Posted by: ritagone | July 18, 2018

A Life



A dear friend of ours died this past Sunday, age 65, of a heart attack.

Not terribly unusual, although that age seems younger and younger as we get older and older.  He should have had many more years, if only things had been different.

He died in a federal prison hospital.

That’s what was unusual, different about his passing.

Also that this was his second incarceration in a prison.

Not many people I know – and probably that you know – can claim that statistic: twice in the U.S. prison system, state and federal.

He was, still, a good man, a tender-hearted, loving follower of Jesus to the end.  Okay, so why then was he in prison?  Because he made some mistakes, took some wrong turns, did some things that he shouldn’t have done.  Just like you and me.

He certainly paid a price.  He lost everything: his career, his marriage, his home, his standing in the community.  And, of course, eventually his life.

When he died, he left a son, a handful of acquaintances, a sister who loved him dearly, and a small group of friends who knew his value as a human being more than most.

Years ago, when my children were young, he dressed up as Santa Claus one Christmas Eve and “borrowed” a reindeer from a friend of his who happened to own one.  He showed up on our doorstep and – to the delight of our kids – presented himself as Santa about to set off delivering presents around the world.  It took a long time before our son and daughter forgot about that night, and when they found out as adults who had been entertaining them, they loved him for it.  You don’t forget times like that.  That year he didn’t have children of his own, so he was making his friends’ kids happy.  When he went in the wrong direction legally and morally, that night was still something we remembered.  It made a difference as to how we felt about him.

He died in a federal prison hospital.  Alone.  No family or friends with him, holding his hand, sitting by his bedside, whispering words of prayer and encouragement to him.  I know of course that Jesus was with him.  Jesus was always with him, even at the worst of his times.  Even when his behavior and his actions were not something you’d be proud of.  Jesus knew his soul and his heart.  I have no doubt that Jesus welcomed him into heaven and embraced him warmly and tenderly.

And still…

It was a life that could have gone so differently.  Could have been so much more.  I suppose you can say that about anyone’s life, but for this man, it is so very true.

So rest in peace, dear friend. We will miss you, but we will not forget you.



  1. I am so sorry to hear of your friend’s passing. Keep remembering the good things…. and that he is free of the bad turns that haunted him….. May he Rest In peace.

  2. How sweet of you to take time to recall and write about this man and the treasure of this friendship even though you don’t fully understand why he made his choices. No doubt this will comfort others.

  3. Such a lovely memorial, Rita. You chose to remember the best of him. May we all be so blessed as we leave this troubled realm for a glorious one!

  4. Thanks for sharing that about Ken. It was such a sad earthly ending that that beautiful memory was so nice. I never met him, but your friend and I prayed for him regularly over this last year or so…we felt God was at work in Ken’s life…look forward to meeting him when we all get together with the
    Lord 🤗🌺

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