He Lived Life in all its Fullness: My Eulogy for Gary Baughn

I will never forget when Gary stood before the church family to give a Wednesday night invitation talk. His message was about influence based on Matthew 5:14-16 where Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” To make his point, he had someone turn out all the lights in the building. It was dark. Pitch dark. You couldn’t see Gary. Or anyone around you. Then he lighted a candle. And that single little flame provided so much light. You could see Gary and those around you. He made his point in dramatic fashion.

 Now he was gone. A massive heart attack claimed his life at only 43. And now I was to preach his funeral. What could I say? He was more than just one of the members of the church where I preached. Gary Baughn was my friend. My brother in Christ. Our families have known each other a long time. My mother knew Gary’s father, Rick, when he was a little boy. Rick was my Bible class teacher as a teenager growing up at Plainfield. My mother served as a baby sitter for Gary and his brother, Randy, for a period of time. When Gary was  at Florida College he spent a considerable amount of time at my parent’s home.  Gary led the singing at my Mom’s funeral.

Yesterday, I spoke at a memorial service in Brownsburg, Indiana, honoring Gary. At both services I used the text in John 10:10 where Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Another version renders this text, “I have come in order that you might have life–life in all its fullness.

Gary Baughn lived life in all its fullness.

That statement may not sound right since he was taken too soon at the age of 43. His grieving wife, April, is only 39. He left three teenage children. Fullness of life? How? Because living life in its fullness is not dependent upon the quantity of life. It is not measured by chronological age. One may live to be 90, but never experience a life in its fullness.

Living life in all its fullness is measured by the quality of life. The caliber of one’s life. The character of one’s life. By that standard Gary Baughn lived life in all its fullness. Almost three years ago on his Facebook page he posted “25 random things Gary .” (You can do a search and find the list). I noted some of them in the service that spoke to his love of music, adventure, riding his motorcycle, going to car shows, and snow skiing. But these alone did not give Gary the true abundant life.

Gary loved his work in the AV field. And he was good at it. I have three AV presentations that Gary did for me that I will always treasure. He worked “heartily as unto the Lord” (Col 3:23). Whatever Gary’s hand found to do, he did it with all his might (Eccl 9:10). He experienced the fullness of life through his work.

Gary enjoyed the fellowship of his friends. He was the epitome of Proverbs 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” He had friends all over the country. As a friend he was loyal. Loving. True. Devoted. He enjoyed the fullness of life through his friends.

Gary relished the affection of his family. He was a loving husband, a committed father, a devoted son, and a kind-hearted brother. He enjoyed family time at home. Family vacations. Date night with April. He wanted to be a better husband and father and worked to improve. Life in all its fullness was a vital part of Gary’s home.

The commonality of all aspects of Gary’s life was “in the Lord.” That’s why he lived life in all its fullness. He loved the Lord. Served the Lord. And lived for the Lord. It began when he was a young man and committed his life to Christ.  Gary wasn’t perfect, but he was pardoned. He wasn’t sinless, but he was sanctified. He wasn’t faultless, but he was forgiven.

He served as a deacon in his church family. He led singing. Taught classes. Presented short talks on Wednesday. Ran the AV equipment. When he died he had been working on the grounds at the church building.

We wonder why someone who lived such a full and rich life had to be taken from us so suddenly. But the truth is we live in a fallen, cruel and merciless world. “Time and chance happens to us all” (Eccl 9:11). Life isn’t fair. The young die as well as the aged; good people, as well as bad people; spiritual people as well as carnal people. So, it’s futile to try to figure this out.

But this I do know. As my mom used to say, “We’re not put on this earth to live forever.” “It is appointed unto man, once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. And fullness of life is not fulfilled in just this life, but in the one that is to come. Truly, the hope of heaven motivates each of us see beyond the here and now. To live for Jesus. And to let our light shine.

Gary Baughn’s light still shines. May its Christly reflection be seen in my life.  And in yours.

17 Comments

Filed under Eulogy, Funerals, Gary Baughn, Uncategorized

17 responses to “He Lived Life in all its Fullness: My Eulogy for Gary Baughn

  1. Don Elliott

    Gary was one of those rare people of whom it was impossible to say enough good things, and the only things that could be said about him are good. He was an extraordinary example of what we should all strive to be. The one thing that stands out most in my mind considering the state of our world today is the wonderful love he showed continually for his children and wife. Far too many males are not man enough to show their children the love that Gary showed his.

  2. Linda Baughn

    Thanks Ken for being such a good friend to Gary. I’m still amazed at the sheer numbers of people that came to his visitation, funeral, and memorial service. It was very evident that he was loved by so many. Hopefully, as time passes the ache in our hearts will ease and we will be able to laugh and smile at the good memories we share. There will always be a void in our lives but we are blessed to have the hope of being reunited with him one day.

    • You are welcome, Linda. Yes, the turn out at the two services was pretty incredible. I’m glad it was a source of comfort to you. I am thankful for our friendship and especially the past nine years that I was able to work closely with Gary. God bless. Ken

  3. Joy Rivera Beaumont

    Gary’s priorities were the Lord, April and his children. My daughter Tara told me of a time when Gary had planned date night for April and Tara went over to babysit. When she arrived Gary had dinner cooking, baby Savannah on his hip and was pushing the vacuum cleaner with the other hand all to surprise his wife!
    He was also the kind of friend you could call at any time to say, I need your help with a video presentation, a bass player or someone to stand by you in a difficult situation. Gary did all of those things for me and my sister Debbie while we were members of the same congregation.
    I did not see him every week like I used to but would still hear from him from time to time. I always thought he would be “just around the corner” until the next time. Instead, Gary – God be with you til we meet again. ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

    • Linda Baughn

      Thanks Joy for posting your memories of Gary. Since he lived 1000 miles away from us for the past 20 years we weren’t able to witness many things that his friends who lived closer did. It’s comforting to us to read things such as this. I knew he was loved but just didn’t realized how much until the amazing numbers of people came to pay their respects.

    • Tara Williams

      I remember that day very well. I walked into the house and while April was getting ready to go out, Gary was cooking dinner for the kids and me and vacuuming with Savannah on his hip. He had insisted that April, who had just gotten home from work, have time to decompress and get ready for “date night” with no worries or stress. And while he could have simply given me money to order a pizza or something, he preferred to cook a healthy dinner for the kids and me. I also remember taking driver’s ed. one summer and Gary taking me and picking me up everyday that summer so that I could get my driver’s license when I turned 16 in July. I never could talk him into letting me drive his red hot-rod car…but would tease him about it almost everyday. He was always so kind and treated every one he knew like we were family. He loved his wife and children so much and was such a wonderful example of what a husband and father should be. He taught me what a real man is and what I should look for in a husband. Most of all, he loved God and always made sure to put Him first in his life. You are deeply missed, Gary, by all who knew you. I will be looking forward to seeing you again when my time comes to die. I know you will be waiting there to give me a great big hug.

  4. MaryaAnn Atkins

    Well, I have attempted several times today to write on here. Instead of typing, I find myself in deep thought, pondering over our memories of the past years. I still can not believe that you are not here.. a text away. You were such an amazing person. You may have felt like you needed to improve in some areas, but, there are some of us that think you were just TOP NOTCH at anything that you did. It is comforting to reflect back on your life and see what an awesome father, husband, brother, son, uncle, friend and Christian you were. You were so good for our family in so many ways. I will always remember you for not wanting to be out late on Saturdays, because it was important to you to have the kids bathed and review their lessons for Sunday morning Bible Class. Our memories of cruises, weekends in Orlando, surprise Bday parties, theme parks… they will forever remain a part of our lives to keep you close to our hearts. You were taken so early and for that we will always have an empty space longing to have… one more day. I will not ever get that.. one last chance to talk to you.. but.. I will hold on to hope to one day meet again. We love you!

  5. Nancy Cloud

    So sorry for your loss. Theres seems no sense in early departures. I remember when my children were little and it was time for us to leave a reunion, gathering or just someplace where we were all having fun. If I were to tell them that it was time to go they seemed to fall apart at the seams! But if I only told them 10 minutes before we were to leave all seemed well and they were prepared to go home. God allows us time to prepare for our own departures. He has granted us His light to shine in and guide us closer to Him. Through the bible He has mapped our path. Best of all He has granted us all forgiveness of our sins through repentance. Gary had lived his life fully it appears. Is it not grand that when we do have to leave that He has prepared for us the heavens that we have only dreamed of?

  6. Chris Mazuros

    I had not known of Gary’s passing. I worked for him at The Vinoy Hotel in the Audio Visual Department and then a few years later with him at AVI. My heart and sympathy goes out to his family and friends.
    Chris Mazuros

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