August 17, 1944 – March 20, 2018
August 17, 1944 in Palestine. Texas I made my entry into this world. It didn’t take me long to become a very fat and some say sassy pudgling. The first born into the household of Ruth and Henry, I really don’t remember much about being born, I mostly go by what others told me. Before long the silence around the house was broken when my mother brought home another kid, my sister Elaine. I do remember thinking that my mother had been traded because she was kind of plump with a large stomach one day, and the woman who came in with my little sister was much thinner. Well this went on more than once as I was growing up and without really realizing it the house became full of children. In total this collection of kids would amount to four sisters, two brothers, and an older stepsister. My grandparents lived in the same house with us for much of my life. Somewhere along the way I learned to love the outdoors and all the things that could be done there. My father and grandfather taught me to fish and hunt and to enjoy eating the things that we brought home from such outings.
At the age of five we moved from Normangee to Bryan. I don’t guess we were poor or anything like that, but we had a heater that my dad made from a barrel and it burned used motor oil. I think carbon monoxide would have killed us all if it would not have been for the large cracks in the wall that provided ventilation. Before I knew it I became old enough to go to school, but we lived in the country and my parents would not let me catch the bus because of a really large bull that roamed in the area. They kept me out of school until I was seven years old. School was much better than I had imagined it to be and when I finished the first grade they sent me to the third grade. Little did I know that this was not the usual way of doing things. However, I managed to do just fine and eventually graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1962.
Boy things really speeded up after that. I worked part time with my father in his pest control company and part time at a service station and part time at Weingarten’s. There was a girl who also worked part time at Weingarten’s after school and she didn’t look half bad. One of the older women who worked there told me that this girl would like for me to ask her out. Eventually I did ask her for a date and things were never the same after that. Next thing I can remember Margie and I had just finished getting married on August 15, 1964 and responsibility set in. I worked with a welding supply company for 45 years and loved it because I enjoyed meeting new people in my job.
We raised three children while living on Stevens Drive and everything progressed in a beautiful way. I got involved with Bryan Little League West softball as coach and team manager. I wanted to be involved in my kids’ education, so I made sure to join the PTA. I saw other children needed help too so I volunteered in the public school as a mentor. My family would tell you that I was a hard worker and a great leader for the family.
One day I noticed that someone was building a church about a half block from the house. The Lord might be trying to tell me something. After some encouragement and many invitations we started going to United Free Will Baptist Church. I remember saying that I would go to church, but would never get involved in any of the activities or business of the church. That didn’t work out too well for me. I was baptized and then over the next 42 years I served in just about every capacity you could for the church. I was the yard boy and Sunday school teacher. On May 31, 1992 I became a deacon. The Lord became my focus and purpose. I guess the Lord wanted me to know that no matter what I said, if He had a different plan for me it would always overrule what I thought.
As I grew older, I continued to enjoy the outdoors. I loved to go fishing, and I knew every river and creek that had White Bass schooling in the spring. For twenty years I enjoyed going out to my deer lease. Most of the time when I shot a deer it was with my camera. I had some amazing pictures of the landscape and deer. I did occasionally bring home a deer to eat. I enjoyed my drives through the Hill-country and seeing the sunrise over the beautiful bluebonnets and spring flowers.
Margie and I have three wonderful children. They are Tami, Randy, and Toby. Tami and her husband Billy live in Houston, Randy and his wife Belle live in the Bryan area, and Toby and his wife Tina live in Waco. They have blessed us with beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Margie and I lived out our marriage by Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. I was married to the same beautiful woman for all these years, so I guess it worked.
I am happy to tell you that my wife, my children, and I were all saved in this same church. I now have grandchildren who attend this church. A few years ago, we changed the name of the church to New Beginnings to help portray our faith and mission to our surrounding community. God has richly and completely blessed me and my family and I believe that He still has future plans for me. Isn’t the Lord wonderful?
To honor my life, a visitation will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, March 23, 2018 at Hillier Funeral Home of Bryan. John Collier, pastor of New Beginnings will lead a Celebration of my Life at 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Hillier Funeral Home of Bryan. All are invited to New Beginnings at 3131 E. 29th St. Building E, in Bryan, Texas 77802 for a Celebration Reception following my interment at Bryan City Cemetery.
If you would like to honor my life, please consider a contribution to further the wonderful ministry and work at New Beginning.
Written by Larry Gustavus in 2001.