Tuesday, January 8, 2019 the Lord took me home. I don’t want anyone to cry for me, because I am just where I want to be, face to face with Jesus.
I came into the world on April 1, 1955. My folks, Riley Wallace and Bertha Madaimia (Hodges) Tarver both worked as cooks for Texas A&M. Growing up as the baby of the family with my older sister Nelda and brother Kenneth, you could say I was a bit wild. When I was eight years old I got run over by a car while I was walking home from school. I was always kind of proud of that. I went to Ben Milam Elementary right here in Bryan, and I made some of my very best friends there. Once I got to SFA High school, I was in FFA and judged meat and showed chickens. About this time, I got a bit wilder. I loved making my poor mama mad. Even though I could make straight A’s with no effort, I often skipped out on school to attend rock concerts and go on road trips. I moved over to Bryan High once it was finished, but I got kicked out. I had long hair that they wanted me to cut, and instead of cutting my hair I organized a sit in. I guess you could say I was a little stubborn. I got my GED in prison after being incarcerated due to my 1970s recreational activities.
Even though I liked to raise a little hell from time to time, I knew the Lord loved this sinner. I met my beautiful bride Reta at church through my friend John Dana “Jr.” We double dated and then sat outside, talking forever. We got married on Christmas Eve 1983 at Bethel Temple, the first couple married in the new building. After our wedding we went to Red Lobster, and went back to Red Lobster every year to celebrate our anniversary. Altogether, we had three kids, Jerry, Christina, and Jennifer and eight grandkids. After God, my family came first, and I was pretty protective of them. I worked at Alenco and then OMC (Ornamental Metal Creations) where I ran the shipping department.
Like I said, I knew God loved me just as I am, and I worked hard to share the Good News of Jesus to all. I was the Sunday school teacher, youth leader, then associate pastor and finally the pastor at Temple of Hope in downtown Bryan. The people who know and love me know I loved to wear my camo shorts and Hawaiian shirts with my striped tube socks and sandals. As much as I loved people, I just didn’t care much what they thought about me. I knew God loves me even though I questioned everything, and that was enough. I pastored and worked at OMC until rheumatoid arthritis forced me to quit and go on disability.
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was one of my favorite sayings, and I really did live by it. I enjoyed life like the good Lord wants us to. I had season tickets to Astroworld, Six Flags, and Fiesta Texas and went to each one every year. I loved to go camping as often as I could, and enjoyed the beach in Galveston. I had a good time in New Mexico trying to teach my son Jerry how to drive. I loved going to concerts and listening to music. Classic rock like the Beatles, Cat Stevens, and Joplin were the best. I really liked building things like toy boxes and book shelves and started a lot of projects. Everybody who knows me knows I loved to watch The Wizard of Oz, MASH, and The Andy Griffith Show.
I know my wife Reta Tarver, my son Jerry Nix and his girlfriend Morgan, my daughter and son-in-law Christina and Johnny Yoakum and my daughter Jennifer Tarver are going to miss me. So will my grandkids Sara, Kaylee, Zoey, Thomas, Drake, Payton, Catherine, and Anderson, my sister and brother-in-law Nelda and Jerry Williams, my sister-in-law Edna Tarver, and my dogs Lady and Sarge, and my cats Storm and Blue-Eyes.
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