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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Eulogy for My Father

BILLY DAN FOX
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> EULOGY, AUGUST 5, 1999
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> by Stephen M. Fox
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> My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, I want to thank-you for coming to my father's funeral today.
> First, a poem by William Blake.
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> Whate'er is born of Mortal Birth
> Must be consumed with the Earth
> To Rise from Generation Free
> Then What have I to do with Thee
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> The Sexes sprung from Shame and Pride
> Blow'd in the Morn, in Evening Died
> But Mercy chang'd Death into Sleep
> The Sexes Rose to work and weep
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> Thou Mother of my Mortal part
> With Cruelty didst mould my Heart
> And with false, self deceiving tears
> Didst Bind my Nostrils, Eyes and Ears
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> Didst Close my tongue in Senseless Clay
> And me to Mortal Life Betray
> The Death of Jesus set me Free
> Then What have I to do with Thee
>
>
> In 1978 Carlyle Marney came to Gaffney, S.C. Marney was quite likely the most substantively influential Baptist minister of the 20th Century. He was a confidante of LBJ and the Watergate Senate Committee Chair, Senator Sam Ervin.
> He was in Gaffney to speak on integrity in the ministry.
> Many times what you are expecting to be profound turns out to be simple. The profundity is in the simplicity.
> And so it was with Marney that day. He said the key to integrity in the ministry is comparable to the point of Salinger's classic American novel, The Catcher in the Rye.
> A Catcher in the Rye is a person who is there in the rye field, and as somebody, overwhelmed by life, in flight, comes running through, the catcher catches them.
> About two years laters it dawned on me that what my hero Marney was saying was the key to ministry, My dad had instinctively been doing for 20 years. It was part of his nature.
> My Dad was a catcher in the Rye
>
> My Dad knew and loved the Scripture. He had a romance with the Gospel. In Jaunuary of this year he began reading the New Testament through one more time. The last visit I had with him and he could still talk, he said he'd made it to Revelation 5.
> It's okay he didn't get to the end, cause the next few chapters are pretty dense anyway and he could quote the last two by heart; and if by some chance he neede some help Monday evening the 2nd John the Revelator himself was there to read to him if he wanted.
> I can remember Hayesville, N.C.about 1961 when my dad was pastor of the Truett Memorial Baptist Church there. I was 8 yrs old and in the summer the little churches out in the hollers would have him up for Revival. I'd go with him a couple nights for the whole 1 1/2 hours--the good women and few men would sing hymns like "Living Under the Spout Where the Glory Runs Out", sing on for 45 mins or so while others stayed outside, smoked, dipped and talked about the crops--and he'd get to his good sermon toward the end of the ten days from Rev. 22:17, The Great Invitation. The Spirit and the Bride say Come, and He that is athirst say come. Whosoever will let him come and drink of the water of Life Freely.
> Even at the early age I had a vague, but powerful sense my Dad was part of something cosmic.
> The preacher here in collinsville, Brother John Morgan has been on a roll lately doing a great job with many of the parables. I'd go over about weds of every week and tell him a little about the sunday's parable and before I could get started he'd tell me the point. Like with the wheat and the tares, Dad said: "Let them grow up together and God will decide at the end what's what."
>
> The day after this year's All Star Baseball Game I went over to visit.
> It was a great game for him; there in Fenway Park, home of his beloved Red Sox, with his hero Carl Yazstremski there and Ted Williams. Dad called it: "a great moment in Baseball history". He watched it from a hospital room in Rome, Ga.
> The next day he was back home at Edna's and I was there to visit. I told him the scripture reading here at the Collinsville church had been pretty good lately and last Sunday it was from 8th chapter of Romans.
> He said read some of it to me. So I started: For there is therefore now no condemnation....He said read the 2nd. By the 4th verse he was quoting a verse ahead of me every verse. By the 10th I was crying and cried the rest of the way through the chapter.
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> My Dad loved people and preached the Gospel. He was no respector of persons. His brother Prentice has said my brother Billy bore no malice toward any man.
> The heart of my dad's ministry was in Gaffney,S.C. and the issue of that 16 years, 1962-1978 was Race.
> When my Dad left Gaffney story got around that some nurses were talking at the local hospital and one said: "I hear Rev. Fox is leaving town; he was a good man." Black woman standing near them said: "You telling me. He came to my boy's wedding."
> His last sunday in Gaffney the congregation cut across all lines of social standing. A sister of a former president of the American Textile Manufacturer's Association was there, the wife of a trustee of the University of South Carolina and mother of a former USC student body president, the high school football coach who became the principal of the school was there as was my brother's life long friend and Harley riding buddy who said if it wasn't for Preacher Fox, I don't know where I'd be today. Craig Neal is here today as a pallbearer.
> My best friend in high school was from the country of India. He's now a doctor in Washington, D.C. I didn't know until 5 years ago it was my Dad who road with him to Greenville,S.C. to stand with him when he came a citizen of the United States.
> Twenty years later they're having commencement for Bible School about ten miles from here up in Dogtown, Alabama where my dad was pastor of the Walker's Chapel Methodist Church. 12 year old kid wanted to stand up that night and testify about what the week had meant to him. He had been a little bit of a character during the week; in fact they had to kick him out twice.
> But that last night he said I got a few things to say. A lot of people are saying that Preacher Fox is too old, I just want to say "He's my friend."
>
> We're here today because Jehovah himself came down to Rome Ga., to the Jitney Jungle in 1938 and called a fat boy who ran his sentences together, called him out to love people and Preach the Gospel and that's what my Dad did. He allowed God to make him into a Magnificent Ambassador for the cause of Christ, a member of the Royal Priesthood.
> And he's safe now. He's over there in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, a text he loved and preached from often, the Roll Call of Faith, the Lamb's Book of Life.
> He's there with Enoch and Moses and Noah. Over there with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob and Rahab the harlot, David and Samuel.
> He's there with all the disciples and Paul and ST. Augustine and Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. There with Dorothty Day, L.D. Johnson, Frank Harrington, Louie D.Newton, George Truett, Father Popielusko of Poland and Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.
> He's there with my Grandfather and grandmother Jordan, W.D. and Mary Alice Helton Fox, my Mother Elizabeth Louise Jordan Fox, Virginia and Nolan Richey, Gordon Wood and Onre Fuller, Aunt Sara, Brannon Simmons, Edna's Mother, Mrs. Dempsey, the Trotters.
> He's there with Uncle Jess Neese and Suella and Brownlow Sams from Newport, Tennessee.
> Carley Stone from Erwin,N.C. and Andy and Mabel Padget, Guy Carter and Mason Hudspeth from Hayesville, N.C.
> He's there with Bill Thompson, S.C. Waldroup, Jimmy Richards, Sadie Kiser, Wayne Whiteside,Herschel Harris, Wilmon Wright and Raymond Parker from Gaffney. And some day soon, Esther Dawkins.
>
> From Alice Bell in Knoxville Emil Acuff and Lowell Wishart, and Troy Dyar are there with Pat's Mother and Father.
> Aubrey Dickens from Zebulon, Ga.
> And Dan Estes and Jane's Dad and brother the Scroggins from the
> Goshen tornado.
> He's there with them and people from the Walker's Chapel and Tucker's Chapel, and Lyerly and Euharlee and from this community in Collinsville.
>
>
> AT 8:30pm on Monday August 2 the gates opened wide and this geat cloud of witnesses said:
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> "WELCOME BILLY, WE KNEW YOU WERE COMING"
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> But we're here now. And like David in the Old Testament mourning his son who died in infancy, he can't come to us, but we can go where he is.
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> And that's what my Dad wants. He wants me, and his newest grandson Andrew, and Chad and Katie, and Jody and Robbie and Adam; and everybody in this room and everybody that everybody in this room knows,
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> WHOSOEVER WILL, Come and Drink of the water of Life Freely,
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> So that we can join the procession
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> When Lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day
> The Saints Triumphant Rise in Bright Array,
> The King of Glory passes on his Way.
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> From earth's wide shores from ocean's farthest coast,
> Through gates of Pearl stream in the countless host
> Singing to the Father, the son and the Holy Ghost,
> Allelulia, Allelulia, Amen
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1 Comments:

Blogger Southern-Sighted said...

Steve, your politically charged rants regarding matters of religion are of absolutely no interest to me. Even so, I do check your blog occasionally knowing that the possibility of my being entertained by rare deviation from your usual content does certainly exist.

Today, I got lucky -- the eulogy for your father is certainly one of the best expressions of feeling and thought I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

10:48 AM  

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