The man who was born in Joplin, Missouri, on November 5, 1923.
The man who taught me so much.
The man whose name Benjamin is borne by a son and at least 7 grandchildren and great grandchildren (example- my name is Kevan Benjamin).
The man who first put me behind the wheel of a vehicle when I was 13.
The man who taught me to work a stick shift of a 1940's enormous winch boom truck, so that I could help him in clearing the junkyard that had been started by his father, who ran the salvage yard before, through the Great Depression, and beyond.
The man who could fix anything in mechanics, plumbing, and electricity.
The man who taught me to work hard and value perspiration.
The man who diligently labored to provide for his family.
The man who if you asked what part he sang, said, "Open Letter" (Open up, and letter fly!)
The man whom you had to watch when he led singing, because he was sure to change the tempo, hold notes out, and so on.
The man who could teach a Bible lesson springing from any object (I'll never forget his Coca Cola bottle sermon, or the message "When the Thorn Blooms").
The man who called himself a "hick from the sticks", but whose simple wisdom learned from what he called "Knox College" (school of hard knocks) was deep enough to drown a theologian standing on the shoulders of a philosopher.
The man who loved God's living creatures, and was kind to man and beast.
The traveling lay preacher who would preach anywhere as long as he could preach that which the Bible says (he told me that he preached once in a Catholic church, and they didn't ask him back).
The man who loved to share the Gospel with children and youth, and impacted the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands for Christ.
The man who could tell you all about any antique you could point at, and called himself one.
The man who was given a wise wife, Vivian, and four children Nancy, Ben, Susan (my mom), and Dan, all of whom have been huge blessings to me.
The man who made our visits special, with soda pop, with Cap'n Crunch cereal, with miniature golf.
The man whose eyes would light up when he'd tell a story, and he had plenty of those...
[About his soul winning salvage yard dad,
About his mama "Pistol Packin' Annie", who was mostly Cherokee.
About his grandpa, who was a homesteading blacksmith.
About his other grandpa, who was a shoutin' Methodist circuit riding preacher.
About growing up in the Great Depression.
About meeting his wife in South Bend, Indiana
About many adventures of himself and his family.
And a few of my favorites, the salvation of HIS father as a 6 year old.
About how his life was so close to being snuffed out at age 4 by the hoof of a Belgian horse.
About how he himself was saved at age 12, and about the revival in Joplin that year.
About how his brother Ray was called to preach the Gospel at age 5.]
The man who became a Sunday School teacher at age 16 and taught and preached for over 60 years.
The man who brought me along to serve neighbors, family, friends, and strangers, in even the tedious works of cutting up tree branches that fell in their yards or visiting the elderly and sick.
The man who would drive us cousins to 1102 Rex and work in the yard as we played among the junk, and gradually as we grew up, found us staying near him to help work.
The man who called me "Fudley" when I made a mistake, and then helped me to do a task correctly.
The man in whose presence I first resolutely ate mustard on a burger without complaining, retching, or making a face.
The man who would wave good bye with both hands till we were out of sight.
The man I always looked up to even after I was taller than he was.
The man who was always the first to rise when the call for help was heard.
The man who would pat me on the back and tell me how much he loved that I was following Jesus, and that "If you will serve God, He will open the door."
The man who, when I became a man, humbly started calling me "Sir", which brings me to tears even now at the thought, and moved me to be a man of Christian honor.
The man who when his dear wife was stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, cared for her, tended to her, and saw he go to glory ahead of him as she died in his arms.
The man who, in his 90's (when we last visited him and didn't know who we were) still loved the Lord, loved to hear singing, jumped up to give his seat to others, laughed to see our children, and bowed his gray head when I prayed with him.
The man who passed away this summer, and whose body I helped carry to the grave.
The man whom I deeply miss and look forward to seeing in glory. We will sing "Open Letter" together in praises to the Redeeming Ruler of all.
There is much else that could be shared, so many things that he taught and lived out before his children, his grandchildren, his great grandchildren, and the multitudes of others who knew him and of him. But this will suffice for now.
Abortion must be abolished.