September 15, 2003

Are et Vale - Celebration of Life - Harold D. Fasnacht - May 26th. 1994

On behalf of my Grandfather and the entire family, we thank all of you for coming this afternoon to honor his life.

I know each of you has a special story about Harold, and later, as we gather after this memorial service, I look forward to hearing each of those stories.

As I thought about what to say this afternoon, I realized that we all share a deep admiration for Harold. For his compassion, his dignity, his integrity and his abiding love for life. Each of us has witnessed these qualities in action, whether in the home, the church the college or in the community.

We each have special memories of time-spent with my Grandfather -- memories each of us holds so very precious. For me my most prominent memories are as a small child and as a college student.

As a child, I remember time spent together at the college, especially during the construction of the La Fetra/Mainiero Science building. We would stand at the end of Founder's Hall, surveying the work at hand, while each process was carefully explained by Grandpa.

My most profound memories came later, as a student. It was here that Harold and I deepened our relationship. Grandpa became mentor, confidant, advisor and friend as he shared my college experience first-hand.

We would talk about which classes I should take, although the decision was always mine to make. He watched me through my freshman year, exploring and discovering the wonder of college.

In my sophomore year, we shared a class together, now our relationship was one of teacher/student. And, in my junior year, he watched as I searched for my major, pondering, wondering, often confused.

Through it all Grandpa was always there, whether in his office in Woody Hall, or as I often found him, jogging up and down the steps behind Founder's Hall we shared my college day's.
Then, as a senior, when I realized I didn't know as much as I thought -- when the reality of finding a job, and setting out into my life began to settle in, he was always there with simple, yet profound wisdom.

His wisdom, so very clear in this 1936 poem he wrote for the Senior Week at Wiley Consolidated High School:

The Test of Life
Soon silence will reign in these halls,
No voices to sound from these walls

In room thirty-three there silence will be
As its occupants go on their ways.

A milestone passed on the highway of life
Through happiness, struggles and strife;

We bid you farewell and a challenge of time;
On the highway will be many a climb.

Will you meet the stresses and stains
Will noble resolve, which disdains

To stoop to acts and words which soil?
Have you learned to love honest toil?

The test is not written on sheets --
It comes in life's highways and streets,

Where each shall be tested in time
To show whether earthly or sublime.

Your thoughts and your acts are the test --
A vigilant striving for the best.

Beyond the easy test of hand and mind

The test of life you shall all find!

Grandpa watched with compassion and support as I experienced the test of life. He shared in the successes, and he comforted in and understood the downfalls. With courage and faith, he stood steadfast, knowing that I would survive all.

It was in those years that I realized the depth of Grandpa's character. His unwavering ability to see the possibilities and hope; encouraging me to find success in the heart and soul. It was here that I began to realize his true spirit.

So, here we are today, at the commencement to eternal life for Grandpa. It is a wondrous day, for despite our sadness of losing a friend, father, husband and grandfather, we celebrate the life that Harold led.

Two weeks ago tonight, I sat with Grandpa in the quiet of his room. His day had been filled with hard decisions, yet, we talked of love, life. family and community.

We shared openly about the future, his dignity so very clear.

In those moments, Grandpa said his peace. ULV was in the most capable hands ever -- his heart was at ease.

To his grandsons, Erik and me, he said to be ourselves and to live what's in hearts.

Of daughters, Glenda and Elaine, the words of a proud father filled the room, "Your Dad will love you always."

He spoke of his love for Grandma, his cherished companion and mate. He recounted fondly their years together, reminding me that he loved her so.

Peace has come for Grandpa. I shall always cherish the moments -- we shall all cherish the moments we shared with Harold, whether here in Church, at ULV, Hillcrest or at home.

His gentle spirit will always be with us.

Grandpa passed the test of life!

With dignity, faith, courage and love, Harold's highway of life is lined with mileposts. He touched everyone's heart and soul.

Craig Miles
May 26, 1994

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Are et Vale - Celebration of Life - Ruth Grace Ellenberger Fasnacht

On behalf of the Fasnacht, Ellenberger, Jimmink and Miles families, we thank you all for sharing in today's celebration of Grandma - Ruth Fasnacht's life. We also thank you for your years of friendship to both Grandma and Grandpa, as well as our entire family.

Today, we celebrate a rich life, and it seems appropriate that we do this during the season of commencement. A time of a new beginning, a threshold for all of us.

In a recent commencement address by President Clinton, he closed with the following remarks of St. Peter:

"Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election. For, if you do this, you will never stumble." Mr. Clinton continued with "Your call and election must include the least of your fellow human beings, the left out and left behind. It must include those who are coming behind you in age. It must include those who have preceded you and need your help. Do not grow weary. Do not lose heart. You must do well and do good."

Grandma would have understood these words. Much has already been shared about Grandma today, her deep faith, her love for family, her belief and commitment to the Church, College and to a variety of community organizations.

In short, Grandma did well and did good!

While, today, many of us have heavy heart's, despite the title of "celebration of life" -- we miss her -- we miss the character and vitality she always displayed.

Its not possible to adequately summarize the life so well lived in such a short time -- so we are left to highlights -- many of which have been shared.

I've struggled with what to say today -- because we all knew her so well.
Fortunately, Krissy's Mom, Carolyn, faxed a poem from a recent high school commencement address that fits into our celebration of Grandma's life today.

Life's Dash
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
Then spoke the following date through tears
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represented all the time
That she had lived on earth
And now only those who loved her knew
What that little dash was worth.

For it matters not how much we own, the
House, the cars ... the cash
What matters is what we do, how we live and love
It's how we spend our dash.

So, as you face your future years
Are there things that you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be re-arranged.

Take time to ponder and to reason
For you, what's true and real
And always try and understand
The way other people feel.

Be less quick to anger,
Show appreciation more,
And love those people in your life like
You've never loved before.

For if we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this little dash
May last only a little while.

So, at the end of life
With your life's actions to re-hash
Know it's not the beginning nor end
That's touched those left,
But how you spent your dash.

Grandma spent her dash well!

She shared her dash with all of us!

We all must take a hint from her -- we must spend our dash well, too -- she would have like that.

Thank you again for sharing in today's celebration of a great lady. A great Mom, Grandmother, Aunt and friend to all.

More importantly, thank you to Grandma for sharing her life with us -- for sharing that "dash" between the beginning and end, for we are all better people for having shared our own dash with her.

02:30 PM in Are et Vale | Permalink | Comments (0)