A man I never knew died last week. His wife taught my children. His children and my children are all classmates. But, for some reason, I never met him in the two years since we joined their church. I learned a little more about Butch today.
Today, my son's hockey team played against his daughter's hockey team in her club's spring hockey tournament. It was the championship match. Why did she play? She was the only goalie left for the team and she's a fierce competitor. It probably never occurred to her not to play. The family left the rink after the game to shower Sophie up and go to the reviewal. He has been the hockey association president since 2002. That told me a lot about him. My guess is that he didn't even have to tell his daughter that it was OK to help her team out on the day before his funeral.
I also found his picture in a very recent (2-17-05) issue of Let's Play Hockey. In today's city newspaper, I learned even more:
Butch, age 53, passed away March 16, 2005. Butch was born in 1951 in Melrose, MN to Agnes and Cyril. He was raised in Freeport, MN or as he liked to refer to it "Lake Wobegon". He attended St. Cloud State and the University of Minnesota to receive his Masters in Electrical Engineering. In 1986, he married Jean, in Pinecreek, MN. He was a long time employee of Medtronic, Inc where he was a Technical Fellow and Distinguished Engineer. He was president of the hockey asociation from 2002 to present. Butch is survived by his wife, Jean; and daughters, Tess and Sophie.
Butch was gifted with tremendous energy and drive and couldn't resist a project whether at work, for a friend or one of his own. He tackled them with great gusto and followed them to completion. As far as we know the only project left unfinished was his retirement home, but we know that God had a better retirement plan for Butch than any we could have come up with.
Butch was diagnosed with untreatable cancer very few weeks ago. Since that time, the 7th grade class has been practicing a song to sing for Butch's funeral. I'm having a hard time imagining how I will keep my composure tomorrow when I hear the sweet sounds of 13 year old voices singing to the family of their sweet Sophie and to the glory of God.