(Since many of our bulletin readers are former members of the Roanoke church, this issue is dedicated to the memory of Roger Fisher, who died March 2.)
Union West Virginia is a little over a hundred miles west of Roanoke at the convergence of WVa . Route 3 and US 119. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else. It sits on a slight hill in the rolling hill country of the mountain state, in an area full of salt springs and other long closed health resorts.
From Roanoke, at the intersection of Rt.3 and 119, turning right and then right again, is Green Hill Road. It ends at the top of the hill at the Green Hill Cemetery. Most of it overlooks Union. The graves are a collection of history, with many of them dating back before the Civil War. Just over the top of the hill, we laid Roger to rest. The following is a condensed version of Roger’s eulogy.
Roger was a quiet man who never knew how great he was. He was the youngest of eleven children. Life wasn’t easy. He told me he could remember working in the field and garden when he was younger than five. Work was in his blood, and he never stopped
In time, he met a girl named Ruth Fox, from Hinton, Wva. They married and gave their lives to Christ. She was a nurse and suffered from the effects of polio. He became a barber and in 1977 they moved to Roanoke. They were an active part of the Roanoke Church of Christ.
They raised two sons, Steve and Shawn, in the Rainbow Forest area east of town. Even with Ruth’s health problems, their home was always open to the boy’s friends. Each year before church camp they hosted a picnic for the young people.
In the sixties and seventies, when men began to let their hair grow longer and started getting curly perms (something I’ll never understand) the barber business suffered. Roger went to work as an over-the -road truck driver for United Parcel and stayed until he retired. It was in retirement that he started barbering again.
His favorite route was from Roanoke to South Charleston, WVa., across the West Virginia Turnpike, especially in the fall. He would tell me how peaceful it was to look out and see all the fall colors on the mountains.
Their son, Shawn, moved to Erie, Pa., married, and made his home there. Steve stayed in Roanoke, married Carol and together they gave Roger and Ruth two grandsons, Mitch and Rem. They were the delight of their lives.
Roger would never believe what a tower of strength he was. I remember sitting in a hospital room with him when Ruth, who was to go home the next day, suddenly died. He sat by her bed, took her hand, and with words I can’t remember, told her goodbye.
The days and months which followed were hard. We all worried about him. But he kept busy. Work was his therapy. He never missed church, but the light had gone out of his eyes.
Then we saw the light come back. He’d met a widow named Zona, and he saw in her someone with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. She saw in him what we saw, a truly good and kind man. A man who loved God and let that love flow out to everyone he met. Together they built a lovely home in a newer area of Rainbow Forest, within walking distance of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Many of us have enjoyed being in their home and eating Zona’s wonderful cooking. I remember one of those times when a veritable feast was spread before us. For desert I spied a large coconut covered cake. It was great, and I told her so. She laughed and said she’d run out of time and bought it at Sam’s
Roger loved to fish, and he was good at it, except when he took me. We never caught anything when I was along, though I think he caught a little brim. I think the fish knew, as a preacher, that I would extend mercy, and stayed away.
Actually, just getting out on Smith Mountain Lake was good for him, as it was for me. We’d talk and eat peanut butter and crackers, and on the way back to the dock we’d go fast. So fast that the wind went between my glasses and made my eyes flutter so much I could hardly see.
Roger never missed church unless he was sick or out if town. Children loved him. He gave our grandson, Aidan, his first haircut. And even though they now live in Florida, he would try to hold off getting a haircut until they came to visit so Roger could do it.
I’m sure you can’t find anyone who knew Roger who didn’t like him. I never heard him talk down about anyone
As I said before, he wouldn’t believe the strength others saw in him. I could almost think of Job. Not only did he lose Ruth, but in more recent years, he would lose both of his sons. I don’t know how he dealt with it. Part of it was how he dealt with life, he just kept working and giving himself to others and trusting God.
About two weeks before he died, he’d had a spell of being confused and ended up in the Emergency Room. While there, he had a heart attack and was rushed into surgery where they put three stents in his arteries. He did fine and was anxious to get home.
The day before he died, he came in the office and told me he wasn’t sure he could stop working part time as a barber. He said he planned to keep going to the Rescue Mission once a week to give free haircuts. At one point he said, “Keith, when I was in the hospital, I had a feeling of peace, and I told Zona and Carol that I was ready to go. They didn’t like it much, but right now, I feel the same way, I’m ready.”
In the days before he died he’d asked Zona to get a copy of Vince Gil’s “Go Rest High on the Mountain.” She said he played it over and over. His service ended with the playing of that song. He is now resting with Ruth, high on the mountain, back home in West Virginia.
CONCERNS: Judy (Shivers) Edwards is dealing with several issues as the result of a brain aneurism. Her sister, Ann, is in therapy recovering from a badly broken leg. Del Bolin’s mother has been having some health issues. Joanne Elder now has a new job. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, also Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray & Darnel Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 20-25
Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: I Corinthians 5:1-8
II Corinthians 1:23-2:11
Friday: Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAR. 27-APR.1
Monday: I Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday: Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-48
For our special third Sunday service, we have Doug Bolin, Del’s brother as our speaker. He will be speaking on Modern Parables. Doug and his wife live in PA.
Today is also Super Sunday. Plan to stay after the service for the fellowship meal.
Congratulations to Judy McWhorter upon winning first place in her Quilt Guild Challenge. The theme was “Pieces of Our Lives” and Judy’s was “A Window into My life.”
CAN YOU HELP
Judy McWhorter is taking communion to Jan and Gary Overstreet. She is asking if there are those who will help. If enough folks will help, it would only be one Sunday a month or less. See Judy or Keith if
you will help out.
Remember, we will be honoring our graduates at a spring banquet. If you or your child will be graduating from high school, college, or a vocational/training institution, please let Erma Williams know. She may have a list by now but we don’t want to overlook anyone.
The Gideons received $445.00 in their appeal for funds from us to buy Bibles.
THE NEW COPY MACHINE
We now have a new copier in the library. The steering committee has approved leasing it for five years, with a renewable contract. This means all repairs and toner is covered for the length of the lease.
Due to the completion of a second apartment building, Chester Larry Foy has a new address. It is 1010 Pines Circle, SW, Apartment 421, Roanoke, VA. 24018. Everything else stays the same.