Sunday, September 4, 2011
November 23, 1920 - August 10, 2011
My Grandpa passed away in August. It has been really hard to cope with this. He was just the most incredible man, and every day, I miss him so much. As I stood in church today, tears were just flowing as I remembered him--his amazing life and his faith in God. I miss him SO much, and will always cherish the person that he was to me and everything that he has taught me. I've included the eulogy that I read at his funeral service below. I love you, my Grandpa-
Hi everyone. I’m Kelly Sprinkle, the oldest Grandchild of Calvin Thomas Spinks…my precious Grandfather—who was one of a kind. I have the honor of reflecting on his amazing life today, and I am so very thankful to have had the world’s greatest Grandfather. On behalf of my family, we thank you for being here today to celebrate his life with us—your presence is such a testimony to who he was.
This past year has been difficult for my family. Losing Bigma in January…and losing Grandpa seven months later. As Grandma and I were sitting by Grandpa’s Bedside the other morning, she reflected on the fact that we’ve lost “two beautiful lives.” And truly, my Bigma and my Grandpa were beautiful people. Heaven is certainly rejoicing to welcome my Grandpa Calvin.
How do I capture 90 years of a beautiful life—the life of a man who loved God, family, church and community and gave so much of himself to others. The man who was always there for me…always wore a button down shirt…and always stood for what is right?
Micah 6:8 says…
And he has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk with your God.
Grandpa’s life is a walking, living, breathing lesson for us all on how to walk with God. So I’d like to remember today what my Grandpa has taught us, quintessentially titled…
“Letters and Lessons from Grandpa”
Lesson One: He taught us to always learn. “We never get too old to learn…” he said to me in a letter on my wedding day. “So always keep your mind sharp,” he said to me. He was the smartest man I know.
Lesson Two: He taught us how to honor marriage. Oh, the love he had for Grandma….
In 1995, Grandpa wrote this poem to Grandma, entitled:
Walking Through Life With You
Does fate bring two people together
In searching for a partner in life;
Someone to share happiness and trouble
Whether going through joy or strife?
The one I found is the only one
Who could fill the bill for me;
Wife and Mother gracious and kind
For all the world to see.
If by some wave of a magic wand
I were allowed to begin anew,
I'd still choose the little girl next door
And walk again through Life with you.
And his love was reciprocated by my beautiful Grandmother. In her, I see the strength gained from a lifetime of marriage with her best friend. How courageous she has been in these past few months, weeks and days. How solid her faith has been, and what an inspiration she has been to us all. The love that you and Grandpa share is inspiring.
Lesson Three: He taught us to laugh. His wit and sly humor could not be found in another. He always tickled me with the way he would slip a little humor into any conversation. In a note he wrote to me after Natalie’s birthday party, he said, “Things got a little Raucous at times for Grandpa, but it was Natalie’s birthday and that is just how it is supposed to be.” J An excerpt from a poem he wrote to Katy and Lonnie reads, “Katy will preside over the x-rays. She will know what you’ve got inside. Hold on to your pocket book folks, that girl will take off your hide.” He was able to make you smile in the midst of any situation.
Lesson Four: He taught us to be courageous. I describe my Grandpa as stalwart and lionhearted. He faced his terminal diagnosis with grace and courage. He served in World War II. He lived through the Great Depression. He was of the “greatest generation.” He was so brave. He stood for his convictions. He wrote letters to the editor. He spoke his mind.
Lesson Five: He taught us to work hard. He worked hard for MANY, many years. He was still going into the office just before he died. In a letter he wrote me, he shared that in whatever field of work we are in, we have the opportunity to help others. He believed in this, and worked hard every day to ensure that others were helped…
Lesson Six: He taught us to cherish our history. He conducted priceless research for our family and compiled our history and our family tree. I wish I would have transcribed every single story, every single moment that he shared with us, because they are all such precious jewels. I am grateful for his passion for history and know that we will continue to cherish his work.
Lesson Seven: He taught us to uphold our family and love each other. He was the patriarch of our family. He loved each of us so much and walked our dogs and put gas in our cars and gave us toilet paper at Christmas and always left us little notes wherever he had been saying, “Grandpa was here.” He loved his wife, Roy, Gail, Tracy, Daddy, four grandchildren and our spouses and 3 great-grandchildren so much. A dear friend wrote to me:
“He was a sweet gift, Kel, a blessed one to your family from the Lord. Let’s thank God for thinking so much of you and your family that He would loan your Grandpa for all of these years. What fruitful seeds Mr. Calvin sowed amongst his offspring!”
And he was everything to all of us, and will continue to live on in us as we love each other the way he taught us to…
Lesson Eight: He taught us to be generous. He and my grandma gave so much to us and to others. In a little note I found, Grandpa wrote “Just a little something to help out until things get better. They will get better for God is good.”
Lesson Nine: He taught us to live a good life:
I love this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “And in the end, it’s not the years in a life, it’s the life in the years.” Oh, my Grandpa did not waste a minute, but lived life with love, humor and compassion.
Lesson Ten: He taught us to love the Lord with all of our hearts. And above all else, Grandpa gave thanks to God, His Creator and Savior. When he learned of his cancer, his first words to Grandma were, “God’s been good to us.” He was active in church, a man of God’s word and glorified God with the way he lived his life.
Oh, how I could go on and on about him. I could tell your hundreds of lessons I’ve learned from my Grandpa. But he might shake his finger at me and tell me that I was talking too much, so in that, I’ll honor him too!
I compare my Grandpa’s life to the book of Proverbs—full of wisdom and truth.
Proverbs 1: 8-9 states:
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.”
So may the lessons that Grandpa taught us be like a garland to grace our heads and chains to adorn our necks. May we carry his legacy of love and faithfulness on. I reflect on my grandfather’s life today with a conviction of spirit. I am convicted to honor his memory and to love and serve others and my Father in heaven just as Grandpa did.
Oh, how we will miss you Grandpa. But we rejoice because your spirit lives.
In Job, it states:
“I know that my Redeemer lives,
And that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
Yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
With my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!”
And so, my Grandpa, you have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith. I will miss you with all of my heart.
Thank you for loving my family during this difficult time and for celebrating Grandpa’s beautiful life with us. I hope you’ll carry on the lessons from Grandpa, too!