Was there EVER a kinder, more gentle man than our friend Bob Carlson? Bob passed into greater life (like Bonnie Frank) on St. Patrick’s Day. A funeral service for Bob will be held at church sometime this summer once a date has been set for Bob’s committal at Denver’s military cemetery, Ft. Logan. Prayers to you, daughter Paula and grandson David. Peace Bob!
I can just hear George from heaven saying now, “My Bonnie lies over the ocean, My Bonnie lies over the sea, My Bonnie lies over the ocean, Oh bring back my Bonnie to me.” On this Saint Patrick’s day, 2023 theaven has received yet another saint.
As I mentioned to you a couple of days ago, our sister in Christ, Bonnie Frank was nearing death. She passed into greater life around 5 o’clock this morning. Coincidentally, daughter Carole had flown from Florida into Denver to see her mom but hours before. Funny how those so called “coincidences” happen. Maybe the luck of the Irish? Christians know better.
Hospice had been involved and has lovingly attendied to Bonnie. Presumably in the near future, Bonnie’s ashes will lay with husband George’s ashes in a sacred spot of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
Bonnie’s demise was surprising indeed. In her last stay at Sky Ridge hospital in Lone Tree in December, Mom and I, present in the hospital room, heard Bonnie’s leukemia doctor announce that Bonnie’s leukemia was once again gone! Even last week, over lunch at Bonnie’s home, Bonnie and I had made a pact saying that we both resolved to live another 7 lucky years.. in retrospect, a weird conversation now.
As Pastor Todd reminded us in a Lenten worship service a couple of Wednesdays ago, “There is a time for every activity under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die.” Only God knows the number of our days. Only those of you closest to Bonnie can truly appreciate the loss of this dear soul.
Cross of Glory was at the heart of Bonnie and George’s existence. Introduced to the church by next door neighbors Al and Jean Binks decades before, George and Bonnie (you can’t say one without the other), touched our lives profoundly . It was just two Sundays ago that Bonnie came to the church with the help of Carin Davis and best friend Jean. Bonnie stayed after worship and enjoyed talking easily with friends during our Fellowship time.
Bonnie was the congregational president when I became Cross of Gory’s newest pastor in June of 2005. I understand that Bonnie’s vote put me over the top. I still remember our lunch at Poppies restaurant on Colorado Boulevard just down the street from Prince of Peace when Bonnie announced to me that the congregation was going to extend a Letter of Call to me. Little did I know then that George, Bonnie and I would enjoy a 100 future meals together, most notably in there humble home. Because they knew I loved her spaghetti, it was most often served. Because they knew I hated onions, they put an onion slice on the table just to “rib” me a bit.
Our empathies are extended to Pastor Ron Letnes as well. Pastor Ron oftentimes stayed with the Franks each week rather than travel back to Fort Collins where he resided. The Franks have enjoyed close relationships with all of the Cross of Glory pastors over the years.
There is so much I can say about Bonnie. Let it suffice to say for the moment in anticipation of our Celebration of Life service to come that she truly did have a Saint Patrick’s day pot, heart of gold. Ironically, the last two dogs that the Franks had were “coincidentally” named, Bailey and Riley. How Irish can you yet?
As the familiar Irish blessing goes, “May the road rise to meet you Bonnie. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face… the rains fall soft upon your fields… and until we meet again… may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Pastor Mike Lemke
Our sister in Christ, Barbara Palmer, Charter Member of Cross of Glory going back 60+years, died peacefully on February 28. Daughter Rosemary, the first baby baptized at Cross of Glory was by her bedside, having just read to Barbara the words of the beloved Christian hymn, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” Pray for the Palmer family. Funeral plans are pending.
By now most of you have heard the news. Our dear brother in Christ, Dave Jones, passed into greater life on Saturday, July 23.
Dave has been so sad since Meridith’s passing. Moving into his new residence, Cherry Creek Village, Dave dealt with Meridith’s death by vowing to know at least 5 new residents a week. When word spread about Dave’s passing, over 100 Cherry Creek “new friends” grieved their, our, loss.
A Celebration of Life service for Dave Jones will be held at Our Father Lutheran Church, 6335 S. Holly St., Centennial, Colorado 80121 on Saturday, August 27 at 9:00 AM. Unfortunately, this conflicts with our Cross of Glory Yard Sale (publicized generally now for quite some time), but the family could not secure Our Father nor arrange travel plans for any time earlier. Pastor Mike will preside at the funeral. A nice reception will follow the funeral at Our Father. If you cannot attend Dave’s service, the family encourages you to watch the funeral at a later time as it will be recorded. Having said that, THE FOLLOWING DAY, Sunday, August 28, Pastor Mike will conduct yet ANOTHER funeral for Dave, this at Cross of Glory in place of worship at 10:00 AM for the sake of the many who will not be able to attend Dave’s memorial at Our Father. Memorials are intended for Cross of Glory in Dave’s name. Rest in Peace Dave and Meridith.
Our brother in Christ, Al Binks, passed into greater life November 17th, 2020. At around 9:00 this morning, Jean found Al in the other room of their home, struggling to breathe. He had vomited… and was non-responsive. Jean immediately called the paramedics and a fire truck arrived shortly thereafter, whisking Al to the hospital. While on the way, Al’s heart stopped… and paramedics could not resuscitate him. Carin Davis, Al and Jean’s daughter, called me around 10:30 this morning to share with me the news.
I went to the Bink’s home right away. So many of the family members were already comforting Jean. The overall sentiment was one of sadness to be sure… but thanksgiving to God for Al’s life and impact. Now as I sit here at Cross of Glory, in our Fellowship Hall, at the very table Al had so many men’s breakfast times with the fellas of our congregation, Jim Mueller and Don Schwemmer, Mike McClune and Ken Keefer, I am both humbled and challenged to be a better Christian because of Al.
You know the story. Al and Jean Binks have been members of Cross of Glory for about as long as anyone in our church. Al’s background was Missouri Synod Lutheran, but when the Muellers invited the Binks to Cross of Glory in the mid-1960s, the Binks changed Lutheran affiliation. Al was born in Oak Park, Illinois right outside of Chicago. In 1965, the Chicago Bears drafted unparalleled running back Gale Sayers to the team. In the mid 1960s, Cross of Glory could not have drafted a better addition to our church than Albert Merle Binks.
Al, married to wife Jean for 58 years, was a quiet, gentle strength in the Bink’s family… and to our Cross of Glory one. The first Sunday I pastored Cross of Glory back in 2005, Al and Don Schwemmer, with friend Bryan Nordin, were fixing a broken sprinkler line on our grass out front. Over the years, I came to expect Al’s help whenever there was a property need at church. Always a strong man (maybe going back to his days tending bar… or given his proud military service in the Army) I marveled how in his eighties, Al could throw around heavy Fellowship tables for our annual Cross of Glory yard sales. Though it remains to be seen whether we physically will be in our church sanctuary for Christmas this year, we will always remember that Al Binks was forever our usher at our Cross of Glory Christmas Eve services. And who could forget, Al… ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS… attending church? He would often take a snooze on the comfortable couch in our Fellowship Hall AFTER worship (instead of during my sermons… yikes) while Jean puttzed around in our church kitchen into early Sunday afternoons.
There’s a Scripture passage, “Faith comes by hearing… and hearing by the Word of the Lord. With as much unmatched faith as Al Binks had, we are tempted to believe Al did not have ANY hearing problems. I find it interesting that a year to the day that our sister in Christ Bea Varney passed, also with hearing issues, Al passes into greater life.
Please remember Jean in your prayers. Hold unbelievably talented and giving children Carin Davis and Steve Binks (keep policemen especially in your prayers these days) close to heart. Remember the grandkids and extended family members in upcoming times. As funeral plans materialize, I, we, will let you know about them.
But most of all, honor Al not with tears, but with a resolve, a resolve to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. Honor Al by honoring all the more the Lord and Savior Al revered, loved and served. It is because of Jesus that AL Binks lives ESPECIALLY now. It is because of Jesus that we too can be encouraged.
Though it seems fitting to end this correspondence with a Louis L’Amour quote given Al’s love of Louis L’Amour novels and Westerns in general, something about riding off into sunsets, let’s just say that Jesus throws our sin as far away as East is from West. This time of passing into greater life is not so much about sunsets as it is about sunrises!
“On the first day of the week while it was still dark, the sun rising, the women went to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away. ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’ the angel asked. ‘He is not here! He is risen! He is risen indeed!'”
God’s Peace and Joy!
Pastor Mike Lemke
Dear Cross of Glory Family and Friends,
It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that our dear brother in Christ, the biggest kid we have at Cross of Glory, Jim Mueller, passed into greater life early November 12th, 2020 morning, hours after America’s Veteran’s Day. Jim had been at St Joseph’s hospital in downtown Denver for nearly four weeks. It was thought that he would receive a pacemaker to assist his ailing heart, but doctors eventually decided that surgery would be ill-advised given Jim’s health and age (Jim would have turned 90 next Wednesday, November 18th). Transferred to Lutheran Hospice in Wheat Ridge yesterday, Jim passed peacefully in the quiet and serenity of the holiest of times. Jim’s hospice nurse remarked, “People seem to pass as they lived, in Jim’s case… sweetly.”
Jim and Shirlee Mueller and the Mueller boys have been at the heart of our Cross of Glory ministry for decades. Shirlee was embraced by God on a New Year’s Day a couple of years ago. Jim was at the Alzheimer’s home in Golden (without exception EVERYDAY), attending to Shirlee (and joking it up with the staff and residents) for the long duration of Shirlee’s stay. Jim was never the same after Shirlee’s passing, missing his University of Denver sweetheart profoundly.
Now Jim and Shirlee are together again with Shirlee no doubt rolling her eyes… even now… at Jim’s antics.
THANKS, BE TO GOD!
Jim was an unparalleled, loving disciple of Christ’s at Cross of Glory, but he also belonged to our Denver community at large, particularly impacting at-risk kids in inner-city Denver as their basketball coach. Jim was proud of his Kiwanis club affiliation…but most of all…Jim was proud of his three boys.
Tracy Mueller is a quadriplegic, but don’t be fooled! That is NOT how Colorado sees him! Earning his Master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, Tracy over the decades has been a probation officer in Fort Collins. His intelligence and razor-sharp wit, (don’t even TRY to get the better of Tracy) are ONLY superseded by his tremendous heart.
Troy Mueller has the distinction of being the Navy’s highest decorated civilian. Troy was instrumental in saving literally thousands of Japanese lives given the devastating nuclear spill there years ago.
And son Todd Mueller, heralded Denver basketball and baseball player, lived with Jim this last year, attending to Jim’s every need while keeping Jim’s spirit childlike and forever heartwarming.
Jim and Shirlee Mueller will always be proud of their boys (as we are at Cross of Glory), but even given the boy’s many obvious talents, they will especially NOW need our prayers, love and support. Won’t you especially keep the Muellers in heart and in mind as they wonder about funeral plans given Denver’s upswing in virus infections?
And reach out lovingly to one another Cross of Glory given OUR loss. As Angel Torres mentioned this morning, Jim was not just a friend to you. Jim was a friend to EVERYONE. Our hearts are broken at the news of his passing, but we rejoice in the resurrection Jim experiences because of his Good Shepherd, Jesus the Christ!
Jim’s confirmation hymn was “Take my Hand Precious Lord.” God did just that last evening in early morning hours of quiet, tranquility and peace.
Thank you Lord Jesus…
“Jesus loves us this we know for the Bible tells us so.”
Pastor Mike Lemke
Tim Storhaug is finally at peace.
Angie, Tim’s sister called me a moment ago to share with me the news that her brother Tim passed into greater life early this morning.
It was not long after I came to Cross of Glory 15 years ago that Tim started to attend our church. He had been hit by a car while crossing the street and had sustained a serious head injury. His doctors warned him that he would be prone to periodic seizures and that he should minimize his driving. Consequently, Tim living but a few blocks away from church, walked to our parish when the weather allowed. His emphysema and consequent shortness of breath prevented him from attending church in colder temperatures.
Tim had the best of stories. He was a hippie at heart and loved particularly going to the West Coast. He told me of scuba diving with curious sharks nearby. His record collection was unparalleled. When he learned of my love of Vallarta, he told me about the senoritas and the margaritas of nearby Yelapa. Tim had informed his caregiver, and arguably best friend, landlord Mike that he would like to be cremated with his cremains sprinkled in the Pacific Ocean.
I cannot imagine serving our country with honor and distinction during the Vietnam War only to return home to disdain and criticism. Tim proudly served us in the United States military but rarely spoke of his time in Vietnam. He had both the mental and emotional pains to show for it. Agent Orange compromised his voice and body in general.
Tim struggled immensely these last years. He was in and out of hospitals and rehab centers almost as much as he was in his own home. With periodic falls, he fractured various ribs and ended up walking with a cane and a limp. Tim was adamant about his faith, supporting our church and wanting to particularly help the homeless. He admitted openly to me his battle to keep faith against the pains of these last years. I tried to remind him that God’s grace is not so much about how hard we hold on to God as much as it is about God holding on to us.
Tim had requested not to have a funeral service. It appears as though his family will be honoring his wish. I will be visiting with our Church Council about setting up a fund in Tim’s memory that particularly will help those in Denver who need a hand up.
Please keep Mom in your prayers. Mary Lemke reached out to Tim regularly these last years and Tim counted her as one of his best friends. I know word of Tim’s passing has hurt her heart. And please continue to keep Angel Torres in your prayers as well. Angel who is still this evening in pancreatitis pain and recovery at Denver Health Hospital spent many cigarette breaks with Tim over the decade-plus of their friendship.
The beautiful painting or Jesus walking with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus overlooking our fellowship table at church belongs to Tim. He graciousIy donated the painting to us after his mother died a number of years ago. I will visit with Tim’s sisters about the painting and see if they would like to take possession of it. In my mind and heart, Jesus is walking on a road at this very moment with both Tim and Tim’s mom.
As you pray to God yet this evening and first thing in the morning, please remember with heartfelt thanks the gift that was… and always will be… our dear friend, Tim Storhaug.
“Sail on silver girl… Sail on by… Your time has come to shine… All your dreams are on their way…”
Irme Staley passed into greater life on January 12, 2020. She would have been 100 on September 11th this year. Irme was vibrant and faithful. If she possibly could be with us in worship, she was (thanks to Doreen Eubank who for years brought her to church). We will always remember Irme’s smile, her making her way to the communion rail and KNEELING there! In Colorado, skiers can ski for free when they reach 70. Irme was skiing well into…her 80s and still skiing intermediate, blue runs!!! Funeral plans are pending as the family convenes. Irme will be cremated…her ashes spread on a Colorado ski slope by a relative who will be skiing the run at the time!!!
Bea Varney went to be with her Lord on Sunday, November 17. Her Celebration of Life Funeral Service will be held at Cross of Glory on Tuesday, December 3, at 12:30 PM. Please remember Bea’s family in your prayers.
ELDENE ELAINE RONNEKAMP
On January 2, Denie Ronnekamp, our good friend, our sister in Christ, passed into greater life. Though diagnosed with cancer years ago, Denie rarely spoke of it with us. She always chose to turn the conversation around making it more about us than herself.
Denie and family joined us for Sunday morning worship on December 23 to see our Children’s Christmas Program. The family would be reminded of memories of their own at Cross of Glory’s Children’s’ Christmas Programs many years ago. On Saturday, December 29, Denie joined other ladies from our church in our monthly Saturday Ladies’ Bible Study/Book Discussion. No one could have guessed that but days later, she would be in heaven with Jesus.
Denie’s funeral was held on Thursday, January 10, at Bethany Lutheran Church. Please remember husband, Bryan, and children, Geoffrey and Jayme, in your prayers. The family so appreciates long-standing friendships from our congregation.
On April 20, 4:45 PM, our dear friend Maysel Christy passed INTO greater life.
As most of you know, Maysel is loved by SO many! Active in our church for decades, she has served Cross of Glory as our Financial Secretary FOREVER! She was one of the few REGULAR, Sunday after Sunday participants in our Adult Sunday School class. Always cheerful, smiling and encouraging, she brightened ALL our lives.
We will not recover from this tremendous loss but to say, that taking to heart her love for Jesus, her love for her family, church and friends, we will try to honor her memory by doing the best job we can to follow in her example. Maysel knew her Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. More importantly, Jesus the Christ knew Maysel.
We had recently studied Paul’s letter Colossians in Sunday School together. From Colossians 3: “Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering. Above all of these things, put on love which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts as you are called in one body. Be thankful!” Maysel could have written what Paul wrote. After all, the above sentiments were written all over Maysel.
Maysel’s celebration of life service was at Cross of Glory on Saturday, April 28. Husband Tom and children, Leigh Ann and Stephen, thank everyone who so graciously helped to make the day a time of fond remembrance of Maysel’s continued impact and example in honoring Christ.
God’s Peace and Love to you, brothers and sisters in Christ. Please remember Tom, Leigh Ann and Stephen in your prayers and best wishes.