In the short span of time while we have been parked here in Leonard's hometown, four fine gentlemen have left us on this earth.
In the 70's Leonard had moved to Mississippi to work at Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula. Two of the first people he met with brothers Tobie and Mack Nash. Through the years Len would talk about these men. Back in 2011 we were volunteering with NOMADS in Moss Point, MS not far from the town of Escatawba where Mack lived. We took a drive over so I could meet him and his lovely wife Gaye. We made a side trip the next year to again renew the friendship. We had planned on another visit in the Spring of 2015.
Mack had several health issues and was confined to a wheel chair. He died peacefully and unexpectedly in his sleep on December 2. Mack - I was honored to meet you.
Back in 2010 shortly after starting our full time adventure we were attending church here in Vinton. Sitting in front of us were a couple who we have since become very close to. The wife was actually Len's very first girlfriend at the age of 5 or 6. Growing up, Diane's family lived next door to Len's aunt and uncle. Len came to call Diane's parents Uncle PeeWee and Aunt Dot.
A few years back health issues caused PeeWee and Dot to move into a nursing home. When in the area we would stop in for a visit. This couple now in their 80's would never be far from each other. PeeWee died on Thanksgiving Day with Dot holding his hand and family around.
On Friday we visited with Dot. She has good days and days where she lies sleeping. It was a very good day. She recognized us and even cracked a few jokes. Surely she misses PeeWee her joy for over 65 years.
Brian had been the pastor for 18 years in the church where I grew up. I no longer attended that church but my daughter Terri did. We met Brian through various activities at the church. Ten years ago this Christmas morning, Brian left his young family to comfort my family at the hospital at the death of my own father. That meant so much to each of us as we grieved our fathers passing.
Brian was transferred to another congregation 3 years ago. Shortly after arriving at that church he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He fought the good fight until he was called home a few days ago. A good man gone from us much too soon, at age 49. He is being rewarded in heaven.
One of the joys of fulltiming is meeting other folks living the same lifestyle. One couple I've followed on FB is Loretta Perno and Bill Roach. Her tag name is Jersey Girl. I just had to know where she was from. So through FB, I asked. LORDY! They had lived in the same small town where I grew up.
This summer they were spending time "back home" at a campground about 12 miles from where we were. As is the custom with us fulltimers "Let's meet for lunch"
And as usual our lunch "hour" turned into lunch "hours". We were heart broken to learn a few short weeks ago that Bill had a terminal disease. Through it he kept his good humor. He, too, lost the battle this past week. Wish we could have connected again. Our prayers go our to Loretta and all their family.
Four fine gentlemen. Our lives were enriched by each of them.