Photos of Brady

Sunday, April 29, 2007


It has been a privilege to share Rocky's life and an honor to know him. One of the greatest gifts a loved one can give to another is caring for them in the last days, hours, and seconds of their life. Knowing Rocky's feelings, my mom, Rocky's daughter Holly, and I took care of him as lovingly as possible, giving consideration to the pride he possessed and his desire not to be a burden, while still giving him dignity in his last days.

Rocky was a quiet man. He felt deeply, loved greatly, and had great compassion for all living things. He worked hard in his life, and he wanted to work until his health no longer allowed it. Many times as he headed out to take a patient to a medical appointment he was wearing his chemo bag and so sick he could barely drive. Yet he worked. He was sicker than his fares most times, and only when he could no longer endure the long days did he quit his job to fight the cancer full time at home.

Those of us who shared his life never saw a sick or dying man. He never complained. He never whined. He wanted to keep doing normal things until he no longer could, so he trained for powerlifting meets and always looked forward to the next meet. He found great joy in the younger guys of the team, and was grateful that they allowed him to be a part of their team. Little did he know what an impact he was making on those lives. They dubbed him Rockstar, and cheered him on. They helped him, without helping. You know what I mean. As they trained and joked around they always had one eye on Rocky just in case he might need help. They gave him the respect and dignity he deserved, yet made sure he took his medication when away for a meet. He was so proud of being a part of the team, and a member of The Firm where they all trained. Craig Harrison, the owner, was a special friend of Rocky's. Another special friend was Rodney Wood, Rocky's coach and team leader. They were so proud of Rocky's accomplishments, his records, and his success as a powerlifter. They never knew what a struggle it was for Rocky just to get into the unitard he had to wear to compete. He was very modest, and didn't like showing his legs or wearing tight fitting clothes in mixed company. Yet he did it. There was no fanfare in him. He walked over to the bar, picked it up and set it down when they told him to. He was a strong man, yet his strength wasn't just about the weight he lifted or the records he set....Rocky's strength was in his character. He was a champion powerlifter, yet I have seen those big hands hold a baby bird with great care. One time he stopped his 18 wheeler in the middle of one of the busiest intersections of Dallas-Fort Worth during a blinding snowstorm to rescue a little duck who was half frozen and laying in the road. He took it home to his farm, where it lived out its life among the other strays Rocky had given a home to.

Rocky was the champion of the common man, yet he was no ordinary man. The measure of a man is determined by the ability of his heart to love, the strength of his character, his integrity,
and his faith. By those standards Rocky has always been a champion. Those of us who loved him know he is waiting for us at Heaven's gate. I know he will want to see you there as well. He had a simple faith, his favorite verse being John 3:16. He lived his life by it, and he now resides in heaven because of his commitment to Christ.

We have set up the Rocky Memorial Power Meet Fund in order to finance an annual powerlifting meet in Rocky's honor. In this way his life will continue to impact others in positive ways and he will always be remembered. Many of you have asked how you might contribute. You can mail donations to:

Rocky Memorial Power Meet Fund
Great Southern Bank
1210 Parkway Shopping Center
West Plains, MO 65775

Oh how Rocky would have loved that!

Thank you for your many acts of condolence. God bless you for your prayers, thoughts, and love for our family. My brother John will be conducting the service, and I know he will appreciate your prayers as he prepares.

Until next time,


Friday, April 27, 2007


The date for Rocky's memorial service is Saturday May 12 at 3:00pm.

It will be held at The Firm, 1610 Freedom Drive, West Plains, MO 65775. The owner's name is Craig Harrison.

In lieu of flowers, we have set up the Rocky Memorial Power Meet Fund at Great Southern Bank in West Plains. There will be an annual memorial powerlifting meet held at The Firm in his honor, with the Rockstar Award being awarded to the lifter who best exemplifies the spirit of personal achievement. An event will be created in his honor where the lifter will have to pick up two full milk cans and carry to a platform the height of his milk truck and put them there. It will be a timed event. The trophy will also be the Rockstar trophy, made in the shape of a star, which is what mom's name means. Donations can be sent to us here or to the bank, but made out to the Rocky Memorial Power Meet Fund.

We hope you can come, as it will be a wonderful service celebrating the champion of the common man...and an extraordinary man in his own right.

Until next time,


Thursday, April 26, 2007


Rocky's earthly journey ended Tuesday evening. Mom, his daughter Holly, and I were with him as he stepped from this life into Heaven. He never complained. There is much to take care of, but I will try to collect my thoughts and post something more detailed later.

God bless and keep all of you who emailed, called, and prayed. We continue to feel the strength of your thoughts and prayers, and that is what gets us through.



Monday, April 23, 2007


Life is going on all around us. The birds sing, the sun shines, and the night sky is a brilliant canopy with the moon as a guiding light. It seems odd that the circle of life continues...and yet Rocky is slipping away. This weekend we cared for him as we always do, yet the reality of his situation became clear. All we can do now is keep him clean and at rest. I will let mom express her thoughts about his condition, as Rocky is extremely proud, and since this is his journey she will know best what to say. Those of you who read our blogs know where to find hers.

Your thoughts and prayers give us strength as we care for Rocky, and for the most part he is peaceful and resting. God bless you for understanding why I am not posting as often these days, as my time is spent taking care of Rocky and being a support to family members and mom.

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I know that you all have been following Rocky's story. We have been waging a battle against the hated foe...CANCER...for fifteen months now. We have laughed together, cried together, encouraged each other, and supported each other in spite of the prognosis. One must always leave room for a miracle, and we most assuredly have faith that in God's time Rocky's journey will be completed to His glory and not one second before.

You know that Rocky is a powerlifter and has spent considerable time training in the gym with his teammates. His accomplishments have also attracted the notice of many disciplined weight lifters, and they have been very vocal about his accomplishments and his mentoring the younger guys in the gym. One of Rocky's fans and a man who also has deep respect for Rocky just happens to be my new Lieutenant. He is a dedicated and accomplished weight lifter and has trained extensively in martial arts. Yesterday afternoon I accompanied my Lt. to mom and Rocky's home for a visit. Rocky is much weaker now, and has more difficulty visiting than even a few days ago. We were mindful of that, and after half an hour when we could see that Rocky was tiring we stood to leave. I have never been more proud. Rocky is a champion of the common man, and hasn't spent as much time around men of rank or position, but the bond these two men share is of something deeper. It is digging deep within yourself to overcome all obstacles to achieve a personal goal. Rocky began the struggle to stand to his feet, to which the Lt. said, "It's okay Rocky, just stay seated." Not good enough for Rocky....a state champion, a national champion, and world champion powerlifter. I knew he would accomplish this goal just like he did any of his records....with determination, with focus, and against all odds.

Something special happened in the living room yesterday afternoon. Three of us stood and beheld the measure of the man Rocky is...proud, respectful, and compassionate. Slowly, as we all held our breath, Rocky stood slowly to his feet. He looked straight into the Lt.'s eyes and offered his hand in respect, in camaraderie, and in farewell....

It was a moment to behold. Yesterday afternoon, Rocky beat the hated Foe....CANCER. Yes, he is preparing for the journey he alone will make....yes he will succumb to the illness he has bravely fought for so long...but he will do it with valor. And he will not be alone. Those of us who love him will stand by his side, and angels will watch over him until God calls him home. Yesterday the most amazing athletic accomplishment I have ever witnessed with my own eyes took place, and the three of us who beheld the feat knew the measure of a man called Rocky.

God bless all of you who pray daily, and may God bless you for your faithfulness.........

Until next time,


Monday, April 16, 2007


For months I have been spending all the time I can with mom and Rocky. This was a choice I made for several reasons. Rocky was diagnosed with colon cancer fourteen months ago. In our family we may deal with things differently than others, because we are close. When good times come we share it together. When bad times come we close ranks even tighter and walk through the valley arm in arm. It isn't an oddity to us.

Mom and I decided long ago that we would honor Rocky by giving him the very best love, support and care we could. He is a wonderful man who in his own quiet way has influenced a wide circle of people with his big heart, sense of humor and caring spirit. Bad times came. We closed ranks even tighter and began the walk through the valley arm in arm. We have this honor because we live closest to him. Family and friends who live long distances away trust us with their loved one as they can't be here as often. It is a comfort to them that Rocky is surrounded by a wife who loves him, and me who also loves him and can offer support to both of them.

Rocky is a unique individual. He never wanted to be a burden to anyone when the time came. He is a proud man. Accepting help is hard for him, and I suppose he feels that it shows weakness if he needs help. I can understand that to some extent, as I am much the same way. However, love covers all things. Fear of the unknown...an illness stronger than we are...anger...and probably the hardest of all, accepting help and care when we can no longer help ourselves.

We had a rough weekend. Rocky is trying to adjust to the changes in his body and the medications. He slept for two days. Mom and I tried to offer help and comfort when he was awake, which was seldom. The meds made him weak, calling for help for eating and dressing. Seeing a need we could help with, mom and I sprang into action. It is the waiting that is hard for us. It seems that the more we tried to be of help for Rocky the more he withdrew. Seeing that he didn't want help, I came home so that he could be alone with mom.

Life is a journey. Love will find a way. This is Rocky's journey, and love will help mom and I be that comfort and support that he wants and needs. We want to honor the person he is with the best care we can give. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Until next time,


Thursday, April 12, 2007


Good Thursday morning. I had to leave the house early yesterday to travel to Jefferson City, as I will be helping instruct another school end of the month and first week in May. The sky grew more ominous as I drove, with rain starting at the halfway point. Since the last time I was there we had tornado warnings, I kept my eye on the sky. It was a good day, but another twelve hour workday. Suffice to say I am having a hard time keeping my eyes open this morning.

After a busy weekend with company, mom, Rocky and I are happy to be quiet. The best thing to do is rest while we can, as there is more company coming. Since Rocky was placed into hospice care people have been coming to say their goodbyes and spend some quality time with him. It is wonderful to see everyone. He visits a while and sleeps a while, so we work around his needs. I know he is probably wondering what all the fuss is about, but there are a lot of family and friends who have been touched by his life. Many of us never know what kind of impact we have on others. When someone suffers a long illness people have both time and opportunity to express their feelings to the one who is ill. What a blessing.

Rocky is one of those quiet people who has lived his life in an ordinary manner doing ordinary things. He has impacted people with a generous spirit, a laid back sense of humor, and a big heart. He has been a friend to critters and loves wildlife. A couple of years ago he took up powerlifting. He is now a world champion. He is held in high esteem among the powerlifting community, and it is touching to see the way those gentle giants embrace and celebrate his accomplishments.

I encourage those of you who have followed the ongoing fight he has waged against the cancer to drop by, write an email, or call. Rocky and mom love to hear from those beyond the borders of our small town, and are humbled by the thoughts and prayers offered on their behalf.

Have a wonderful day,


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Thursday afternoon I was driving home from work when I had a phone call from my son-in-law Marc. He had made plans for a weekend visit and was calling to tell me that he was bringing my daughter in from Connecticut and would be arriving the next afternoon. They haven't been here since Brady was born eighteen months ago, so I was excited. I wanted to surprise my mom and Rocky so I kept the news to myself.

I came home early Friday so I would be here when they arrived. To say that mom and Rocky were surprised would be an understatement. The weekend went much too quickly. Mom kept us full of biscuits and gravy, spaghetti, and other good things while we visited. As is the case when loved ones are together, you turn around twice and they are leaving.

Today I am back to work. Jennifer and Marc are back in Connecticut, and mom and Rocky will be resting and trying to recuperate after four days of company. I think I would rather stay home and rest as well, but duty calls.

I hope that you had a blessed Easter with friends and family. Aside from record breaking cold weather, it was beautiful here. Happy April.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, April 05, 2007


My trip to Jefferson City started out normal enough. I had watched the weather before I left and knew that a strong line of severe weather was moving through KC toward the east. Bright sunshine and balmy spring temperatures belied the severe weather threat for the afternoon, and the drive was enjoyable. The closer I got to Jeff City the darker it got. As I parked my car I took a good look at the sky, and could see the front off to the west. It was a relief to get into the building before the rain started.

Engrossed in meetings, I had forgotten about the approaching storms. While we ate lunch I noticed that the rain hadn't started yet, so there was hope that I could get to my car before it did. As we were finishing lunch the tornado sirens went off. The Academy staff didn't take that lightly. Within minutes, hundreds of people were on their way to shelter the next building over. As I walked to safety I was reminded of the tornado we experienced in grade school. We were taken out onto the playground and stood by class. To our horror we watched a tornado drop from the clouds and destroy a grade school and community ten miles away. It was a relief to be taken down into the basement of the building until the danger passed this time.

Thankfully there was no damage and we were released to return to the Academy. I was gathering up my things and saying goodbyes when the sirens went off again. Once again we found ourselves on our way to the safety of the basement, this time walking through a torrential downpour. Great. You have no idea how rain affects our wool uniforms. I was just happy that I hadn't left yet. We had a longer stay this time, but when we were finally released I went straight to my car. A thunderstorm was in progress, but I made my way to the highway and began the long drive home. Half an hour later I ran into terrible hail. There was nothing I could do but continue, as I was between towns with no shoulder on the highway. Before reaching Smalltown I ran through two other hailstorms. All in all it was an interesting day, but I have a big fear of storms in general and tornadoes in particular. Those who know me well can attest to that.

The storms brought a cold front, and we tumbled from the high 70s down into the 20s and freeze warnings. On my way to work this morning I will see sheets and other linens covering precious spring blooms. I have done that myself to protect my flowers and flowering bushes, but the danger also included the neighborhood dog who dragged sheets and pillow cases down the hill to his home. Thankfully his "mom" would launder and return them to us. Life in Smalltown. I hope you have clear weather in your corner of the world. Happy Thursday everyone.

Until next time,


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


You won't believe this, but today I am driving to Jefferson City for another meeting. It is okay, as this particular meeting is only scheduled every two months now. Once I am done with this one I will be working out in the field with the other examiners for a while. It will be a nice change of pace.

I sat on the deck with mom and Rocky last night, and enjoyed her lilac bushes. She has three of them back at the edge of the big woods, and each year it is wonderful to see how many beautiful blooms they have. There is a lot of wild honeysuckle in my brother George's lot, and it smells wonderful. I love spring.

Well, I have to leave an hour earlier than normal today, so I need to grab a bite of breakfast. Have a wonderful day.

Until next time,


Monday, April 02, 2007

After a whirlwind trip to Jefferson City and KC Friday, I had a wonderful visit with family and friends before coming home yesterday afternoon. These fast trips are tiring but necessary when distance separates loved ones. It is always fun to finally get there and I hate leaving because I never know when I will be able to make the trip again.

Coming back into Smalltown is always a joy. For almost thirty-five years it has been my second home, so making the final turn down my country road tugs at my heart. This past week what has always been Bob's field was sold to his daughter and son-in-law. Bob and Geralene are getting too old to take care of the hayfield, and since they no longer raise several beef cattle each year it seemed the logical course of action to sell. So many changes are taking place here on Shady Lane. Sadly there is nothing I can do about it.

Today is our kick butt Monday. They seem to roll around quickly any more. I will spend my day in meetings two hours away, but I will be with my boss and other management personnel instead of going alone. That will be a welcome change as I won't have to drive!

Until tomorrow,