November 11, 2010

Ray Pierson: Well Done Good And Faithful Servant

Raymond (Ray) Pierson
April 23, 1942 - November 11, 2010

In my 41 years of life this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. To eulogize and bury my father (Ray) and watch my mother (Kate) become a widow.

Dad's boat has left and arrived on the distant shore. Jesus has come to greet him after a long, rigorous journey. We'll be coming behind you soon enough Pop. Enjoy your heavenly treasures that have been stored up for you during the years of faithful and steadfast service to the Lord.

Snapshot of A Godly Life

In his earthy home Kate was Ray’s everything and Ray was Kate’s everything. If there is any one physical, earthly thing that both of them might have/had regrets leaving behind it was leaving behind each other.

“Tamquam Alter Idem” ...“As If Another Self”

This Latin phrase describes my parents marriage to a "T". A by-product of this love is typing to you now and the other is his brother. Marriage and spiritual unity’s purest manifestation is a child or children. To me this is the truest testament of God’s love and proof of his existence. Each of us is a miracle that has a purpose bestowed upon them by an Almighty God.

Raymond Pierson. Most knew him by “Ray”. I knew him by “Dad” or “Pop” depending on my mood. In a Father’s Day sermon one time I was asked, “What one word best describes your father?” As usual, if there is a loophole in something I will find it because of my over-analytical nature. I found this loophole in the word “integrity”. Integrity holds within its breadth multiple words or intents that I believe encompass everything that described my father.

"My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, And forgive all my sins. Look upon my enemies, for they are many, And they hate me with violent hatred. Guard my soul and deliver me; Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You." Psalms 25:15-21

When you think of the word integrity I think of honesty. My dad was honest sometimes painfully so. He was not “big” on “small” talk. If he liked you he blessed you by asking “God be with you” because he understood that if God was with you, no one could stand against you.

"…for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." Deut 20:4

If you angered him he told you to “go pound rock salt”. He did not mince words. When he was younger he apparently had a very formidable reputation. I very rarely saw this side of my father but judging by the way he was treated with respect by others that ran into him when I was younger I would have to say they either respected him or feared him. Dad always paid his bills. Although he couldn’t always pay them in-full at time of delivery but the bills got paid. The local stores up until the early 90s knew that Dad was good for the money and usually gave goods on credit. And just so you know, Pop didn’t have any credit cards. They trusted him because he was an honest man.

"Continue to live such honest lives among the gentiles that, when they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good works and glorify God when he visits them." 1 Peter 2:12

When you think of the word integrity I think of steadfastness, solidness. Although my faith and many others had faltered, this man’s faith never wavered. Not even through the suffering towards the end. He was consistent like the ticking and movement of a timepiece. Occasionally you had to wind him up but once this was done he was like walking on solid ground. At least to all outward appearances, he was solid as a rock. He told me no man’s an island but Dad appeared to be. Now that I’ve gotten older I believe this was his most admirable trait. Amazing actually. Considering how difficult life had been for mom and him at times. And when I say difficult I’m talking about Job difficult, not the difficulty of other biblical people that had similar but surmountable problems. I’m talking pestilence and poverty problems. This man overcame hardships like steel being tempered in a flame. I guess this is why he always jokingly told me, “You can’t hurt steel” when we were sparing and/or wrestling. I think he understood how tough his life was but was humble enough to realize it with a sense of humor. He was a laborer. A hard worker with calloused hands but a soft heart. It was as if he understood perfectly his place in God's plans. It is this that I find most remarkable of all. No matter how hard a lot he had in life, he never bashed God, only called on Him for help or praised His name. Who am I to do any different? Praise God for a loving and strong roll model. Praise God for a loving God.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that the work that you do for the Lord isn't wasted.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

When you think of the word integrity you think God-fearing or a man of God. Jesus to be specific. Boy did Dad love Jesus and so did Mom. I believe he was married to the Bride of Christ first and to Kathryn Pierson second but with equal measure he loved them both.

“Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” Ephesians 5:25

I initially didn’t understand this zealousness to profess their faith and belief. To surmise in a very brief form I will say this. I believe both of my parents were buoyed by the Holy Spirit.

Never be lazy in showing such devotion. Be on fire with the Spirit. Serve the Lord. Rom 12:11

My father liked fishing the sea but towards the end of his life never go the chance to go again. Life got in the way. The reality is...he ended up being a fisherman like his father was before him anyway. I believe he remained a fisherman until the end of his life, until the very last day in the ICU and hospice. Ironically, he was not using tackle and nightcrawlers to catch fish with scales and gills; he was using the “Word” and his internalization of the Word in his behavior to catch people. He had become a fisher of men.

While Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers-Simon (also called Peter) and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea because they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-20

Above all he adored his wife “Kathryn”, “Kate” [I call her “Mom”]. He loved her with a passion like Christ has for the Church.

There are so many other things I want to continue to say in detail about my father but like life this eulogy must end. In the end, unlike the loophole I’ve created of the "one" word in that sermon “integrity”, there are no loopholes in death. God, Jesus, made this very clear. Only through him Jesus Christ, do we enter the gates of heaven and because God is so powerful we cannot do this alive in body.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

There is a word for this and it is called “salvation”. And behind this word lies the ultimate promise, which is based in faith.

“For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son, and whosoever shall believe in him shall not perish but live and everlasting life.” John 3:16

In closing I will offer this:

Like God our heavenly Father passed agape love on to my father and gave him these aforementioned attributes encapsulated in the larger mantle of “integrity” I hope that at least one iota of what my earthly father passed on to me in terms of character I’ve managed to pass on to my sons Seth and Bryce. This is Pop's (Ray Pierson’s) legacy which I believe ultimately was one of God’s purposes for him.

Dad, I believe you are now in the presence of an Everlasting Almighty God. Jesus has assured us of this by taking on our sins at the cross. I also believe you will be recognized by all those whom have gone before you including the likes of Moses, Joshua, David...and the list is long. You will know them by name and they will all know you by your name. Raymond Pierson, Ray, Husband, Pop, Son, Pop-Pop.

I love you Pop...Christ be with you.


Anonymous said...

Honouring words Andy. God bless you and your family. Jane

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Andy. As I was reading tears came to my eyes. God needed our Dads. I've learned to leave everything up to him. You and your entire family are in my prayers. Love, Sue

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the loss of your father. My sincerest sympathy to you and your family.
Tom Christian(Now and Then Books)

Andy Pierson said...

Thanks for the compassionate thoughts

Kathleen Pond said...

Andy as I read your words and the passages of the Holy Scriptures or the words of God, a single tear rolled down my cheek. I knew your "Pop" and I had never met him. Yet, I had met him many times. He was my Dad born in 1912, my Godfather and one of Dad's best friends and my Father-In-Law who ran a small Electrical Shop. All these men were men of faith and lived their lives in the most honest way. True to themselves and others. Whole men of character believing in Jesus's teachings. Giving their all to those they loved and to those they did not know but may have had a need for their strength or their faith. Well done indeed for the Knights of Christ. May they rest in peace.

ArtWerx said...

i like that, he was your "let's roll" model! (:D we pray for the sick on a list we keep at 7pm NZ time. i'm putting you & your whole family there to no longer be sick at heart and God Be With You Too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy, your Dad was a very interesting man. I knew him when I was a teenager. He worked for my Dad and George, Johnny, Tony and Sis.

My Dad became a Christian a few weeks before he died, that was an answer to years (and years) of prayer.

They are now probably both trading old Miller Pump stories. It will be nice to see your Dad again.

God's blessings!

Andy M.

email: usmail (at)

Mike Miller said...

Hi Andy,
My bother Andy send me your page link. You may remember me, your dad called me Mickey Jr. When I was a kid I admired your dad so much. So sorry to here of his pasting. Your words brought tears and joy to me in remembering the fun he and I had at work. I feel bad that we lost touch through he years. He was a great man. He was like a dad, teacher and good friend to me growing up.
My deepest sympathy.
Mike Miller Jr.

Andy Pierson said...

Afternoon Gentlemen. Yes, I remember pop speaking of both of you. Being the younger brother/son I never really made it down to the shop in Cedars. I only ever made it down a 1/2 dozen times. I remember others too, Charlie, Joe S, Gene, etc. Pop moved on 3 years ago and mom is getting by better than I had expected she would without pop around. I trust you are doing well? I will leave a person email up for a few days so you can get it but will take it down after a week or

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