This week is vacation bible school at Church. One of our mainstays of VBS is missing this year – Brother Rick. He was always laughing and joking and supporting the kids. He died last October and this is the first VBS without him. A friend of the family is in charge of the puppet ministry this year and we were talking about Brother Rick in the hallway last night. How his presence is missed in the puppet stage and in VBS. Rick and I didn’t always see eye to eye on our beliefs, but he was willing to listen and respected my thoughts on various topics.
Since, I am beat and too tired to write, as well as missing Rick (and the puppet he manned – Elmer), I thought I would share this post I wrote right after Brother Rick died.
Heaven gained another angel on Sunday. Why? Cause Jesus don’t make junk. My life-long pastor and family friend passed away on Sunday morning after a short illness. Brother Rick began preaching while he was a senior at Fairmont East High School. He graduated from Cumberland College and received his theological training at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1979, Brother Rick became the pastor of the First Baptist Church of New Carlisle. I was one year old.
I was one year old. And, I am now 35. Brother Rick has been involved in my life for 34 years. While I was young, Rick and his family lived one house down from us. I played with his girls every day. If Mom didn’t know where I was, chances are I was at the Shoemaker house watching cartoons and playing. His wife, Elizabeth, and my mom used to meet for coffee every day after dropping me off at elementary school. I thought I was so special when, for whatever reason, I got to tag along. I would get milk and donuts and listen to Mom and Elizabeth chatter for a while. While both Rick’s girls are older than I am, I was in marching band with his oldest (she was a senior and I was a freshman) and knew his youngest from school and church functions. He was always there with a smile and a kind word for everyone. He would clasp his hands in front of him, and say, “Well, Julie…”
Rick christened my brother. He baptized my father, brother, and I. He was there the night my brother was killed. He performed the funeral a few days later. He married the Hubs and I. He performed my father’s funeral. He was always there. For 34 years.
Now, don’t get me wrong. God knows (literally) that I am not the world’s perfect christian and Rick and I have disagreed a few times on our beliefs. But, Rick was always one to see both sides of the argument and was respectful of my thoughts. Rick had made decisions and had beliefs that I didn’t totally agree with, but that is okay. He respected me and I respected his… and he was always willing to hear what I had to say.
I could go on to give you a biography of who Rick Shoemaker was. But, telling this story is what will help you know him…
As I mentioned earlier, I used to play with Rick’s girls all the time. One day, I was down at their house and I had on a shirt that read “Jesus Made Me and He Don’t Make Junk.” I was probably around 4 or so. I remember Rick telling me he liked my shirt and said, “Julie, no matter where you go in life or what happens, remember Jesus don’t make junk.” I have always, always remembered that. No matter how crappy I feel about myself or how bad my life seems… God has a plan and I am not junk. That is the legacy Brother Rick Shoemaker left me. And it is one I will take to my grave.
Rick only had one thing about him that was questionable (at least in this Steelers fan’s eyes)… his love of the Cleveland Browns. But, none of us are perfect…
SHOEMAKER, Rick J. 59, of New Carlisle, Ohio, went home to heaven on Sunday, October 27, 2013 after a short illness. He was born November 3, 1953 in Dayton, Ohio to Estel & Marilyn (Norris) Shoemaker. He married Elizabeth (Jessamine) Shoemaker on June 8, 1974. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Shoemaker; daughters, Jennifer & Brian Clifford, Sarah & Dale Gillespie; “adopted” son, Joshua Mooney; grandchildren, Nathaniel, Carli & McKenna Clifford; mother, Marilyn Shoemaker; siblings, Dr. Brian & Rhonda (Adams) Shoemaker, Lori & George Hellmund; nephews, Daniel & Erin Hellmund, Jared & Travis Hellmund, Andrew & Ashley Shoemaker; the entire church family of the First Baptist Church of New Carlisle; and other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his father, Estel “J” Shoemaker. Rick had the honor of pastoring the First Baptist Church of New Carlisle for over 34 years. He also served in various leadership positions in the Greater Dayton Association of Baptists. He was a published author. He was a member of Peacemakers Ministries and provided counseling services in the community. Rick was a devoted, lifelong fan of the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavaliers. Visitation will be 5-8 PM Wednesday October 30, 2013 at the First Baptist Church, New Carlisle. Funeral services will be at 10:00 AM Thursday at the church with Rev. Doug Martin officiating. Burial will be in New Carlisle Cemetery. Arrangements by the TROSTEL, CHAPMAN, DUNBAR & FRALEY FUNERAL HOME, New Carlisle, Ohio. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Jeff Chesnut Scholarship Fund at the First Baptist Church of New Carlisle. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to www.trostelchapman.com.
Rest In Peace, Brother Rick. You shall be missed. I’ll see you when I get there!