Our fathers and their siblings. Wilmer’s father is second from far right; my father on far left.

When I turn on my computer in the morning the first thing I do is read obituaries, but I read only the obituaries of those who have reached ninety years and up. This morning I was drawn to the obituary of a woman who died at age 93 with 9 siblings who preceded her in death and 4 siblings who survived her. She grew up in  a family of fourteen brothers and sisters. In contrast, I had only one sibling, a brother who was six years older than I who is deceased.

Wilmer and Mary Louise when we visited them in their Virginia home.

So you can understand my excitement when a cousin called by phone to say he was on his way from Virginia to Indiana.  He and his wife and their daughter visited me. His name is Wilmer and as we noted in the previous post, who Wilmer is gives meaning to his name. Wilmer and I  have a unique kinship that came about because my uncle married  one of my first cousins. So Wilmer and I and our siblings are both first and second cousins. Go figure.

When he was 14, Wilmer worked in our garden for my father and me.  He once told me he remembers eating lunch at table with a meal prepared by Rhoda with Rachel sitting in her high chair.

Wilmer was fifteen years old when Rhoda, Rachel and I moved to Florida. Eight years later he was subject to the draft as a CO to do alternative service, so he volunteered to teach for two years at Sharon School in Tampa, Florida. Wilmer was an inspiring worship leader in our congregation during the two years in Tampa.

You will learn of the long career that gives meaning to his name by clicking here. Also, click here to learn of their daughter’s developing role at Goshen College.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to Wilmer

  1. Don Blosser says:

    I had to laugh at your comment — “first thing when I wake up in the morning is to read the obituaries” (I thought—are you checking to see if your name is there !!!)
    I used to read the obituaries looking for parents of my friends…now I look to see if anyone who my age has died. Troubling thing is, that happens more often each year!
    I am the youngest sibling in my family–will turn 80 this Friday…if it wasn’t for what is on my birth certificate I would not accept it!

  2. Alton Longenecker says:

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but I believe your father is on the far left.

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