We have not posted a blog update in a few weeks. This is because Lezlie’s dad, Glenn Douthitt passed away on January 2 and we were away. We received a phone call informing us early in the morning from Lezlie’s sister-in-law who lives in Florida. Although he was 88 and in bad enough health that we knew this day was coming soon, it was still a shock and very sad news. After multiple phone calls to Lezlie’s mom and other family members, many rearrangements of our schedule, and a quick job packing our suitcases we flew to Sarasota, Florida that afternoon. We arrived in the evening and began doing all we could to comfort Lezlie’s mom and help take care of all the administrative issues associated with a death in the family. Lezlie and her sister went through many files and made multiple phone calls to insurance companies, pension plans, etc. Meanwhile I did the shopping, errand running, and handyman chores that needed doing. Lezlie’s mom was blessed by having many family members visit to provide comfort and to attend the memorial service. Lezlie’s brother and his wife and her sister and her husband were all there. Seven of her eleven grandchildren attended and even a couple of great-grandkids were there. Although it was a somber event that brought us together, the cousins all enjoyed visiting with Grandma and with each other. Glenn was an Army Veteran, so he was buried in the National Cemetery of Sarasota, Florida. We had a very nice outdoor memorial service there. Three Army soliders were present. When we began the service they marched in and placed the urn with Glenn’s ashes and an American flag on the front table. Carrie said a prayer and Anne read a scripture. Then Lezlie read a biography of her dad. Several of the children and grandchildren sang a song that Lezlie’s sister had written several years ago for Glenn and Connie’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. Finally one of the soldiers played taps and the other two performed a very nice flag ceremony. They presented the flag to Connie and on behalf of the President of the U.S. thanked her for her husband’s service to the country. It was a very nice service and many tears were shed. We then all gathered at the home of Lezlie’s brother David and his wife Liz. They provided a wonderful meal and we had an informal sharing service where we all got to talk about our favorite memories of our father, father-in-law, and grandpa. He was a great man, and we all had plenty of wonderful stories to share. Many memories centered around his marvelous talents of art and music. Some time in his forties he decided he wanted to learn to paint and he taught himself to be an excellent artist of land and seascapes. Every child and grandchild has some of this art in their home. We all remembered his skill at the organ, also self taught. Every family get together was not complete until he sat down at the organ and played song after song. There were also many memories about his kindness, his love of family, and his enjoyment of life. It was a special afternoon where the tears were interspersed with laughter and contemplation about the good life of Glenn Douthitt. We honor him and will miss him greatly. But we know that he is now free from the pains and worries of mortal life, and that his spirit lives on. We know that he is reunited with loved ones in heaven. We are grateful to have known him and been a part of his life. He was a great man who has left an outstanding legacy. We honor his memory. Here is a picture of Lezlie with her dad when she was about two.
We got some nice photos while in Florida. Here are Abby and her 6 month old cousin Austin, son of Lee and Laura Douthitt.
Here is a nice picture of Abby with her great-grandma as well as a four generation shot of Abby, mom Carrie, grandma Lezlie, and great-grandma Connie.
At the end of December we had a pleasant surprise. We got the chance to see our nephew Michael Parsons and his fiance Alexis. They were in Washington DC visiting friends. They were visiting the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport on their last day in DC and invited us to visit them there. We did and it was a wonderful visit. We enjoyed chatting while we walked around and saw the amazing planes, rockets, helicopters, and anything else that flies. They both know a lot about aviation and space. We got to see the Space Shuttle Discovery and Michael showed us the engines he worked on. Very Cool! We really enjoyed getting to know Alexis and thought she was a wonderful girl. They really seemed happy with each other. We were flattered that they invited us to spend time with them.
We recently talked with the Church Military Relations Department. We were sad to hear they do not have a couple lined up to replace us yet, at least not that will be here when we leave. It will make us sad if we do not get to turn over these wonderful marines to another couple. The soonest anyone would be here would be mid April, so that would mean about a 6 week gap. But that is better than no replacements at all. We will have to leave a lot of information for the new couple so that they can quickly come up to speed.
Lezlie had a delightful phone call with the grandma of our young marine friend – the spudnut grandma. She was delighted to hear that her grandson had enjoyed spudnuts on Christmas morning. We assured her that they were not as good as her spudnuts. She and Lezlie had a good laugh and a nice talk on the phone. We were so delighted to be able to make that surprise work out. It was a blessing for our marine as well as his grandma.
After a slow Monday of catching up from our trip to Florida we went out to dinner with our senior missionary friends Kevin and Mala Anderson. They have served here in Woodbridge for 6 months and we have greatly enjoyed working and socializing with them. They are leaving tomorrow, so we took them out to dinner. It was fun but bittersweet because we are sad to bid them goodbye. While they were here we visited Monitcello and Mt Vernon together, went to the temple, shared several meals and got together in each other’s apartment several times. It has been wonderful to become close to another senior couple and talk about our missionary work. We will sure miss them.
We had a great experience one evening last week with a marine family. One of the female marines that frequently came to our Officer Candidate School classes and who is not a member of the church filled out a religious survey form at The Basic School. She put down that she was interested in attending LDS services. The chaplain sent us her information. So we went and visited her family and got to know them a bit. She has two young children and a husband who is very nice. He is a retired marine. He said that he had several close LDS friends in high school so know something about the church. We are taking them to sacrament meeting at the ward near their home this Sunday It was exciting to talk to them and get to know them just a little bit. We are happy to get to take them to church.
We have actually begun sorting through some of our closets and shelves here. We have just a little over a month left. Some things we will leave here, some we will ship home, some we will give to Goodwill, some we will give to the young missionaries, and some we will take in the car. You can really accumulate a lot of stuff in 18 months, so we have a lot to go through.
Friday evening was our first meeting with the new Officer Candidate School class. We had only one show up, but he was a very nice guy. He is originally from Utah, but has lived in Portland for the last couple of years. So it was fun to talk to him about Oregon. We had a nice lesson about having the courage to Stand Alone. He had some excellent comments. The other service missionary that help with OCS and I were able to give him a blessing. He is not worried about handling the physical stuff, as he is in really good shape. But he is worried about getting injured. So we gave him a nice blessing. The chaplain told us he thought that there were a couple more LDS folks that might show up next time. We will just have to wait and see if there are others.