Summary: This is a eulogy for a man in his late 50's who gave his life to Christ about six months before he died. He was loved by his family but not very active in the church.
Eulogy Gary Allen Chappell by Rick Gillespie- Mobley
Gary Allen Chappell came into this world in 1962 when John F Kennedy was president, and Dr. king was growing in influence in the midst of a Civil Rights movement. Gary was the youngest of Clarence’s and Phyllis’s five children. But being the youngest didn’t stop him from growing up to be a fighter and protector of his older sisters.
He was , a son, brother, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, and co worker. He was born, he lived, he died, he went home to a place prepared for him. We all go through that cycle of birth, life, and death because its automatic. Yet it takes a willful decision on our parts to go home to place prepared for us.
For those who remain on this side of death, the Bible tells us, there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. A time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to hope and a time to give up, a time for joy and a time for pain, a time to be born and a time to die. The one experience that is common to us all is death. It is as common and as natural as all the other things done under the sun.
The Scriptures tell us that there is a way that seems right to a person, but at the end of it is death. If we are all living in order that we might some day die, it should be of utmost important that we live in such way that in the end our lives would not have been lived in vain. Whether or not we have lived in vain will not be determined by how much we accumulated in terms of material goods, for naked we came into this world, and naked we go out.
What truly matters is what is the condition of our relationship to God when we take our final breath. You and I will take that relationship into eternity.
Although I got to meet Gary on a couple of occasions I did not get to know him, but I did get a closer glimpse of him through the eyes of his sisters, his mother, his daughter, and other family members. They described Gary as a no no-nonsense but comical kind of a guy. He was free hearted, even-keeled in his personality and willing to help out
God sends everybody into the world with a gift to offer to the rest of humanity. God blessed Gary with a heart for the underdog. He was a person of compassion. There was a love in his heart for animals. As much as he loved his daughter Derria, she said it almost broke his heart when she told him she had run over a squirrel. He did not understand how his daughter could do such a cruel thing.
He had a compassion for children. His family felt that he should have been a teacher because he was always trying to invest himself in kids both in the community as well as in his extended family. Gary took joy in doing little things for kids like buying them all ice creams or popsicles and passing them out. His desire to serve as a life guard may have been rooted in wanting to be there to help to save others.
He had compassion for his sisters. They knew even though they could beat up on him, he was not going to let anyone get away with doing something to harm them.
Normally when you are the youngest and the last in the family, you get to be spoiled. Well Gary was no exception, and most of the time he did not use it to his advantage. However, there was one situation in which he could not resist. I’m not quite sure how it happened but Gary grew up at a time when Motown was still high on the charts, but this young black boy fell in love with Elvis Presley. When Elvis came on tv, the rest of his sisters and brothers had to allow Gary to watch Elvis on the color tv.
It may be that Elvis reminded Gary of Evel Keneval. They both were those white jump suits back in the day. Evel Keneval had a motorcycle and he would ride up a ramp to jump over cars and trucks and come down the ramp on the other side.
One of Gary’s favorite things to do was to line boxes and see how many of them he could jump over with his bicycle. When he wasn’t doing it himself, he was doing it with his hot wheel collection of little cars racing down that orange track and doing a loop before launching into the air. The one Christmas gift he loved above all others was the electric football game. Who remembers that green and white field? You lined up your players, flipped the switch, and hoped they would go in the direction you wanted them to go.