Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Remembering a Sweet, Sweet Spirit

Late yesterday afternoon we received word from several old friends at Springfield Friends Meeting that our dear friend Wayne Gless had passed away. His death was sudden and unexpected, despite a variety of health issues over these past few years. Our prayers are with his family and friends today as they grieve his loss.

We were at Springfield for 8 years (1986-1994) and during that time Wayne and his family were very, very important to us. His wife of 52 years, Jane, his sister-in-law Patsy Hill and his nephew Ken Hill made us feel welcome and special from the day we arrived. Wayne was truly a brother to Patsy and a father to Ken. Family was important to Wayne. When Ken & his wife Gilly brought their daughter Kaitlyn into the world Wayne became a Paw Paw to her and a new light came into his life. Wayne loved his church and he loved his God. He spent many hours in the service of Springfield Meeting. He was a brilliant artist, with his paintings in demand all over the state of North Carolina. Wayne loved the beach, and he loved to fish. And he loved to tell stories about the things he loved.

The one word that keeps coming to me when I remember Wayne is "sweet." He just had a sweet spirit about him. He treated everyone the same- with respect and love. I knew Wayne pretty well and we spent a fair amount of time together. But I have no crazy stories to tell, no one magic moment that stands out. In fact, the only picture of him in my collection from those years is the one below of he and Jane at Disney some 25 years ago. I had forgotten it, probably because his eyes are closed and I thought he wouldn't like it. I just know that while I was the youth pastor at Springfield he always made me feel like I was the best youth pastor ever and he made Marilyn feel welcome and included. His love and encouragement knew no limits. 

This past October I visited the office at Springfield one morning and Wayne happened to stop by. We had a hug-filled reunion and caught up on each other's lives. I am so glad now to have had that moment then. For the past 20 years of so a piece of Wayne's artwork, a painting of Quaker Lake Camp in the autumn, has hung in a prominent place in our home. We remember Wayne every time we see it, which is every day. And as of yesterday it has become even more priceless to us.

Wayne Gless will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jane, Patsy, Ken and the rest of the family. They are also with our Springfield family. Heaven has gained a "sweet, sweet spirit" and we have lost a dear friend. Rest in peace, Wayne. I'm guessing the fishing in heaven will be perfect...

Because of Jesus,

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