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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Memories of Lloyd Alvero Read, part 6


1 Introducing Ancestors

2 Childhood and Youth

3 Responsibilities

4 Shifting Fortunes

5 I Retired and Retired and Retired . . .

6 The Ending

6 The Ending

Lloyd Read continued to preach guest sermons for various Christian churches in Marion County, and he continued to sing solos until an advanced age. I heard him sing “The Holy City” at a church dinner I attended in the 1970s, and everybody was amazed at the power of his voice in his mid-80s.

He continued to work in his garden until he was in his 90s.

When I moved to Oregon after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in English, he asked me if I would write his biography, and we started these interviews in the spring of 1980. We worked on the project through the spring and into the summer, and when we were finished with the interviews, he gave me some of his diaries to read and to make notes. But soon I had to find a job and get some money coming in to pay my bills, and when I went back to school to get advanced degrees, this project got put aside.

I took this picture of Lillie and Lloyd in 1986
I stayed with Grammy and Grandpa many weekends when I could get away from University of Oregon the year I was there working on a Ph.D. degree. We had good times those weekends, but we never somehow focused on this project again. Grandpa was active until very late in his life, and he was as sharp and clear in his mind as always. But he was increasingly feeble. One weekend Grammy had me cut his toenails because nobody else could do it anymore; his nails were very thick and yellow with fungus.

About a year after I left University of Oregon in June 1986, he had to go to a nursing home at Sublimity to live. Grammy couldn’t take care of him anymore. He had been staying in bed all day, sleeping more and more, eating very little, complaining that nothing tasted good enough anymore. Grammy made him go to the home when he refused to get up at all and stopped eating. He came home for visits, but that stopped after a while.

Back during those weekends I spent with them, he had talked with me a couple of times about why the Lord would make him keep living when he felt he ought to be going on; he was tired and he wanted to go. He asked me if I thought that the Lord was making him stay to pay for the things he had done wrong in his life. I remember my answer— that it didn’t matter whether he made the payment here or in the hereafter, but that I believed that he had to pay for the wrongs he had told me about. He did not answer directly. But his eyes filled up with tears and he left the room in a hurry. He did have a dark side; I have chosen not to talk more about it than this paragraph. He made choices and took actions that I told him had been wrong, and when he tried to justify his choices, I was able to convince him he was absolutely wrong. I don't know why he took that from me, but perhaps it had to do with the fact that he had asked me to write his story, the story of a Christian gentleman, but I could not write it the way he had wanted it; it needed that crucial conversation and a sign of some kind that he had acted like a Christian in acknowledging his need for repentance, for forgiveness. I do not know whether he will ever get forgiveness from some of his kin. But at least I know that in the end, he had come to the realization he needed it. I believe in the hereafter; I believe in the power of Jesus Christ to wipe away the sins of those who truly repent. I believe my grandfather will experience a sore repentance, with many bitter tears and much, much sorrow, for the things he did were quite serious and consequential. I believe he had taken the first steps on that difficult road, and I hope he paid his debts in the end, to whatever extent justice and mercy both demand. May God heal all the hearts broken so far.

I visited him in Sublimity each time I returned to Oregon; he passed away on April 29, 1989, at the age of 98 years and almost 9 months.

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