A very dear friend of mine died Saturday evening. He'd been very sick for about 2 months before he died, but I don't know that any of us, when this started, saw his death as the end of his ordeal.
I met Gary Chancellor in August 1996, when I enrolled in one of his French classes at Oklahoma Baptist University. Gary was an excellent professor, an excellent teacher, an excellent educator. But he was more than that. Gary was, as his wife still is, a remarkable friend. I trusted his advice and coveted his prayers. In a time when we are told that we, as christians, may be the only "Jesus" some ever see, Gary was consistantly an illustration of our great Rabbi and master. I'm not saying he was perfect; no one is. But he was beyond good. He was consistant and faithful in his witness and concern. He could have just presented the material and expected us to learn it or not on our own, but he went beyond that. He found new and different ways to involve us in the learning process, and when I taught last year, I wanted to be for my students at least a little of what he'd been to me. One semester, after surgery that summer, he held class in his home, welcoming us in graciously. I could call Gary and ask for help on minor, unrelated stuff...such as whether or not cheese could be frozen.
I was able to open myself up to Gary and Mary, his wife, to trust them with my deepest heart and hurts. They never failed to encourage and love me, giving me guidance without judgement or impatience. I truly thank my God that He let me meet and get to know this faithful servant of His.
Gary, you are already deeply missed. Still, I know that even now, you walk the streets of heaven with our savior, and I rejoice for you and your release. May the God of grace you lived to those around you now fill us all with much needed comfort and blessings of mercy.
The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you
The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Gary's obituary in the Shawnee News-Star