Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"They Adored Each Other"--A Love Story

Alma Jean's oldest brother, Harold William Wert, 87, died April 4, a resident at Landis Homes, Lititz, Pennsylvania, where he lived his last years with his loving wife Mary F. ­Hepner Wert. They had been married for over 66 wonderful, wedded years. Regrettably, my good wife was unable to attend because of her being in rehab from her recent knee surgery, but she very much wanted me to be there.

Harold and MaryWert: photos courtesy of J. Lloyd Wert
In his meditation at the funeral service, Harold's youngest son, John Stahl-Wert, described his father as having been in love with Mary well before she was aware of it. In elementary school, as the story goes, Mary once gave her classmate Harold a Valentine card that read, "Let-tuce be sweethearts." Of course she had sent similar inexpensive cards to all of her classmates, but he especially prized that one, hoping she might one day truly mean what the card said.

And later she did, from the heart and with unwavering loyalty.

Son John, the ordained minister in the family, spoke eloquently and with appreciation, "We never had to question our parents' undying love for each other, nor their unconditional love for each of us. They lived it every day." This, he added, was their greatest gift to their six children, contributing to each of them having sturdy marriages and strong families--resulting in a total of fourteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

One of the sons-in-law, Ernest Miller, described a recent conversation he had with Harold in which he noted that he and Janice, Harold and Mary's second oldest, had then been married 35 years. Father, obviously pleased, nevertheless asked, "Do you still love her?" When Ernest responded with a strong yes, Harold was even more pleased. Next to loving God, that was the most important thing.

Harold was a gifted craftsman, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, and a faithful member and song leader in his congregation. But the greatest of his gifts was love--for Mary, for his children and grandchildren, and toward the God he came to bless as the source of all lasting and lavish loving.

The following from Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV) was part of the benediction offered at the service:  

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." 

To that we all say, Amen. So be it.
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