A High Honor, For a Man Deeply Loved.

This is Trav's sweet Paw Paw.
This morning he took his last breath and Jesus himself ushered Him into His presence.
Paradise found and Savior led.
Although we are sad today and we miss him already, we have hope in his death, the hope of Jesus and an eternity spent with Him.  He is free and we will see him again one day.
 Because of that hope, there is beauty from the ashes of death.
Today, the Lord delighted in welcoming His child Wally, home.

Psalm 116:15
"Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his Godly ones."

Just over a year ago, Paw Paw lost his precious wife and this last year has been a hard one. 
A body that was failing, a mind that was forgetting, a memory that was fleeting.
A series of moves from independance, to full time caregivers, to assisted living.  It's been a journey to his true home, but one that came with lots of emotion and letting go along the way. 
His death was not unexpected, but still very deeply felt by all of us. 
It's amazing how a life can be lived, years upon years, and then quietly slip away in what feels like such a short time. 
 In the blink of an eye and the span of a year, we will have said goodbye to both Wally and Bonnie. 
Such a perfect pair, a match made for one another. 
Since I joined Trav's family, almost 8 years ago, I've only known these two together. 
Maw Maw and Paw Paw.
It just kind of rolls off the a Texan sort of way :)
And for as long as I've known them, I've loved them.
Sweet, kind, accepting, loving, encouraging, supportive, proud...
Everything you'd want and hope your Grandparents would be. 
Which is one of my favorite things about them.
Really, according to blood lines, they weren't officially Trav's grandparents. 
They are Trav's uncle Ron's parents, his aunt Peggy's in laws and his cousins Jeremy and Ian's grandparents. 
But for those of you who don't know my husband's story, I'm reminded again of how beautifully the Lord can weave redemption and grace and acceptance into a storyline that could have gone differently. 

Without delving into a very long story, Travis lived with Ron and Peggy from his upper elementary years until he went to college.  Jeremy and Ian are more like brothers, than cousins.  Ron and Peggy are more like a second set of parents, than an uncle and aunt, and Mee Maw and Paw Paw were quite simply, another set of grandparents.  
They lived next door to one another for all those years.  The boys could open their bedroom windows and yell across the yard to Mee Maw and Paw Paw.  They were frequent visitors in their pool and as the story goes, one of them ran over one morning to their front door, naked as a jaybird!
3 boys. Priceless.
As I've asked Travis about them over the years, he has only wonderful things to say.  He loves them as Grandparents because they loved him as a Grandson.  Never treated him like a third wheel.  Never withheld affection or love.  Never left him out of a family gathering.  He was one of theirs and as I read Wally's obituary this afternoon, I had tears in my eyes as I read the listing of their grandsons...Jeremy Duvall, Ian Duvall, Andrew Duvall, Christopher Duvall and Travis Armstrong. 


And also included in the great-grandchildren count (all 10 of them), Ava and Carter.  Just as we were all included in the family when Mee Maw went to be with Jesus last May, so we are again for Wally's homecoming this May. 

Trav's story is not one of neglect or abuse or sadness.  Like all of us, we all come from dysfunctional families, simply because we are each the dysfunctional people in them!   There is hurt in his story, just like there is a degree of hurt in all of our stories.  But by God's grace alone, Travis is blessed to just have a different story than a normal one.   His includes scores of people who've loved him in various seasons and who've stepped into various roles.  This is the 5th grandparent death in his life, now only his precious Granny remains.  While that may seem sad, we only view it as incredible grace.  Not many people can say that they've been blessed to have been loved by 6 grandparents.  Not many, but I'm thankful my husband is one of them. 

Of all the great privileges the Lord has bestowed on him, I know that he would count the honor of performing funeral services for now 3 of those grandparents as some of the highest.  His Grandpa and Grandma Armstrong died when he was just a child, but of the 4 grandparents who spoiled him and loved him all of his life, he will have buried 3 after this week.  And when the Lord chooses to call his precious Granny home too, hopefully a long while from now, it will be his final privilege to do her service too. 

That is such a beautiful picture of the redemption God has woven into his family and in Travis' life.  To the great glory of the Lord and to the credit of his Mom, his Dad, his Aunt, his Uncle and the other adults in his life, there is peace and harmony in his story and it's nothing short of a miracle. 

So to honor Paw Paw and perform his Funeral service, off to Texas he goes.  While I wish I was going with him, we decided it would be better for Carter and I to stay behind and for Ava to go along with her Daddy.  I know it will be special time for them to spend together and for her own grandparents to love her up too! 
My heart will be in Texas this week, thinking of Paw Paw and the life he lived and the family I am missing out on seeing. 

Very simply, he was a man who loved the Lord, loved his family and loved his country. 
An honorable man.
A man we love.
And a man we will miss until the day we get to throw our arms around him in Heaven!
I love this old picture of Wally, the way we never knew him. 
So handsome, so young and with a lifetime of blessings before him. 
We know he is finally home now.  Reunited with Bonnie.  Enjoying a new body and most of all, His Savior face to face. 
We love him so much.

He will receive a fitting military funeral at the National Cemetary in Dallas, for the many years he served our country in three wars.  Travis has the honor of leading that ceremony to honor the Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather and Man that he was.  Please pray for Travis and his family this week if you think of it.  We are so thankful that Paw Paw is whole again, but he leaves a legacy and void in our family that will be missed. 
BORN: Wednesday March 10, 1926
DIED: Monday May 16, 2011

Friday May 20, 2011
10:00 AM

DFW National Cemetery
2000 Mountain Creek Parkway
Dallas, TX 75211


Thursday May 19, 2011

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Rest Haven Funeral Home - Rockwall Chapel
2500 State Hwy. 66 East
Rockwall, TX 75087

Wallace Lee Duvall, age 85 of Rockwall, TX, passed away May 16, 2011. He was born March 10, 1926 in Charleston, AR, to Marion Wallace Duvall & Clara (Jackson) Duvall. Wallace was a U.S. Army Retired Lieutenant Colonel who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and was a recipient of the Bronze Star. He went on to work as a professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where he helped to start the hospital administration program. Wallace was a member of First Baptist Church in Denton, TX, where he served as a deacon.

He is survived by his son: Ron Duvall & wife Peggy of Utopia, TX; daughter: Nancy Hinckley of Rockwall, TX; grandchildren: Jeremy and Ian Duvall, Andrew and Chris Hinckley and Travis Armstrong; ten great grandchildren; and sister: Anna Mae Moore of Claremore, OK. Wallace was preceded in death by his wife: Bonnie Duvall on May 1, 2010; one brother; and two sisters.

Graveside services will be held 10:00am Friday, May 20, 2011 at Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery with Pastor Travis Armstrong officiating. The family will receive friends Thursday evening at the funeral home from 6:00 to 8:00pm. 


Mona Parish said...

Stephanie - What a beautiful tribute to Ron's dad. Thank you for taking the time to remember him in such a loving way.

Holly said...

That is so sweet what you wrote. Mike has now spoken at both of his grandparents funerals. It is really surreal. Do y'all need help with Ava during the funeral? I can totally do whatever. We would love to see them if they have time!! I am also wondering if the cemetary is right by our house. We drive by a huge military like one on the way to preschool. Love y'all!

Toni :O) said...

What a beautiful tribute. How sad, but what a wonderful life lived! He's up dancing with the angels! My thoughts and prayers are with your entire family during this difficult time.

Darla said...

I found myself so captivated by this post, Stephanie. I looked forward to each word, and was sad when it was over. What a wonderful tribute to a man (and his wife) who was a good steward of the time the Lord gave him on earth. I prayed for Travis...I can understand why a man like that would be deeply missed.

Ron and Peggy said...

Thank you, sweet daughter. We love you and miss you and Carter. Hope his bug is gone soon.