Summary: homily for memorial service for Gayle Lamb Nash
Today we are here to celebrate the life of Gayle Lamb Nash: a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a dear friend and a member of this parish.
Gayle was born on November 20, 1937 and was released from her pain on May 9, 2016. The birth and death statistics are always mentioned in obituaries, as if those define the totality of the person.
But what is most important, and what we want to remember today – is what happened between those two dates –
who Gayle was,
what she did and
what she meant to all of us,
in those 78 years.
One could rightfully say that Gayle was a person of commitment. She worked at Nationwide Insurance for thirty years. As we have heard, Nationwide was an integral part of her adult life. There she made contact with many people, both within the organization and in the greater Columbus business community. She knew a lot of the movers and shakers in the city and could enlist their aid for community projects, both large and small.
Gayle was a stalwart member of Trinity Church; she became a member when her children was young and was an active leader here. She taught Sunday School, served on and lead many committees, and was known to one and all as ‘the Christmas lady’. She was determined that the decorations for Advent and Christmas would be done beautifully and properly, and each year she directed everyone to make sure it was done ‘just right’. Some of the now adult members of the congregation remember well assisting her as children with hanging of swags, lighting candles and changing the bow from blue to red. For years, Gayle ensured that Trinity would look perfect as we progressed through the Advent/Christmas season.
She was a proud member of West High School Class of 1955, and was active in any activities related to the school throughout her life. She also attended The Ohio State University, and anyone who knew Gayle knew that scarlet and grey flowed in her veins. She was a constant and vigorous supporter of her beloved Buckeyes.
Gayle was always there, not only for her family, but also her friends and associates. But certainly her most loyal commitment was to her family.
Her grandchildren have posted remembrances on Facebook attesting to their love for her and how deeply important her love and caring has been in their lives. She often was a second mother to them, their rock, and someone they could come to when they needed advice.
Of course, not only was she dear to her children and grandchildren, but they were dear to her. She was proud of each and every one of them, their accomplishments and the young adults they have or are becoming. Her family was the most important thing to her.
I was lucky enough to have not only provided pastoral support, but also to have been a friend of Gayle’s. While I was going through the ordination process, she was always there to reaffirm my calling, and in later years, I always felt her love and support. I like, many who knew her, feel a loss in our hearts. But we have the memories of what she meant to us, what she did for us, and what she taught us to sustain us.
Always strong and determine in everything she did. Gayle was a trooper -through challenges and struggles, through good times and life’s changes, she ‘soldiered on; with unyielding purpose and strength of conviction. It is not surprising then, that Gayle fought her disease and her failing health to the very end. When I visited her shortly before she died, we planned this service. . . and she had definite ideas about what it should and shouldn’t be.
Gayle, You and God are in charge now, and we hope we are fulfilling your wishes!
Gayle’s faith kept her going throughout the past year. As a beloved child of God, she knew that death was not the end, but only the beginning of a new phase of her life. She knew she would be reunited with her parents and other loved ones who went before her. And that same faith assured her that those who she left on earth would be supported by the love of God until they were with her again.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes that
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heavens. A time to be born, and a
time to die; . . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; . . . a time to
love, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
So today we mourn the passing of Gayle Lamb Nash, and we may weep. Be we can also laugh and dance and be at peace, secure in the assurance of eternal life that we all share as promised by the resurrection of Jesus. We can hold close to each other with Gayle’s spirit alive in each of us, and for all eternity. As the poet Mary Elizabeth Frye beautifully express, we can hear Gayle remind us: