Today’s Word from Pastor Jim

Jerry Valade died suddenly last Monday.

Jerry and his parents, Laurier and Mabel, were immigrants coming to the land of opportunity on October 10, 1942. They crossed the U.S. border at Sweet Grass, Montana, and made their way to San Diego to live with Laurier’s sister. Jerry’s father then enlisted in the Army and fought in World War II.

Jerry would find, and be married to, the love of his life, Clodagh Plummer. Jerry spent his life in public service in Alaska and Washington. He was a counselor working with troubled young people. Though his work did not pay much, he found it to be a meaningful calling. Jerry enjoyed nature, hiking, and Native North American art. He was an avid reader, a computer wiz, and a deep thinker. Jerry and Clodagh explored much of the world together before retiring to Langley some twenty years ago.

The Valade’s quickly found their assigned seats at TLC and worshiped pretty much every Sunday. Jerry traveled with me to Israel in 2010. In 2016, Clodagh died and was laid to rest in the columbarium located in the TLC Memorial courtyard. Jerry’s world began to shrink; he was devoted to his little poodle named Blue.

Jerry made an appointment to visit me in my office. We talked about Clodagh, about life and death, faith and doubt. As I said, Jerry was a deep thinker. He was concerned about being faithful in life and in death. Some weeks later, he made an appointment with a Whidbey Island lawyer. He made out his last will and testament. He wanted his final statement in this world to be consistent with the values of his life.

Jerry died very suddenly at his home in Langley. I was called to his side that day; I walked through a house filled with memories and reflected upon my many visits there. In Jerry’s will he expressed his hope that he could die at home, he designated me as the executor of his estate, and he left the vast majority of his worldly possessions to TLC. Jerry’s last statement in this world was indeed consistent with the values of his life.

Jerry was not worried about legacy; his only concern was faithfulness. Blessed to be a blessing, it was his intention to bless others. Island residents, college students, and our most vulnerable neighbors will benefit from Jerry’s thoughtfulness for generations to come.

Felicia and I have included Trinity Lutheran Church in our estate plan. It does not matter how big the gift is, the point is to acknowledge that it was all gift. All of life was a gift to us; every day was a gift. The point is to make our final statement to our children and grandchildren consistent with the values of our lives. It is our last opportunity, if you will, to teach them.

Blessed to be a blessing.

One day closer,
Pastor Jim