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A Memorial – Lt. Colonel Howard Lightfoot

I think this was the last picture of all of Grandpa with his ALL of his grandchildren. Thanksgiving 2008

I think this was the last picture of all of Grandpa with his ALL of his grandchildren. Thanksgiving 2008

I lost my Grandpa on Wednesday. He was 89 years old. He was a father to four children, grandpa to 10 and great-grandpa to five. It was only a couple of weeks ago that he underwent heart surgery that appeared successful and he seemed to be on the road to recovery, finally, as late as Tuesday! But sometime during the night he collapsed. And now he’s gone. Grandma passed away when I was 12, about 20 years ago. They’re both gone. I want badly to hold on to the earliest, faint and fuzzy memories I have so that when the babies are holder I can tell them about Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma.

I remember being really little and going with my family over to visit him and Grandma – there was a funny stone rock-face at the entryway. I always knew we were close when I saw it, even though it was kind of scary.

He called me Jenny. Always. They were the only ones ever allowed to call me that.

When they moved to North Carolina, I remember waking up to the smell of bacon, pancakes and eggs. He always made yummy breakfasts for us.

I remember looking at the thermometer in the kitchen window.

I remember exploring his shed with all the musty-smelling tools and trying to be brave in the middle of such a dark and wet place.

I remember sliding down muddy-dirt pathways and hiding under the stairs outside of the basement.

I remember watching him and my dad build things in the basement.

He was the best farmer I knew. He grew such tall corn and juicy red tomatoes. He laughed at my shock at finding a worm inside the corn. And I think he was proud of me for biting into the tomatoes like apples.

He loved to laugh at us, I remember him laughing a lot.

He recorded countless Little House on the Prairie episodes on VHS tapes for us because we didn’t have cable. I still have some of them today.

He showed me how to shoot a BB gun off the back porch.

His was the first video-camera we used…and boy, did we use it! There are some crazy home videos, for sure!!!

He was generous. He was always doing whatever he could to get his family and grandchildren together for holidays and reunions. He loved to bless us on our birthdays and Christmas. I am so disappointed I never got around to sending this year’s Christmas thank-you card from my family….I hope he knew how grateful we were for the gifts. I hope…

He hugged. He gave good bear-hugs.

Grandpa is five people to the right of me.

Grandpa is five people to the right of me.

He came to my wedding. I’m sitting here wondering if I ever got to tell him how very much that meant to me that he’d travel all that way to rejoice with me. It was such a crazy-wonderful day. Crazy-wonderful. But did he know? Did my hug and my smile and my tears communicate how special it was that my Grandpa was there that day? I don’t know.

He loved my babies. Loved them. Like, invited the other residents for a “meet and greet” (complete with a flyer with times and info!!!) to meet the “great-grand-triplets.”

Meeting his "great-grand-triplets" for the first time. Thanksgiving 2012.

Meeting his “great-grand-triplets” for the first time. Thanksgiving 2012.

And he loved me. I always knew it – sensed he was proud of me.

Grandpa, I love you. I will miss you. I am so very, very sad that my babies won’t know you personally – the great big, strong man that you were. I am so glad you were able to meet them. You were always such a strong presence in my life. You were gentle and strong, the best Grandpa I could imagine.

Love always,



“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14)

All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The punishment for this sin is death and eternal separation from Him; but God has provided a way – through His free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. He loves us so much that, while we were still sinners separated from Him, Christ died for us – took our punishment so that we might live! If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved! (taken from Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9)


  1. Beautiful memories Jennifer. I was swallowing hard by the end.

  2. Aunt Charlene says

    Wow…what a sweet tribute. Grandpa was so proud of you, loved you so much…thank you for sharing such wonderful memories. Love you

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. xx I just lost my grandmother at the end of December, so what you are going through is fresh on my mind as well. That was a lovely post. It’s so great that you have some photos of him with your children. <3

  4. Beautiful 🙂 I remember him calling you Jenny. I’m glad I was around for the past four and had the time to be in his life. Amazing man.

  5. Diane Donalies says

    What a beautiful memory for your grandpa and great grandpa that was so special. OK, you got to me, I’ve got alligator tears running down my face. He was my favorite Uncle.Oh how he will be missed.

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