Yesterday my good friend and former congregant Judge Peter Keltch died. A few weeks ago Henrietta Holcomb, another former church member died.
Henrietta and her late husband Herbert were pillars of Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They quickly embraced me when I came as Associate Pastor and shared their stories, their hospitality, and their advice. Henrietta was a stalwart of Christian education, mission, and wider baptist life. She had been an educator all her life, and one of the elementary schools in Fayetteville is named for her. My early years in ministry benefited greatly from their kindness and support.
Peter was a member of Cathedral of Hope-Oklahoma City. He sang in the choir and served in leadership roles. He was a faithful, regular attendee and participant. He was also a good friend.
Peter would regularly take me to lunch so we could have engaging conversations. He was a Republican, a history buff, a Sooner fan, and into geneaology. He enjoyed our conversational disagreements more than when we agreed. He always felt a little inferiority that his family came to Plymouth on the second boat, so I was able to jokingly rub it in that mine were on the Mayflower (my last e-mail to him was about learning that another branch of my family are also Mayflower descendants). Once he groaned when I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving, "The holiday brought to you by my ancestors."
We enjoyed watching football together or going to games, especially if we got to say nasty and hateful things about the University of Texas.
He traveled to Omaha for my installation here and read scripture in the service, bringing greetings from CoH-OKC. His visit was a delight.
Yesterday when I heard the news, I cried deeply. I will miss my friend.