A Perspective on Deaths

Over the past several days, there have been some very high profile deaths with which we are all somewhat familiar. The most prominent and the most puzzling is probably that of  Michael Jackson. To me, it has been eerily similar to that of Elvis Presley in a number of ways. Of course, there has the less unexpected   but very public passing of Farah Fawcett due to cancer. Another quite unexpected death was that of television pitchman Billy Mays whose death was tragic but due to an all too common cause.

The vast majority of us have never met these people. We have seen them on television on the movies or in concert, but there remains a disconnect for most of us, although their deaths were all regrettable. In fact, both Jackson and Mays were younger than I am. Deaths in that particularly age group seem to impact me more.

But there was yet another tragic death of late. This one, except in Iowa, has been somewhat under reported due in large part to its more regional impact. I am speaking of high school coach Ed Thomas who was shot to death at age 58. Thomas was killed on June 24 by a former football player in the school’s weight room.

There have been some amazing stories about Thomas, NFL  national coach of the year 1n 2005, winner of 2 state titles and owner of  a coaching record of  292-84. He even had several former players who played in the NFL to serve as pallbearers. Somehow, I don’t think that is why his funeral drew a crowd larger than the 1,800 population of Parkersburg, Ia. He was doubtless a n excellent coach but had to be much more than that. For one, when an F5 tornado struck the town last year , he was  in  the forefront of the rescue and rebuilding.

Perhaps 2 people said it best. Pastor Brad Zinnecker of First Congregational Church  said of the mourners, ” They recognized a man after God’s own heart. His personal life and public life were one and the same.” And, one of his sons, Aaron, said that his dad would have wanted  the community to “get going” and do something to improve the town.

He left behind his wife as well as two sons, a brother and his mom. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Thomas family. But they go as well to those family members of Billy Mays, Farrah  Fawcett and Michael Jackson.


July 2, 2009 - Posted by | Life and Death | , , , , , , , , ,

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