildren, as he began to teach a new generation how to scale the heights – both of the actual mountains around us and of the mountains life brings our way. His message was always the same: God is love, and His love will carry us as we continue to climb every mountain we face. He wanted his tombstone to read, “Last seen climbing.”

A few days after Daddy died, his brother called our family and shared with us a vision he'd had that day. In my uncle's words, "I had a vision... of Tim and Jesus, and they were climbing the tallest mountain in heaven. Tim was asking questions, and I didn't get to hear what Jesus was answering, but when they got to the top of the mountain, Tim knew. He understood."

I can just picture my dad, hiking up a dirt trail with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, engaged in a perfect discussion, getting all of his questions answered, full of joy, and full of love. Completely accepted, completely confident, completely content.

This is a picture of my daddy I will carry with me for the rest of my life. And no matter what happened at the end of his life here on earth, I will always believe he really and truly was...



...last seen climbing.