Rippling Outward: The Good that You Do Goes Farther than You Know

G287882_1_20130130In Memory of Dr. Robert Wayne Young

Saturday I went with Christopher to University Baptist Church in Clear Lake to a funeral, and it is hard to put into words what an impression it has left on me.  The funeral was to honor someone who had been friends with my father for almost forty years.  This was the kind of friendship we all hope to have: one that lasts.  It was one of those Texas days that makes you think all things are possible:  sunny and warm, low humidity, a few clouds.  You could have been in southern California.  Or heaven.

I had heard the name “Wayne Young” on and off all of my life.  This was a man who had met my dad through the Air Force, had degrees in engineering from Texas A & M and Ohio State, worked at NASA from 1962 to 1995, was selected to attend Stanford University’s Sloan Executive Development Program, and earned a doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Colorado.  He was also a professor at the University of Houston at Clear Lake for many years.  I know of few people who have excelled so much in so many areas:  the military, academe, engineering, business.  But when you met Wayne, he was so unassuming, so interested in what you were doing, that unless you knew him better, you might not realize all of these accomplishments. He was that modest.  But that was just the tip of the iceberg, because he also served his community and church, and was devoted to his wife, Pat, his three sons and their wives, and his seven grandchildren.

He also served on the Board of Trustees of Houston Baptist University for many years. Continue reading

Please Come Back, Patrick K. Thornton

IMG_0541Dear Pat,

This time last year Alison let me come over and we sat in your den, under your beautiful Christmas tree in Sugar Land, and we talked for three hours. Our boys played outside with Nerf guns.  It was gray outside, but not too cold.  I will always be grateful to her for this–you had that hat covering your head after the radiation had been applied to your brain, you were a little tired, but wanted to talk.  It was almost Christmas.  I did not believe that it would be the last time I would see you.  I did not believe that you would only have one more Christmas. I did not believe your funeral would happen in January.  I just could not believe that you would leave us.

I was wrong. Continue reading