Saints Notes June 26, 2012
Usually this space is about the school, sometimes its stuff that comes to mind or other 'brain droppings' as comedian George Carlin used to say (one of the few Carlin quotes one can actually use!).
My dad, William R Mossner, died today. He's starting his new life in heaven with Christ Jesus, his Savior. As one of my friends put it, no doubt quickly volunteering to help out around the place. (Dad was an active, eager, and most willing volunteer.)
If you never knew my dad, I'm sure you know someone like him. The guy who helps quietly. The servant who shows up early to help set-up, brings ideas and constructive thoughts to meetings, and willing serves and leads when asked. The person who doesn't seek or even want to be noticed - just wants to help get things done and help others. The person with seemingly endless amounts of energy, smiles, and encouraging words.
That's my dad.
He suffered a stroke Sunday while helping at the Indianapolis Air Show - an event he became connected to when Thrivent Financial for Lutherans was the primary sponsor. This was the seventh year he helped, either with configuring parking lots or physically helping direct cars to their spaces, and this year he was in the dispatch center. On his third day of helping - he complained (something he didn't do much) of a headache and became ill. It was a stroke.
Several months ago, Dad was diagnosed with what was called 'pre-leukemia' and through his treatments for it, continued working full-time as a metallurgical engineer in the powder metal industry at Advanced Metal Working.
I never 'got' the math and science genes from my dad, but was blessed with so many other great gifts from him. He and I traveled together - making it a mission to get to various state capitals. These weren't just visits, mind you, I took notes on the guided capitol tour - made it a mission to meet the Secretary of State and legislators, if possible (mmm, wonder why I first went into journalism out of college?) and put together scrapbooks of those visits to the Capitol buildings and other noteworthy attractions. We made it to 35 capitals before I had a high school job and the distance became too far to make the trip from Wisconsin.
Did you know, for example, that North Dakota's State Capitol is actually a high-rise building without any fancy dome because during the depression the smart folks there wanted to be practical? Or that in Missouri - two people can stand across the rotunda dome from each other and whisper against the wall and can be easily heard on the other side? Yep - good stuff there. Countless great memories from those trips - singing, conversations, and inexpensive lunches (i recall us purchasing bread and baloney one time; of course since other meals don't come to mind it was worth it).
Dad always worked hard - he loved what he did - and provided a great example about working to the best of his ability at all times. He would go in early, he told me, so he wouldn't have to work on the weekends to catch up and be able to spend time with us at home.
Dad loved to write - especially poetry. That is something I received from him - the joy of writing - a skill that helped during ten plus years in journalism and now working in development. The art of a well-turned phrase or subtle line that carries a punch is to be enjoyed. He wrote poems and children's books - I remember him writing one, Bobby the Bug, because I asked him to write something for our 5th grade Christmas Party at St. Paul's Lutheran School (he told me that I turned down his first version as not good enough). He recently self-published that book - you 'Good Search' it online. Back in Janesville, he and my mom put together a weekly publication called 'Mission Lights,' that was distributed to area churches - loose dimes in the offering plates were distributed to Bethesda Lutheran Home in Watertown, LCFS, and American Bible Translators. Each one had a poem Dad wrote.
In his field, fairly specialized in the world of engineering, he contributed and served as a volunteer on committees and teams at levels from the local to international. Frankly, I wouldn't understand a word of what he may have been talking about - but he could find ways to explain it at a level others could grasp.
Mom and Dad were married in 1961 - August 19 would have been their 51st Anniversary - and mom is the only woman he ever dated.
They volunteered and served at church together and individually. If there was an AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans now Thrivent Financial for Lutherans) branch meeting, they were there and probably working it as well. At church, Dad served as an elder, trustee, usher, evangelism, bible study teacher, and served in a number of other capacities. If there was something that needed doing, 'Bill' was a person you wanted to call.
He started helping on some local runs and walks as a course marshall - just to help out, just responding to a request for assistance.
I get tired just thinking about it. Dad made numerous trips over the years to wherever Rhonda and I were living to help make some repairs or light construction. That's another gene that I didn't get. After changing batteries or light bulbs - my handyman skills are pretty much exhausted.
I do enjoy volunteering and helping others; serving Lutheran High School of Indianapolis has been a real blessing. And in good Lutheran tradition - work and volunteering - go hand in hand and in the same place. (If it weren't for my folks moving to Carmel a dozen or so years ago, I would not have known about LHSI when a development position came open and not have had the blessing to serve here or for Rhonda and I to have our son, Mark, graduate with the Class of 2008.)
Most important, my dad is a man of faith. A strong follower of Jesus Christ. Of things I received from him - a love of puns, volunteer, good worker (I hope) - none is more important than the faith walk he demonstrated each day of his life. He led by example - with daily devotions (I remember reading from the Bible during those family devotions around the kitchen table) and forgiving heart.
Was he perfect? No. But he was and is forgiven.
So, my encouragement is for you to say thank you to the people in your life that have passed through your thoughts as you read this piece - give them a call, send them a text or email, maybe (gasp) write them a card or letter - and say thank you.
They will appreciate it and you will be glad you did.
Dad leaves his wife of 50 years, Edith. Me (wife, Rhonda, sons Matthew and Mark) and Danielle (husband Jonathan, children Marta and Harmon).
Thank you, Dad - I love you. One of his poems is called, Always Leave 'Em Laughing, it's a fitting end to this blog:
Always Leave Them Laughing
Always leave them laughing; Leave them wanting more.
That's the entertainer's adage; Throughout theatric lore.
It's a lesson from creation; From the life we mortals know.
For a life is but a flicker; As earthly ages go.
For if your years be twenty; Or beyond four score you read,
The things in life of interest: Will all your time exceed.
There are mountains that need climbing; Or one, at least, must view.
There are oceans that need crossing; There is so much to do.
There are cities yet to visit; There are causes to be fought.
And in every field of science; Much could be learned or taught.
There are astronomic wonders; And beneath the microscope,
May be the types of answers; To bring others hope.
Concepts of mathematics; Are wondrous in themselves.
As are the many legends; Of giants, dwarves and elves.
There are poems to be written; And buildings to be built.
There are roses for beholding; And one could learn to quilt!
There are lessons to be studied; In our Creator's book;
Exploring all the meanings; That other scholors took.
Every occupation; Has skills that could be learned.
And hungry people need us; We all must be concerned.
I know the joys of Heaven; Put those on earth to shame.
But I shall wax nostalgic; When I am called by name.
For though it's but a portal; Death comes as does a thief.
For life knows many glories; And yet it's all too brief.
-William R. Mossner