“Hang in There:” In Memory of My Dad, Roy C. Weliever

Dad.RoyWeliever

I’ll never forget that day. It was a Thursday. April 21. 1994.

Kent Heaton came to take me to the airport. Dad and I were sitting in the sun room of the nursing home. I turned and said, “Dad, I’ve got to go home now. I’ve got a meeting that starts Sunday in Smyrna, TN. Anything you want to tell Norma and the kids?”

He looked up with a glint in those big blue eyes, with firm jaw, a wry grin, and the little nod of the head that he always did when he wanted to emphasize a point and said, “Tell ‘em to hang in there!”

Those were his final words to me. He died the following Monday. Tomorrow will mark the 20th anniversary of Dad’s passing from earth to heaven.

I have reflected on those words so many times. Simple. Succinct. Straightforward. Just like Dad! He was not a worldly, sophisticated man. He was a modest, no-nonsense, down to earth kind of man.   “Hang in there!”  That’s what Dad did.  His whole life.

My father, Roy C. Weliever, was a part of “The Greatest Generation,” dubbed by Tom Brokaw who “gave so much and asked so little.”  He was born on July 28,1918, in Montgomery County, Indiana, outside of little town called New Ross. He grew up working on the farm and lived through the Great Depression. Times were tough, but his family taught him what it meant “to hang in there!”

After graduating from the High School and serving two years in the Army, Dad moved to Indianapolis and began working at the U.S. Rubber Company, which later became Uniroyal. There he met Mattie Katherine Key, an 18 year old girl who had moved from Butler County, Kentucky, to find work. They married on October 26, 1946.

Soon after I was born in March of 1948, they moved to the country outside of Plainfield, Indiana, and lived there until Dad and Mom retired to Florida in 1976. On that little plot of ground, my brother, Bill and I, learned from Dad the values of hard work. Thrift. Honesty. Integrity. Decency. And dependability.

Dad never made a lot of money. But he lived by a common belief of that era that “it’s not much you make, it’s how much you save.” We learned to work, not whine. We learned when you produce something of value, it is rewarded. And we were taught that “life is not always fair.”

Soon after Dad and Mom were married, he made a commitment to Christ, and became a Christian. While my Mom had strong influence in Dad’s early spiritual growth, there was no doubt who was the leader of our home. He took discipleship seriously. I can still see him sitting in his big chair, reading the Bible. No meal was ever eaten before Dad lead our family in a fervent, heart-felt prayer. I can still hear the tone of reverence and respect in his voice when he prayed.

Dad was not an eloquent man, but in his own unpretentious way taught Bible classes. Gave devotional talks. Shared the gospel. Served as a deacon in the local church. And eventually was asked to be one of the Shepherds. Dad was responsible for many people obeying the Gospel through some, simple fill-in-blank Bible studies he taught. Raymond Harris once told me of a period one winter where he baptized 11 people who Dad had personally taught.

I can look back and see my Dad growing from a good follower of Christ, to a humble spiritual leader. He set before us a godly example. Demonstrated the virtue of self-discipline. And practiced personal spiritual renewal.   Dad held firm to his convictions, and encouraged us to do the same.

My Dad believed, taught and exemplified that spiritual values were more important than physical matters. To “seek first the Kingdom of God.” “To lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” And “To trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Dad encouraged me to preach. He always provided a car filled with gas so I could go on preaching appointments as a “boy preacher” around central Indiana. But he also expected me to “practice what I preach.” I remember once receiving a letter from Dad while in college. He felt like I might have been getting “off track” in my daily life. He kindly admonished me. And then just wrote the reference Romans 12:1-2 at the bottom of the letter, which says…

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

As I grow closer to the age when Dad died, I’m reminded of my own morality. My constant need for renewal. The importance of persistence. And the resolve to “press on toward the mark.”

The precious memory of my Dad encourages, inspires and motivates me. And his last words spurn me on to “hang in there!”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

31 Comments

Filed under Eulogy

31 responses to ““Hang in There:” In Memory of My Dad, Roy C. Weliever

  1. Billie

    what a great tribute to your Dad. I never met your dad but was so blessed to be able to spend some special time with your Mom.

  2. John Grant

    What a wonderful tribute.

  3. Stephen Segrest

    Just a quick thank you from all of us that include your lessons in our morning or lunch “quiet times” with God.

  4. Well said, Kenny. I’m sure he continues to be proud of the “boy preacher” who has grown in the spirit and grace of the Lord.

  5. Linda Baughn

    Excellent tribute to your Dad. He was a good man and a great example. I can remember one time at Plainfield when I came in the back door of the church building after taking Gary out for the umpteenth time. Your Dad was standing there and his words to me were – “hang in there, it will all be worth it”. I’ve never forgotten those words and he was right, Gary turned out to be a fine man. Thanks for the memories.

  6. Melanie (Dorn) Means

    I loved your dad! I always thought so much of him when I was a kid, he was always so very kind to me!

  7. Hey Ken

    A beautiful tribute to an honorable man. #HUGS

    I came across your blog post in the Facebook Blog Challenge Group, and was drawn to your title. As a writer, you have excelled. As a human being, I am glad you had such a noble example to follow.

    Keep writing…and ‘hanging in there’

    BEST wishes
    Kitto

  8. Roger Shouse

    Ken, thanks for sharing that. I visited often with your dad when he was in Florida. He made me feel right at home. He was a pillar in central Indiana for so many years and now that rich blood runs in you. Like him, you have touched many lives and made them see Jesus. It was an honor to know him and a blessing to know you.

  9. Ruth Conger

    Oh Ken, this brought back so many precious memories of those days when your Dad was Elder at Plainfield. Absolute love, respect and honor for Roy Weliever!

  10. Bill Hood

    I was very fortunate to get to know your dad and mom. Perhaps not as well as some, but well enough to know how fortunate you were to have them as mom and dad. I am thankful to our God that they were who they were and that you are who you are.

  11. Bev Laughlin

    I am moved by your tribute to your dad. I would like to have known him. Thanks for your writings, Ken.

  12. Emma

    What a beautiful tribute! Thank you so much for sharing, your father was a great man and I’m sure his sons made him proud. Blessings to you.

  13. Linda Robbins

    Ken–I appreciated your thoughts and it brought back so many memories of your dad (and mom) whom I truly loved. It’s hard to believe he has been gone for so many years. Keep up the good work! Linda

  14. Ken,

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful remembrance of your dad. He was such a great man to know and work with. While I was only at Valrico for two years it seems like I knew your mom and dad for a lifetime. They impacted others in a quiet manner showing the grace of God and steel will to serve the Christ embraced by the Holy Spirit. I enjoyed his laugh. I appreciated the encouragement he gave me in a difficult time in life. He was a true “prince of Israel.” We have legacies to follow. Our task is not an easy one. Brother & Sister Weliever belong to the hosts of witness that help us lay aside the weight of this world and run with endurance the race set before us. Thankfully we see them in you. As you reflect Christ in your life you do so through the mirror of your dad and mom – and that is a joy to know for us. God bless you my brother.

    kent

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