A She-Bear and a Man without Guile

Carol, Tad, Gloria, Trey, ca. 1970 or 71Today is Uncle Tad’s 75th birthday. It’s his first birthday in heaven, and we rejoice with him. You know, as I was reflecting back on my uncle, there are several word pictures that come to mind, pictures of his qualities.

One of the first ones that came to mind was that he is like Nathanael. Do you know when Jesus called Nathaniel what he said of him [John 1:47]? Do you remember the story?

[Answering from the crowd]: A man without guile.

A man without guile. That’s the way I think of Uncle Tad. He’s a man, an honest man, a man who didn’t beat around the bushes. He just told the truth.

So I appreciate my uncle in many ways, lots of other ways, but I want to read to you a letter from my sister Gail, who spent some time with them.

Also before I do that, I want to just mention that one of his generous qualities was to, well to supply needs whenever they were there. It’s been mentioned several times already. When my mother had a need—she was without a vehicle for a while—Uncle Tad just gave her a vehicle, just gave her a car. She drove that car for years and years.

My sister Gail has driven with my Uncle Tad. She lives in Arizona as well. When my Uncle Tad drove out to my mother’s husband’s, to Ken’s funeral, she says: “I have felt close to Uncle Tad and Aunt Carol since they lived in the Tucson area the numerous past years and I spent a good amount of time with them. Uncle Tad drove me from Tucson to Santa Ana for Ken’s funeral and back. We had such a great quality time together.”

And then Gail had the chance, along with my sister Virginia, to be in Tucson for the funeral during that period of time. She said, “A couple of nights after Uncle Tad died, I had a dream. In my dream I saw Uncle Tad in heaven. He could look down and see Aunt Carol, Gloria, and Trey, the family along with many others who were sad. But then he turned his face to Jesus and fell on his knees and fell prostrate before the Lord Jesus. From what I could see in my dream, he was so overwhelmed with being in His presence, he started raising his hands, crying, and singing praises to Jesus. And Gail says, “He wasn’t in tune either, but Jesus didn’t care.

“The Lord gave me such peace. I was sad for myself off and on, but I want to be happy for him. He’s in the presence of the Lord.”

And I have just a few words that I shared myself. I was writing, actually, a letter and as I thought and thought through some different episodes of my time with my Uncle Tad, some of the qualities that he has, this is what I put together.

“I think of Uncle Tad being present at gatherings, at this gathering as he almost always was for the Duncan clan, entertaining with interjected wise cracks from a side table—welcome humor when least expected and typically self-effacing. At this celebration of his life and in his honor, he’s undoubtedly watching now, too, from behind a curtain. But if we listen closely, we may just hear his unbridled guffaws at his own expense.

“You know the character types that Gary Smalley writes about, that he uses? I don’t know if you do, but the lion, the otter, the beaver, and the golden retriever. Some of you may have heard of those different character quality types. Well, Uncle Tad was a bear, a honey bear most of the time, who loved the unfortunate and would do anything for you, but with a healthy dose of mother she-bear at times, uncommonly loyal and protective and utterly transparent. He was just like Nathanael.

“With his gusto laugh and quiet generosity, he left his mark everywhere.” And then I mention the car that he gave to my mother when she had a need. “As a Wycliffe Associate, he spent lots and lots of time in Arizona.” You all know that. He went to actually live there. “He was always filling gaps wherever they may be. He was an engineer who preferred to drive a truck; a Crystal Palace[Crystal Cathedral]volunteer who quietly, energetically carried gifts to needy children; a dedicated and loving husband and father. Gloria’s Facebook ID pictures him well: Uncle Tad’s mischievous grin that would charm a clam and her kiss gladly returning his generous love.

“How can we go on without a man of his character and stature? Well Uncle Tad would probably quip with a belly laugh, ‘Wanna’ trade places?’

“Where he is now, I wouldn’t mind. I’d be glad to.”

transcription of Eric Kindberg [Lee’s son], speaking at Tad’s memorial service, Wildwood Baptist Church (950 County Line Church Road, Griffin, GA 30223), June 22, 2012, audio provided by Gloria Boyer (Tad’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Gail, can you tell us more about your ride to and from Ken’s funeral with Uncle Tad?
  • Will someone tell the story of how Aunt Lee and Uncle Ken came together?
  • What jokes can you recall Uncle Tad telling?
  • What was the date of Ken’s funeral?
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One thought on “A She-Bear and a Man without Guile

  1. vgorman63

    Mom, Lee, lived in the Wycliffe apartments in Tucson, the same as Ken. She took care of Ken’s wife if he had to leave the apartment for some reason. His wife had Alzheimer’s. They would go to church together. They spent more and more time together and when his wife passed it just made sense that they get married. My mom loved him so much. Mom is not sure of the year that Ken passed away but she believes it was in January.

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