where the writers are
Interment Service for Dr. Lawrence D. Walker
graveside

My father-in-law's ashes were buried July 9, 2009.  Here is the service his son, my husband Lawrence A. Walker, wrote and led:

Thank you all for coming to remember our husband, father, teacher and friend, Dr. Lawrence David Walker.  We have chosen this particular cemetery, Mount Olivet, for several reasons.  It is an historical place, established in 1874, and therefore a proper place for an historian.  From its very beginning, it was a cemetery that welcomed all who came to this area and lived and died here.  And it reflects the beautiful natural environment around us, including the flora and fauna, especially the deer.  Deer graze freely on the grounds, so much so that this cemetery is the only one I know of that has a no-hunting policy.  (If you don’t believe me, just read the signs.)  For that reason, we have chosen flowers that are not only beautiful and fragrant but also tasty. 

This is a sad but, we hope, a healing occasion.  Today we will consign the mortal remains of my father to the earth from which they came.  Even as we place his remains below this stone monument to enshrine them, we know that they no longer enshrine him.  Instead, we hope to take away his memory, his presence, and enshrine it in our hearts.  We hope throughout our lives to feel his presence, enjoy his blessing, hear his voice in our head when we wonder what he would have thought, know full well in our hearts what he would have done, sense his comfort when we are down and to enjoy his encouragement when we do well.

 This stone marker, which carries a book, symbolizing his love of learning and knowledge,  bears witness to his presence on this earth, but now his true presence in our world is in our hearts and souls.  What he was we leave on this meadow today; but who he is we take away with us, to treasure always.  

Before the Cantor sings, I would like to give a simple eulogy to evoke my father:

A professor for 25 years.  A student for 77.

A man from the mountains of the American West who loved intellectual discussions, history, classical music, folk guitar, well-crafted movies, and books, books, books.

A man of many vocations – professor, teacher, steelworker, warehouse laborer, credit investigator, toll collector – but only one avocation:  learning.

A Celt, both poet and pugilist, who embodied the soul of his people, never forgot their struggles, and understood the struggle of all who face oppression. 

An historian who told the untold story of unknown people who lived under tyranny and risked everything to stand against it.

For many, their best friend.  For many more, their best companion in respectful intellectual discussions in which two people journey together to find the truth.  For almost everyone, their best correspondent. 

A kind man, a husband and father who loved his family and whose family loved him beyond what words can tell.

We remember him always.

Cantor sings Danny Boy. 

LAW:  Let us now recite the 23rd Psalm, the psalm of comfort: 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

CANTOR sings: Ave Maria 

LAW:  Those who wish to do so, please join in reciting the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen. 

LAW:  Let us observe a moment of silent meditation.  [Silence.]  To conclude our remembrance today, we would like to observe a Jewish mourning custom that appealed to my father.  In ancient times, the Jews marked the site where a loved one was buried by placing a pile of stones there.  It was a way of sealing up the grave to protect it from wild animals, and it marked the grave so other mourners could find it.  Every time people visited the grave, they would leave a stone to mark their visit, rebuilding the pile of stones and letting it be known that the departed person continued to be remembered.  Even with the advent of civilization, when larger quarried stones with inscriptions, such as this headstone, came into use, this custom has persisted.  We encourage everyone present to deposit a stone at my father’s grave. …LAW: All of you are invited to break bread with us at our house.  Please come, bring your memories, and share with us in the house he loved so much.   

 gravestone

Cemetery with deer