20th Feb 2009Posted in: Uncategorized View Comments
It's been difficult.

To my friends and family. Thank you for your support and comfort over the last week after the loss of Lyle.

Lyle is a wonderful Christ like man who now lives the way we all were created to live, with God.

It’s been difficult this month. I’ve been battling a cold for four weeks now which seems as if it will never go away and I lost a dear friend, mentor and adopted father.

Last week I received a call from my friend Tonia, the daughter of Lyle. She told me that “dad” was feeling dizzy and passed out and that EMT’s were called and he was now in the hospital. A little shocked, I was surprised Lyle would let anyone drive him anywhere, let alone to a hospital so I knew it was serious.

Lyle is one of the strongest men I have ever known. His ritual, as a pear orchardist, was early rise work in the fields and if time permitted, to sneak off to the mountains for a “quick” hike. I’ve hiked with him before and at half his age, I’ve struggled to keep up. At 71 he was one of the strongest men I’d known and I had no sight of him slowing down.

I drove to the hospital and spent a few moments with him. He couldn’t turn from one side to the other without getting motion sick. Something wasn’t right. However, no one knew what was going on and the test hadn’t come back yet. Later I was told he had had a mild stroke and that it had damaged a nerve which was causing the motion sickness. I told him I would see in in the morning, we prayed, I called him a billy goat and said good bye.

4:35 AM my cell phone rang. I couldn’t get to it fast enough to answer it, however, my home phone immediately rang next. It was Tonia and she told me that dad had gone into cardiac arrest late in the night and that he had major swelling in the brain and was on a breathing machine. The family had decided to call everyone together and have the tubes removed and let nature take it’s course. I dressed and drove there as fast as I could.

I arrived and met Lyle brother Wyane and his wife. We found Brenda, Lyle’s wife, next to his side. I can’t tell you what was going through my head. Total disbelief. What in the world happened? I mean, this is not what a mild stroke is suppose to lead to.

Once the family was together, our minister showed up and lead a prayer. They removed the tubes and he stopped breathing but his heart beat for almost 10 minutes. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I still cannot believe it. Anyone but Lyle. anyone.

I’m finding peace. It comes in little places here and there. I’m not angry or mad at God. I’m sad. I never knew my father. Lyle was one more man placed in my life to show me how to be a good husband and father. I learned so much from him. He was fantastic photographer.

In his early days, he served in the United States Navy as an official photographer. He once told me a story of their ship finding a Russian military boat that had been separated from their fleet. The rescue was captured and recorded by Lyle. Later the story and some photos were released to the public and published in LIFE magazine. He couldn’t remember the date other than it being in the 60′s, so I google searched and found that they had been published March 21, 1960.

He was very humble. I know if I had been published in anything, I would mount and frame it on the wall. That wasn’t Lyle. But, I found a copy on ebay and bought it for him for Christmas. I know he probably thought, “I don’t need this, I have the originals.

Yet, he received my gift with joy.

He not only saw the beauty around him but he saw it in others. I can’t tell of all the wonderful things he did while on this earth but I wish I could. He knew so much about everything… William Wallace in the movie Braveheart says, “All men die, very few men live.” Lyle lived.

As I looked through his Bible, I found a lot of notes and study pages. One note with his scribbles gave a list of 12 things that started with the number 3… I guess he was keeping 1 and 2 personal.

3. Don’t be overly proud and puffed up.
4. Mourn your foolishness then correct it.
5. Be gentle and strong and caring.
6. Seek first the knowledge of God.
7. You receive what you give.
8. Be honest and true
9. Stop quarrels rather than start them
10. Better to be persecuted for good than wrong. (see Paul’s letters)
11. Make sure it is not YOUR personality.
12. The end result is what is important.

These statements best describe Lyle. He lived by his words. He cherished his wife, enjoyed his kids and had peace with his neighbor.

I am working with Brenda to create an Archive of his many photos. He loved nature and trees, but he didn’t worship them… He worshipped the Creator, Elohim.

Thank you Lyle. I am a better man because of your example. I know I can live life to the fullest because you showed me what it is like to life for Jesus, the Savior of mankind.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I came so that you might have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10


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  • http://jasonhill.blogspot.com Jasonhillpdx

    I’m reading this on the way home from Dick’s funeral–he also lived to the age of 70 and was a mentor of mine.

    I can’t imagine what you experienced during Lyle’s last heartbeats. I know that you were a comfort to those around you, but you must have been exploding inside.

    I feel as though we’ve reached an age where the batton is being passed and now it is our turn to be the models. What a great example you have been given.

    Take everthing Lyle taught you and live it. In so many ways you already are. I am proud of you for that my brother, and I am fortunate to have you in my life.

  • Logan

    May our God shower you and Lyle’s Family with Grace and Mercy. To Him be the Glory

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