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Summary: This is a funeral I delivered for the newspaper editor in our small community.

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2 Timothy 4:6-8

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award to me on that day… and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

SERMON: “A Small Town Man”

In 1985, a popular singer by the name of John Mellencamp penned the following words to a song, a song called “Small Town”. These words sum up so much of what I believe Dale’s philosophy on life was and I would like to share them with you.

Small Town

- John Cougar Mellencamp

’Well I was born in a small town

And I live in a small town

Prob’ly die in a small town

Oh, those small communities

All my friends are so small town

My parents live in the same small town

My job is so small town

Provides little opportunity

Educated in a small town

Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town

Used to daydream in that small town

Another boring romantic that’s me

But I’ve seen it all in a small town

Had myself a ball in a small town

Married a small town girl

And she’s small town just like me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from

I cannot forget the people who love me

Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town

And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town

Still hayseed enough to say

Look who’s in the big town?

But my bed is in a small town

Oh, and that’s good enough for me

Well I was born in a small town

And I can breathe in a small town

Gonna die in this small town

And that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me’

Dale was everything that this song’s author claims to be. Dale was a champion of the small town and small town life in general. Dale knew and loved the values that small town life had to offer. Dale loved this community. He was born here, educated here, married here, raised a family here. He worked, prayed, worshipped, loved, laughed and now, has died here. And as the song goes, he will be buried here. And that’s the way he would have wanted it. Dale championed everything that small towns embodied; the homespun values, the simple things like having a cup of coffee in the local café, visiting your neighbors in the post office while getting the mail, and setting your schedule by the noon and 6:00 whistles. Dale would have loved the old joke that goes; “You know you’re in a small town when you make a phone call, get a wrong number and wind up talking for half an hour anyway. Like Dale, I too enjoy small town life. I enjoy the freedoms and values we have here. I enjoy not worrying about having to lock my home every time I leave. I love the fact that our children can get on their bikes or skateboards and ride around town without fear of being kidnapped, shot or molested because I know that everyone in town knows them and will keep an eye on them. I enjoy the fact that I can leave my car in the driveway with the keys in it. But then, I guess if someone really wants a GEO Metro with 236,000 miles on it, they can have it. I, like most of the residents of this small town called Fonda, enjoy the things that made this community so special to Dale. Dale loved the things Fonda was, is and could still be; things like the 4th of July Celebration with the children’s games and fireworks, the Memorial Day services, baseball tournaments, the potluck dinners and ice-cream socials, the centennial and quasquicentennial celebrations, and Labor Day. Dale loved the local sports and was a big booster for the Fonda Flyers and, after consolidation, the Newell-Fonda Mustangs. Every time the Mustangs would go to State in basketball, the team would pull into Fonda on the way to Des Moines and stop right in front of the Times office and Dale would come out and take their picture for posterity. He loved those teams! All of them!


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