Tomorrow we say goodbye to an old friend of the family that passed away last Thursday. Our good friend Jack was stationed at Holomon AFB in New Mexico when my dad was there. He was the inspiration for my dad getting his Amateur Radio license, or ham radio. His call sign was K5ESF and had a high frequency (HF) rig in the dorm room when my dad was introduced to him in 1958. My dad was so impressed that he got a ham radio license and has had it ever since. When I was in high school in 1983, I got my own ham radio license. In 2004, my wife got her ham radio license. He was a good man that loved God and wanted to learn as much as he could about Him. He was a former Air Force pilot/mechanic/radio operator and many other careers. Jack was not from Oklahoma but rather from Oregon. After more than 40 years had past, my dad had found Jack again on the ham radio. He was surprised to find that Jack only lived two miles away from our home in Del City. Jack had married Gloria many years after my dad knew him and Gloria was the aunt of my next door neighbor when I was a kid. It was a string of amazing coincidences.
Jack and his wife Gloria, who also passed away two weeks ago had a miraculous survival story during the May 3, 1999 F5 tornado that came through Del City, Oklahoma. At 80 years old they saw on TV how it was coming directly toward their home and then tried to run from it. They got in their car and drove toward SE 44th and Sunnylane when the tornado caught up with them. They leaned forward with their hands over their heads while the tornado totalled their car. It ripped the mirrors off, flattened their tires and blew out all the windows of their car. Once it passed, they only had a few scratches. Gloria decided to try to walk home since their car would not start. Someone came to them and asked if they were okay and Jack answered “Yes but I cannot start the car. The man opened the trunk and flipped a switch and got it started.
Jack started to try to drive home and could not find his home. The houses were gone and the signs were gone as well. A woman came screaming to him asking to take her husband to the hospital because he was having a heart attack. They got in the car and Jack attempted to drive on flat tires to the hospital when someone stopped them saying there were power lines in the road. Jack turned around and the man and woman were gone. He never saw them get out of the car. When he finally made it home, his house was still standing though both houses on either side were gone. After the Insurance inspected the house, it was discovered that the house had shifted on its foundation and had to be torn down and rebuilt.
Last Thursday Jack joined Gloria in going to Jesus. Tomorrow we pay our respects to him at his funeral. I know both Jack and Gloria are much better off now as they are in heaven. As Jesus said to the robber on the cross in Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” My wife and I will be at his funeral tomorrow and say goodbye.