Friday, January 8, 2010

Donald Robert Bear Laid to Rest

Today started at 11:30 with a viewing of my Uncle Don. He passed away earlier in the week at home at the age of 80. Today was a day filled with sorrow and pain, but also joy and unity.

There were bouquets and wreaths of flowers everywhere. The Bear Family is a very large and close family. Bears poured in from all over the west coast; but it wasn't just family. Friends were everywhere. Don was loved by all that knew him. He lived his life the way most of us wish they could. He did not drink, smoke, curse or brag and he was the most honest person I have ever known.

By the time the service started, the chapel was filled and there were people standing long the wall. His son Don, gave the eulogy. He did a wonderful job and there was not a dry eye anywhere. It was time for members of the family to speak, both his older bother Charles, nicknamed Puzz and his younger brother Jim spoke eloquently. I spoke for our family. There was no shortage of family members to wanting to express their love for our dearly departed Uncle Don. There were stories about fishing, cars, and wonderful woman named Marion, his wife. One theme that continued throughout was Don's amazing selflessness.

The service ran long because of all the people who wanted to speak in praise of Uncle Don. We proceeded from the memorial service to the funeral. My brothers and I were privileged with being pallbearers. After the body was lowered, the funeral portion was over.

We all headed to First Church of the Nazarene, were Don had been an active member for almost 50 years. There we looked at pictures of Don during his life, we ate, we told storied. We promised to stay in touch and we said our goodbyes. I am lucky to be part of such a large and wonderful family. I really got to know Don's wife, Kathy for the first time. I had not seen his children since they were both in strollers and now they are young adults. I had not seen Ralph in almost 35 years. We lost one of the strongest links in our family, but we pulled together and supported each other. We are stronger than ever.

It was a beautiful celebration of the life of a dear man.

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