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What We Can Learn From the "Lesser Knowns"

The media makes note of the well-known celebrities who die, and this year there is quite a long, sad list: John Ritter. Fred Rogers. Johnny Cash. June Carter Cash. Bob Hope. David Brinkley. Gregory Peck. Katharine Hepburn. Buddy Hackett. Buddy Ebsen. But we also lost a lot of lesser or little knowns-- people who never the less contributed their many gifts to the betterment of us all. It is always interesting what you find out about a person at a funeral or memorial service.

My husband and I walked into a funeral home recently for the wake of my co-worker’s father, Earl D. Greaser. He was a long time member of an a cappella quartet and was a great lover of music, so at his memorial service it was natural to celebrate his life with much music of the church. He seemed young at 76, but had lived long enough to see his personal dream fulfilled: overseeing the completion of an entire beautiful retirement village here in Virginia with state-of-the-art and quality care for persons of all income levels and stages of ability.

Earl spent most of his career working with elderly persons in one

facility or another, born out of a desire to help care for those who

couldn’t care for themselves. At his memorial service I learned about

another side to this renaissance man: not only was he a church leader,

musician and retirement village visionary, but the kind of man who would

drop what he was doing to go and help someone else whether it was

installing a switch for a well pump, "Uh, I’ve never done that before,

but let’s see what we can figure out" or loaning the use of his carpenter

shop and tools to a young father who wanted to build a crib for his

baby-to-be. There were many other stories along these lines.

I wish some of his spirit would rub off on more of us, too: always ready

to take the time to help someone else. If you haven’t written your New

Year’s resolutions yet, here are two maybe different ones to consider:

Take time to be more childlike, or just enjoy being with a child; and

take time to help other people. - Contributed by Melodie Davis

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