Editor's Note: The following was written by former resident and current journalist Jane Lawther Robinson in regard to her father Francis M. Wilcoxon.
Open Letter to Our Dad, Francis M. Wilcoxon, 1915-2011.
The column has been missing for some weeks.
The columnist was with her family and her dad as he slipped away from this earth four hours from his 96th birthday.
At the funeral of Francis M. Wilcoxon, his three children stood together as the following eulogy was given in his honor:
How do we capture the life of a 96-year-old quality, Christian gentleman in five minutes? Without offending anybody, he accomplished great things: City water in the town of Knightsville, Ind., which the larger town of Brazil, Ind., eventually tapped into, the consolidation of the Clay County Schools, president of the Brazil Exchange Club, Terre Haute (Indiana) Life Underwriters Association, Superintendent of Sunday School at Forest Ave. United Methodist Church, trustee at the University of Indianapolis and 64 years married to our mother.
You were a great letter writer. Your mother wrote you when you were away; you and Mother wrote us when we were away.
Now you are away and we're writing you the weekly family letter as we always do.
Your three kids have been by your side these 10 days that you did not leave your bed.
We remembered out loud and together your 96 years of life and all you meant to us.
We remembered hikes in the woods, the games of baseball, badminton, volleyball, basketball, ping pong and the big game of life that you taught us and played with us.
We learned truth, respect, good sportsmanship, following the rules and fairness. We learned teamwork, support and fierce competition.
You taught us many things that you meant to teach us, but you also taught us much by the example of your life.
You taught us that following the example of Jesus brings a rich, full life that all admire. It brings a life that others want to follow. You were a model to your three kids, their families and all you met.
You taught us to work and work hard for the family, for ourselves, for God and for others.
You taught us that honesty is the best policy. You taught us that if we said we'd do something, we do it -- a promise is a promise.
You taught us by your example to honor our father and mother, put family first, treat other as we want to be treated.
Dad, you remind us of this little anonymous poem we found in your Bible:
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day.
By the deeds that you do, by the words that you say;
People read what you write whether faithless of true --
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
The Christian life is the world's Bible.
Dad, you were and are the world's Bible and we three kids are so grateful.
All our love and gratitude,
Jane, Dick and Mary