My parents moved from Hancock, Michigan to Rockford, Illinois when I was just one year old. I grew up in Rockford. We attended Tabor Lutheran Church. My parents eventually left Tabor and attended First Evangelical Free Church. We had many friends in both churches.
I remember hearing about Pat Clinton, who attended First Free. He and his brother Tom were (as I recall) athletes in high school, attending (I think...) Harlem High School. Today I read Tom's obituary. I have never read an obit like this before. I'm hoping it's OK to post it here.
DR. PATRICK 'PAT' JAMES CLINTON, 64 ROCKFORD - After a two year battle with brain cancer, I graduated to heaven at 1:12 p.m. Monday, March 7, 2011. When I was 9 years old, I believed John 3:16 and received eternal life. As it says in Scripture, I am fully rejoicing in the wonders of the triune God. Embracing and conversing with my daughter, Darcy Sue, my father- and mother-in-law (Fillmore and Arloine Peterson), and so many other followers of Jesus Christ has been a joy beyond words. It is my heart's desire that each of you would come to love and trust Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior. His death and resurrection provided the way for us to have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Inviting Christ to be the Lord of your life, seeking His merciful forgiveness, and believing He is indeed the Son of God will ensure that you also receive eternal life. I love you, Dad and Ma (Joe and Shirley Clinton). Being solid Christian parents, you gave birth to me on Sept. 19, 1946, in Racine, Wis., and raised me well. Together with my brothers, Joe (Dorothy), Tom (Linda) and Bob (Bobbie), and my sister, Debbie (Herb Rosborough), we experienced lifelong love and respect. I am waiting for our joyous eternal reunions. Colleen, my gracious wife, you will always be my best friend. During our wedding on June 24, 1967, we sang a song of commitment to the Lord and to God's service. God gave us three precious daughters, Andrea Rae (Joel Jacobson) on Father's Day, Darcy Sue (deceased 1974) on a beautiful autumn Friday, and Lanae Lynn (Joel Williams) on Labor Day. You mothered them wonderfully and helped me to be their loving father. Girls, you will always be our treasures. I will pray for you and our dear grandchildren, Emma, Elliott, and Andrew (Jacobson) and Benjamin, Luke, and Mary Grace (Williams). Remember "Only one life t'will soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." Sweetheart, during all our 43 years of married life you encouraged me through my graduations from Trinity College (1968), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (1971 and 1983); through our Evangelical Free Church pastorates in Winona, Minn., Beaver Falls, Pa., Holdrege, Neb., Clear Lake, Iowa, and Davis; and through my missionary services with Slavic Gospel Association, Rockford Rescue Mission, and First Love International Ministries. Remember God gave us an extra two years after my brain cancer diagnosis, strengthened our certainty of seeing Him face to face, and brought me home in His perfect timing. Roland and Jeri Peterson (Colleen's brother and sister-in-law), our many nieces and nephews, and all other relatives and friends - thank you for your love and prayers. May you all continue to help my dear Colleen and daughters in the days ahead. Thank you, Dr. John Dorsey, Dr. Todd Alexander, Dr. Karen Smorowski, Dr. William Edwards and Dr. Nicholas Vick. The Lord used your giftedness to control my cancer and prolong my days to love and serve. Please encourage my dear family at visitations from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 11 and 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, March 12 at First Evangelical Free Church (Mulford at Spring Creek). My funeral service will follow at the church at 10 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to attend. Your kind gifts will be shared for our Lord's continued services through First Love International Ministries, Rockford Rescue Mission, and First Evangelical Free Church. Assisting us with the celebration is Grace Funeral & Cremation Services, 1340 S. Alpine Road, Rockford. For information, 815-395-0559 or visit their website at gracefh.com. On my grave stone that will one day be shared with Colleen are these descriptive words: "Lovers of Jesus Christ" and "Rejoicing & Waiting for You". If you have never decided to love and trust Jesus as your Savior, don't wait. It is the most important decision you will ever make.