I had the opportunity to meet and share with Susan Waterman on a tour to the beautiful land of Israel in March 2013. While we were there, she received the news of the delicate health state of her dad. We made a pause in prayer for the recovery to health of her father. After her return home to the United States, we received the notification of the recovery of her father. I was glad she could return home safely and could share more precious and quality time with her father. Last October 2013, Mr. Waterman said goodbye. Words can't express the grief after losing a close loving father. She allowed us to share this touching eulogy dedicated in his memory.
Proverbs 13:22 says, A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. This passage is not just about wealth as we know it in this life. It is about a good name, leaving a legacy. I feel so blessed to have been born to a man who lived and practiced what he preached. He was a man of honor, integrity and his determination and values will live on through his children and children's children. I believe that is what this proverb speaks of. I grew up in a home my father designed and built with his own hands. He was a consistent man and a hard worker. He taught my sisters and I guiding principles that have helped us become responsible adults. Lessons like "Don't buy what you can't afford." "Take care of the things you have" and "be devoted to your family." My personal favorite and one I have shared with others, he would say, "you have a golden goose, now you can eat and use the eggs, but never under any circumstances kill the goose that lays those golden eggs." Wise advice. He encouraged us, supported us and just loved us. I will miss his phone calls to me every day asking me how things were going...
Many of you may have known the funny side of my father. His quips I will always remember and you will sometimes hear me repeat. When asked if he wanted something to eat he would reply "No, I had a bar a soap for breakfast." And if you asked him what are you doing? He would say "Oh, frying potatoes in the dishpan." Or if you happened to ask him how he was doing - "I'm a lot more like I am now than I was." One time I was shopping with him in Wal-Mart and the checkout lady asked him if he found everything okay and his reply - "everything I found was okay." When I asked him something that required a yes answer he would say, "Is a pig's rump pork?" I added "no dad, it's pressed ham."
When I was at college orientation at Texas State University, leaving the huge parent event , I was telling my dad how scared I was to come to college. I was so nervous about leaving home and being on my own for the first time. My dad jumps up on the concrete stair rails of Beretta Hall and while hundreds of high school seniors with their parents are walking by he starts flapping his arms like this....and says very loudly while looking at my mother "dear, our baby bird doesn't want to leave the nest....we gotta push her out...push our baby bird out of the nest, she has to fly on her own now" Of course I was so mortified at the time, but that was my dad. He hopped off the stair rail and began to encourage me about how important it was to him and my mom for me to grow up and be on my own.
My father was an amazing pilot. It began with him at the age of 12, he saw the Spruce Goose with Howard Hughes in the cockpit take its first and only flight as he looked on from the shore in 1947. He took his first plane ride at the age of 13 and knew for sure, without one doubt that he wanted to be a pilot. He flew fighter jets in the 50's and by the end of his career he was flying the 767 ER internationally as Captain George B. Waterman. He loved his career and he always taught us girls to find something you love and get paid for it. He flew countless people safely all over this planet in his 34 years with Delta. He even flew famous people like Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Cosby and Phylis Diller, but Dad always said he was just a "glorified truck driver." The day he retired was one of the hardest days of his life. But I respect him so much for going after and living his dream.
Finally my father was a man of great faith, but I did not see that part of him until I was in High School. His parents were going to be missionaries before the great depression and they both attended Moody Bible College so my dad was reared in a strict religious home. He told me once when I was 13 years old that as he grew older he was tired of church. But something changed for him around 1993. The day I came home from school and saw him pouring over the Bible at the dining room table surrounded by various bibles and resource material searching for the truth was a shocker. He began to see that keeping the commandments of Yehovah was vitally important. When he read the bible teaches not to eat pork and he told mom to throw out the expensive ham in the freezer we knew he was serious. Dad often told people he wanted to know what he had to do for the Creator to get a C- But I thank you dad for standing up and leading the family into truth and encouraging us to search the Word for ourselves.
I often heard my dad recite a few verses of this poem and I found it to share with you all. It was written by John Gillespie Magee Jr, of the Royal Canadian Air force in WW2 It is entitled..."High Flight"
"Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings. Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of. Wheeled and soared and swung, high in the sunlit silence, hov'ring there. I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious burning blue. I've topped the windswept height with easy grace. Where never lark or even eagle flew and while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space. Put out my hand and touched the face of God."
You will be missed daddy, there will now be a huge void in the Waterman family. But we will be okay, you fought the good fight, you finished your race. I know the Father is saying "well done, good and faithful servant." You did more than a C -.
BY: SUSAN WATERMAN GARRISON
In the memory of Captain Bruce Waterman.