Thanks, Dad, for the Legacy

By L.A. Stauffer

Loyd Arthur Stauffer, 81, died June 14 of complications following surgery at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois. He was born in Baylis and spent most of his life as a carpenter in Griggsville, two small obscure communities in west central Illinois. He is survived by his wife Harriet; two daughters, Pat (Mrs. Charles Kurtz) and Jan (Mrs. Dean Booth); and two sons, L.A. and Jim. The funeral and burial services at the Griggsville Cemetery were conducted June 17.

Dad, whose name I bear, calls to mind another carpenter of nearly 2,000 years ago who came from an obscure village of Galilee in northern Palestine. Neither of them was able to give to their heirs as the world gives. Jesus of Nazareth who, unlike foxes and birds, had no place to lay his head, possessed only the garments that clothed his body. He announced his legacy to a small band of disciples the night before his death:

My peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful (Jn. 14:27).

“A peace of God, which passeth all understanding, ” as the apostle Paul described it, is the total substance Jesus bequeathed to his disciples – a peace that would be received in the blessings that were soon to come by the gospel. As the world gives, Jesus could not give.

So it is with Dad. After his devoted and supportive wife of 56 years, an Alzheimer’s patient, is cared for, he, as Jesus, will have nothing to will. There may be a hammer, a saw, a level, a square, or a plumb line – the tools of his trade; or other momentos here and tokens of remembrance there. But as the world gives, Dad cannot give.

And yet he left a legacy of plenty. He leaves his family richly blessed with the same legacy of peace that Jesus left his disciples. Dad began offering this inheritance from our youth up. It is a gift that keeps on giving and is ours to accept or reject. Also!

When Pat and I started to school and Jan and Jim were still waddling around in diapers, Dad made what came to be a momentous decision – a decision for life that profoundly affected him and his family. February 1943 Dad confessed Jesus as Christ, was baptized for remission of sins, and was added to the church of his Lord. And, to him, this was no ritualistic, ceremonial, “join a church” ordinance. It was serious business – a total commitment to Christ, to the life and purity of Christ; a resolution to follow the Scriptures in all things. It was a genuine conversion, a transformation, a metamorphosis. To miss this fact is to miss the essence of Loyd Stauffer.

Legacy of Faith

Out of this commitment came to his children a legacy of faith. I still recall how immediately he began assembling the entire family before the old coal stove to read the Bible, learn a Bible story or lesson, and bow, each one of us separately, the knee to God in prayer. He taught us that God is and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him. He impressed us with the truth that Jesus was no mere man – but God’s only begotten Son. He instructed us that right and wrong, whether in morals, ethics, or religious truth, are measured by the Bible.

Legacy of a Good Name

And out of that faith developed an honorable name based on a life of honesty and goodness in the community. If his name and reputation were ever sullied by an evil deed, I never knew it. And, believe me, I was often reminded of that good name. When I would tread on forbidden ground -Harry Carnes’ Pool Hall – to play a game of eight-ball or rotation for a dime a game, some of the oldtimers would invariably ask: “What if Loyd could see you now?” When I told an off-color joke or used unbecoming language, someone let me know that Loyd would never countenance such behavior in his kids. His legacy of a “good” and “honored” name is “rather to be chosen than great riches” (Prov. 22:1).

Legacy of a Husband’s Love

Dad also took seriously the Lord’s teaching to “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church ” and to “love (your) own wives as (your) own bodies” (Eph. 5:25,28). Dad was a kind and gentle man who never in my 18 years at home laid one finger on Mom in anger. I never heard him abuse her with harsh words or ugly threats. Can you believe I remember at no time the two of them having a rancorous or heated argument? And he did not believe in “nights out with the guys.” He always came directly home from work and stayed there with the family. I still remember my anger when he refused to attend one of my basketball games because Mom was not able to go. They were inseparable, except for the few times one of them was hospitalized. He, as the Bible teaches, willingly gave up his right to independence when he married and willed to his offspring the example of a husband who gave himself totally and unselfishly to the needs of his wife.

Legacy of Faithfulness in the Church

Dad, finally, was a strong believer in the church – the need in life for a body of people who assemble for spiritual and divine purposes. We owned no automobile during my school days and lived several miles from a place of assembly. But he would always hitch a ride for the entire family. After Grandpa died in 195 1, Dad had access to his old green Ford and I dare says we never missed gathering with the saints on a Sunday or a Wednesday. I still remember Dad walking seven miles to attend a gospel meeting when no ride was available. He bequeathed to us the importance of the church for which his Savior died.

Dad, to be sure, had faults. He had his warts and blemishes and spiritual scars. I wouldn’t leave the impression that he totally measured up to the Carpenter from Galilee or that he could walk on water. But he was a man of integrity, of honor, of uprightness – who believed in and loved God with all his heart, who devoted himself to his family, and who committed himself to righteousness in all aspects of life. And as blind as I am to his faults and as biased as this tribute to him may be, I know he couldn’t walk on water- but I some how believe that had he tried he would not have sunk very deep. Thanks, Dad, for the legacy!

Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 15, pp. 451-452
August 2, 1990