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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Goodbye, Grandpa B

On Monday, my Grandpa Bodensteiner passed away after a period of failing health and dementia. We celebrated his life this weekend, and it was wonderful to be together with so much of my amazing family.

Grandpa B was the last of my grandparents to pass away, and he made it the age of 97! I'm sure it's sad and strange for my parents to no longer have their parents here. For me, Grandpa was the last person I really knew from the greatest generation. That alone is a loss. My grandparents all weathered the hard times of the Depression, World War II, and raising large families with little money to spare, and they did it with grace and good humor.

I think about how my generation talks... We're always "freaked out" or "ticked off" or "over it." We're crass and impatient. But none of my grandparents talked that way. I love hearing my mom describe Grandpa B's reaction to a bad shot at the golf course: just a simple, "Well, I'll be darned." Of course, it isn't just their civil speech that set that generation apart, but for some reason it's been on my mind.

At his funeral, Grandpa B was described as a "gentleman and a gentle man." I will miss the gentle steadfastness of the greatest generation, and I'm sad that younger generations won't really get to know them.

Here's a Proverb that came up this week on my Bible app:
The righteous who walks in his integrity— 
blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7, ESV)
Again and again this weekend, I got to hear about Grandpa's integrity. He was a hard worker (Dairyman of the Year!), a loving father, a devoted husband, and an honest man. I found a note my mom had written to her parents on their 60th anniversary praising their integrity. She said that when she was growing up, if she told someone she was one of Linus and Rita's girls, they always had wonderful things to say about her parents. She was proud to call them her mom and dad. In their old age, Grandma and Grandpa B's unfailing kindness made an impression on the staff at their assisted living home and then nursing home.

Ninety-seven years of integrity is an incredible legacy. Not only are Grandpa B's children blessed after him, as the Proverb said, he also left 19 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren with the example of a life well lived to the end.

We have many stories of answered prayer in my grandpa's life over the last five years, and even in the last few months. I'd love to share them with you and praise God for His faithfulness.

For now, I'll leave you with a few favorite photos.

Celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, with Grandma in her original dress!

Grandpa watching me and my brother, who were recovering from chicken pox

Grandma and Grandpa holding the three newest granddaughters with the rest of the clan at the farm in 1989

Dancing with my sister at my aunt's wedding. I was just told he danced with all his daughters and granddaughters that day.

My all-time favorite photo of Grandma and Grandpa B, polka-ing in their basement.

My brother playing cribbage with our two grandpas

My mom and her dad. She said he had just made a rare sarcastic comment and it cracked them both up.

My dad and Grandpa B, both veterans

Another favorite photo: Grandpa B on the farm with me and a few cousins

Goodbye, Grandpa B.

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