so many good people saying goodbye

Dec 5, 2010

Another dear friend has passed away this week. Grandpa Welker, as my kids have always called him, left this life on Friday night.

I lived with the Welker family in a period of my life when I was trying to figure out who I was and who I was going to be. They helped me sort out what my beliefs were, what was most important to me, and how to act on those beliefs. They helped me learn what a family can be and what kind of family I wanted.

You see, I had been dating a wonderful guy who was not a member of my faith. I made the heart-wrenching decision to attend college in Idaho, far away from where this young man was attending college. I had a miserable year at college, but knew deep down in my heart it was the right choice to be so far away from this young man. I knew if I was near him I could easily make the choice to marry him and while much of me wanted to marry him, I knew that our marriage would be difficult without a shared faith. At the end of that college year, I decided not to return home for the summer. I knew I still needed to keep my distance because my feelings for him were still so strong. I had nowhere to live and not enough money to find a place to live. I decided to ask the Welker’s if I could live with them and pay them rent. They welcomed me in and let me share a bedroom with their daughter. They fed me, listened to me, and laughed with me. Most of all, they loved me. They filled up my soul with so much goodness that my wounded, bitter heart started to thaw. I loved sitting around their large, homemade, round table long after the meals were over and talking. Just talking and sharing and feeling completely comfortable.

I met Richard while I lived with them and they were my “parents” during our dating season. They inspected him, interviewed him, and gave me a HUGE vote of approval. Richard was welcomed right into the family and became a frequent attendee at all the family functions.

I lived with them until I was married that fall. They helped me so much in my marriage preparations and taught me what I needed to know. Most of all, they showed me how to be part of a married couple. How to have joy in marriage. How to love my spouse. How to manage a large family. How a righteous father leads his home.

They gave me my temple clothes, which meant the world to me…but they gave me so much more. I can never repay them for the gift they gave me and my future family. Quite simply, my family may not exist if it weren’t for them. Yes, I had to make the choices, but they were with me each step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without them.

I am so grateful to Willis and Sue for being willing to be my family when I needed one and teaching me how I wanted my future family to be. What a gift!


Thank you. Thank you for opening your home to a young, confused girl and literally rescuing her from the snares of the world. Thank you for the wise guidance you gave me. Thank you for the big hugs, the many prayers, and the light in your eyes. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for being another father in my life and a grandpa to my kids.

Thank you for loving me.

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1 Comment

  1. LaPriel

    So sweet! Thanks for sharing.