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Our family mourns passing of great man but hope lives

The last week or so has been different and difficult for our family. My wife is in Florida with her mom and dad as they visited Fred’s ailing brother, Lowell. They didn’t know it would be his last week on earth. He died peacefully in the early morning hours of Friday at his home with his wife by his side.

None of us will escape death but we all have the opportunity to choose eternal life through Jesus Christ. It’s up to us. No group policies. Lowell chose that and Jesus called him home. He told his family as much the day before he died. Jesus was telling him to come home, he said. His wife said: “You’ve followed Him your whole life. Go.”

What a testimony! He’s better than ever.

Lowell Boggs, left, with brother Fred Boggs recently in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

But his family mourns. Pam, his wife of 36 years, will be separated from the love of her life the rest of her days on this earth. Fred lost his last sibling, six years his junior. Beth and her sisters have lost a favorite uncle. It’s tough to watch them mourn. But knowing it’s not the end gives them hope.

My heart aches for those left behind, for now. But Lowell’s wish wouldn’t be heartache for anyone. His wish would be for family to join him. A childhood injury took one of his eyes, but he’s seeing more clearly today than he ever did here.

Fred was Big Brother to Lowell. He was six years younger. Tom and Pauline Boggs raised some fine young men and young women. They were respectful, hard-working and compassionate. Fred is the last of five siblings who always gave more than they received. And they did it with no fanfare, because they weren’t doing it for attention. They were doing it because it was right. Lowell was like that, a friend to many. He gave so many a hand up when they needed it without anybody looking, and isn’t that how true character is defined?  He didn’t do it to say, “Hey, look at me!” He did it because he was raised that way and through his Christian convictions.

As people come to the house to pay respects, Beth has heard stories of Lowell’s generosity and the difference he made in lives there on so many different levels. Many say they owe their very lives to him. He’d tell them to give it to Jesus.

He was a school administrator and teacher by trade, a Sunday school teacher who expounded wisdom and someone who lived his life with the Lord first in his mind. What would Jesus do? That might as well have been his calling card.

I knew Lowell through our visits to Florida and, looking back, they were too infrequent. Life gets in the way sometimes. But I’ve heard the stories from Fred, who loved his little brother.  I always loved talking to Lowell and Pam. She loved him like nobody else. She’s hurting today and will for a while until she finds her “new normal.” The memories are vivid and she will have times of laughter and times of tears. But the life her husband led and is the life she has led, is filled with Christian love in her own way. God will wrap His arms around her. Rest assured of that promise.

Lowell and Fred are lookalikes and act-a-likes, too. My heart breaks for my father-in-law – the greatest man I know – as he has dealt with a lot of death recently. His best friend Harold Cathey, longtime friend and work partner Jim Downs and fellow Marine Keith Waggoner all died within a few months of each other. And now his last sibling has gone on to heaven. Fred hurts inside, but he has hope that this isn’t the end.
He also has a wife who is a Prayer Warrior like no other. Believe me, you want Alva Boggs praying for you. I love this woman, truly a second mother to me, and one of the greatest women on the planet. Fred is fortunate to have her praying for him. When she’s not sure what to do, she prays. There is nothing better.

It’s been a hard week on Beth, too. She tackles anything and everything that God tasks her to do, the most amazing woman on earth. She has been a friend, not just a niece, to her uncle and aunt this week. This would have been a much more difficult few days for them without her. I’ll never be able to thank her enough for the care she showed my mother in her last months of life. I’m sure Pam feels the same way about her today. Beth’s experience with my mother gave her the strength to be there for her uncle in ways that nobody could understand.

And for those who know Beth, she’s cut from the same cloth as her mother when it comes to being a Prayer Warrior.

How can I ever fail with those two praying for me?

Family is a blessing.

And, even in times of mourning, God is good.

Click HERE for a link to the obituary for Lowell.

By Mark Maynard

Managing editor of Kentucky Today, the digital newspaper of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, since July 2017. Worked 42 years for The Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky, the last 12 as managing editor and editor and the previous 30 before that in the sports department, including 17 years as sports editor. I have been in the business since 1975 with more than 75 writing awards from the Kentucky Press Association. I have also have written eight books, used to run fast but now look more like I have a piano on my back. President of Amy For Africa, a faith-based Christian ministry serving Uganda. I'm a husband to Beth and father to Stephen and Sally, grandfather to Brooks and human to Opie!

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