WALKER L. SLUSHER
Walker Slusher did not want an obituary, a viewing, or a funeral. He didn’t even want what he received; a grave side service attended by six of his friends.
This “obituary” is because everyone has a story, and this is only a very small part of Walker’s.
For the last twenty plus years, Walker had been helped in one way or another by people in this congregation. For at least the last fifteen years or more, he would come to the annex Monday though Thursday while I was in the office, and wash up. He had a hot water tank but refused to use it because it cost too much. After he scalded himself carrying water from the kitchen to the bathroom, I told him to come to the office and wash in the restroom. He also had no central heat, and heated his bedroom in the winter with a space heater and an electric blanket.
He would come in, talk a little bit and go into the other office and lay down on the couch, take a nap and then wash up. On Mondays, when I took the contribution to the bank, he would go and do his banking and then we’d stop at Krogers so he could shop. Others helped him as well, but I don’t have room to list all that was done for him by others.
He was not marrying material due to his mental problems. If he had married, it would have been short-lived, because he was a hoarder, mostly of classical records and show tunes. He had an amazing love and knowledge of music.
However, because of memories of not having much growing up, he also collected clothes, lamps and just about any other useful item he could find in a dumpster. I’ll let you imagine what the inside of his house (inherited from his mother) looked like.
He never owned a car, and rode a bicycle, walked, or took the bus. He knew that exercise was good for his mental problems, which he described as “schizoid”. Winters were exceptionally hard on him.
At the burial, it was revealed by a former neighbor that he had been involved in an car accident as a young child and his head hit the metal dashboard and knocked him out. His parents didn’t take him to the hospital. The neighbor was told by Walker’s sister-in law that he suffered from brain damage that caused one part of him to remain somewhat childlike when it came to reasoning.
He lied a lot, or believed what he was saying, even though it wasn’t true. I soon got to the place where I let it go in one ear and out the other. I knew he was lonely and the more he socialized with me and others, the better off he was.
You would never know what the inside of his house looked like judging from the outside. His was about the best kept yard on the street, with the exception of a spare bike and lawnmower or two. He mowed his grass three days before he died.
His mental state often caused him to lie to get sympathy. He once told people he was homeless, and nearly had social services invade his life. When I asked him why he did it, he told me he was homeless, because, according to the dictionary, a home was a social unit where a family lived together, and since he was just one person, he was homeless.
The goal of those of us who cared about him was to keep him in his home as long as possible. We knew if anyone who didn’t care or know him, saw the way he lived, he would be taken out of his house. Had that happened, he would have died in a matter of days in a mental ward.
He was, like many, obsessed with money worries. At 87 he was in good physical shape, except for a blood clot in one chamber of his heart, which they were treating with an anti coagulant.
On the day he died he complained of chest pains, but would not let me take him to the emergency room for fear of the cost, even though he had medical insurance.. He said he was going to lay down as he always did. He never got up. That’s the ugly. Fear and stubbornness can kill you.
CONCERNS: Richard Crites is now back at Raleigh Court in the same room he had before. Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody, is in a nursing home in WVA. Larry Foy’s brother, Charles, is in a nursing home in MD. Jim Hunter is home and the latest tests look good. Wayne Phlegar hasn’t been able to get out and about lately. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas is dealing with leukemia. Former member Betty Shepherd needs a kidney transplant. Remember also Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Jenni Cullum, Stephanie Ridney Marge Greenwood and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 3-8
Monday: Exodus 1:15-2:10
Tuesday: Mark 1:16-34
Wednesday: Genesis 17;1-21
Thursday: Job 42:1-17
Friday: Luke 4:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 63:1-11
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 10-15
Monday: Job 1:1-12
Tuesday: Jeremiah 1:4-19
Wednesday: Matthew 11:1-19
Thursday: Romans 2:1-29
Friday: Revelation 18:1-20
Saturday: Psalm 93:1-5
Our condolences to Debbie McRoy in the death of her cousin, Harold Tidwell. The funeral was in Memphis.
Thanks to all of those who came to the building last Saturday and did yard work. There will be more done in the days ahead.
Susan Jordan left Friday to spend a week at the Ezell Clinic in Montellango, Guatemala. Keep her and the work there in your prayers. Susan loves this work and holds the record for the number of times someone from Roanoke has gone to the clinic. We look forward to a report from her when she returns.
Dell Bolin will be part of a medical team going to Honduras. This is a continuing effort to bring aid and healing to this country Keep him and the other doctors and workers in your prayers.
AC and Jake Fuller will be going to Lebanon on August 10th to bring aid to those in refugee camps in that country. Pray for their safety during this trip.
THE SERVICE ROSTER
Erma Williams has volunteered to set up the service roster for each month, starting in September. This is not an easy job, so help her out by letting her know the dates you will be away. Also, if you would be willing to serve in a way you did not indicate on the information cards you filled out, please let her know.
Today will be the last time we have Stacy and David Maharrey with us before they relocate to Oxford, Miss. They have been a wonderful encouragement to us while they were here. We wish them the very best and our thoughts and prayers go with them.
THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND BAR B QUE
Guess what? Labor Day is on Monday, September 7th. So the Bar B Que will be on Saturday, September 5th. We will have a sign-up list on the table in the foyer sometime this month.
Since 1988 we have enjoyed these Saturday’s together. Plan to come.