Monday, September 22, 2008


Sunday afternoon we made the six hour round trip to Ft. Branch in order to pay our last respects to Alan, Bob's first cousin.

Alan was 59 years old. It was only nine months ago that he was diagnosed with lung cancer, having never smoked a cigarette in his life. He endured the treatments of radiation & chemo therapy, and perhaps extended his time on this earth for a few precious months. He left behind his beloved mother, Donna; wife, Carol, daughter Heather & her husband David; son Lance & his wife Amy; and the delight of his life...his two grandchildren, Chase & Ashlyn.

He loved his career as a teacher & coach, which was made evident by the necessity of a two day visitation at the funeral home. We saw dozens of people pour into the home on Sunday afternoon. You could tell that their lives had all been touched in some way by Alan. There was a large table displaying many trophies that had been won by either Alan or the teams he coached. Photos lined the walls & were displayed through two DVD presentations, showing us his journey through life.

As a first cousin, Bob has many wonderful childhood memories of Alan. Aunt Donna worked so Bob's mother, Bonnie, was Alan's babysitter for a while. Bob & Steve both enjoyed the company of their cousin, making him feel another brother in their family. Later, the Thompson's moved away from the little hometown, but Alan was always a part of the family gatherings when they returned on vacation or for Christmas time. I remember meeting him on my very first visit to Washington, & knowing that he was an intricate part of their family.

Bobby Gene, Alan, Sherry Ann, & Stevie Joe

Alan was an only child. Later on his parents divorced but he remained close to both of them. His father, Russell, died 15 years ago, also from lung cancer.

notice the sideburns on these two cousins!

Somehow it doesn't seem right for a child to pass on before the parent. We have seen it happen more often than we want, and now we see Aunt Donna left alone in this world, without her son to be there for her when she needs him. She is a survivor and will no doubt come through this just fine.

Alan & his Grandma Wininger

During his sickness, Alan had a friend that came to pray with him & encouraged him to read his Bible. Alan said all was well with is Soul & in those last hours let his mother know that he would "see her later". Once again, we have a loved one "Safe in the arms of Jesus"!

Lance Donna (& Feller!), Heather, Carol & Alan
at a family reunion many long years ago...
at a Colbert Reunion, 2005
the last time we saw him...

1 comment:

Karen Walden said...

It's hard to believe he passed away so quickly and at such a young age. Very sad... I've been thinking of his family and Aunt Donna today as it has probably been a very rough day for them. So glad that everyone has "hope" to see him in Heaven again someday!