Our dear father/father-in-law “Papa Don” passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 11.
(Of course, we all remember another Tuesday morning, September 11, seventeen years ago—that was anything but peaceful.)
While our tears continue to flow, we have such a peace and are blessed by a life so well lived.
More than any other individual we know, Papa Don laid out for us a vivid portrait of second-half kingdom potential. His example of fervent living for Jesus in life’s final decades was a huge inspiration as we started YES! just over ten years ago.
The outpouring of love for this great man of God is almost overwhelming. He touched so many lives with his tender, gracious, loving spirit.
And boy, did he ever enjoy the journey!
We’ve heard some people at his ripe age of ninety declare that they’ve outlived all of their friends. Not Papa Don. He had a constant stream of friends and family—all ages—visiting and calling him in his final days—and showing up at his memorial celebration.
The above photo, taken by his grandson Clint Popineau, was from this past Spring on his last visit to Life Pacific College, a nearby Christian college where Papa Don attended chapel faithfully for the last ten years and stayed meaningfully connected to the students, faculty, and staff.
We didn’t just respect Papa Don because of his advancing age. He lived out the admonition Paul gave to Titus: Older men need to live lives (i.e. in the present) that are worthy of respect. Don lived in the present and made the most of his moments here on earth.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 (NASB)
Thank you, too, for living lives worthy of respect. Those of you who go all out for God touch us deeply and help inspire others to serve Jesus to the very end.
See you soon, Papa Don!