Arrangements under the direction of Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary FD1176, Corona Del Mar, CA.
Eulogy of William Silas Abshear
By Don Abshear
My dad taught me a lot of lessons through out my life. He taught me how to ride a bike, how to tie a boat up to a dock, how to build a room, how to drive a car (as a matter of fact he taught me to drive here at the cemetery and his first object lesson was for defensive driving on how not to end up in one of those graves). But the greatest lessons he taught me were by the example of his own life, by his character, by his actions, by who he was.
Dad was a survivor. He was born on February 5th, 1925 in Columbus, Ohio. He was drafted into the service out of high school at the age of 18 during WWII. He was stationed at El Toro, California where he played football for the marines. He was then deployed to the South Pacific on the USS Santa Fe as a pharmacist mate and he was an anesthesiologist in the operating room. During his tour of duty he became the light-heavy weight boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet. Dad was very proud of his service in the war and had several life long friendships with his war buddies and he very seldom missed an annual reunion of the USS Santa Fe alumni. After the war he had to go back and finish high school. He married his first wife, my mother, Barbara Lee Fish in 1947 at the Lynden Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. They moved to California in the early fifties and he lived in Newport Beach for almost sixty years. He had four children Rob, Gail, Greg, and myself. My mother died on February 13th, 1982. He married Brenda Lee Cross on December 17th, 1983 who had her own children Colleen and Cindy. Though out his life he was always determined to make the best of it and from his example I learned to never give up. Even with his last dying breath he amazed us at his will to live and his reluctance to give up.
Dad was a great provider. He built the majority of his career working for the California State EDD. He started out as a field auditor and retired as District Tax Administrator for the state of California. I remember many nights and weekends he would be studying for one test or another to be able to move up the ranks to provide a better life for his family. The only place higher he could have gone would have required him to move to Sacramento at the state capital but he loved it here and didn't want to uproot his family. In his spare time he invested in real estate buying, fixing up and selling houses. Eventually keeping some as rentals. Dad was a risk taker. I remember it tended to make my mom nervous but it paid off in the end. I learned how to have a good work ethic by his example.
Dad was a generous man. He was a tight wad when it came to himself. Wearing the same pair of shoes for twenty years, or dining out at cheap restaurants to save money even if the food was terrible. But when it came to his family he was very generous. One time when he came to the northwest to visit us, we came home from work to find a new recliner in our living room." You need a comfortable chair to sit in after a hard days work," he'd say. Another time it was a new TV or a dishwasher, or a dryer. I know that almost every one of us here has been a recipient of his generosity at one time or another. I am learning to be generous to my family and others by his example.
The greatest lesson I have learned by my dad's life and death has to do with understanding something about God's character. I think the question "Why does God allow suffering" has bothered all of us at some time or other. I don't have the answer to that question and it would be presumptuous of me to think I could answer that question especially for those of you who have lost a loved one. But I would like to share an observation I have made while watching my dad go through what he did in the last year and a quarter.
Dad had a heart attack in July of 2008. He had triple bypass surgery two weeks later and then suffered two strokes that left him in need of around the clock care. I thought that if dad had known what the out come would have been he probably would have chosen to not have the surgery and taken his chances. My dad never complained about his situation, not once. We started to see a change in him over the months of his rehab and convalescence. As dad would say "I am not a very religious man" and he didn't go to church most of his life. He believed in the existence of God but was not sure of heaven and all of the other stuff. He became more open about God and expressed a desire to go to heaven and be with Him.
Another change we noticed was that he was more willing to express how he felt about us. Every time Brenda would walk in the room his eyes would light up and he would say something like "there's my beautiful wife" or " I missed you". One visit last summer my dad said to me "I'm proud of you and I always have been". I have been waiting all my life to hear those words. I told him I loved him and that he had been a great provider for his family.
So, good things happened in the last year of dad's life even though he suffered. I don't think he was quite ready to go to heaven before his surgery but he became ready. I don't think we were ready to let him go at the time but we became ready. Things we said had needed to be said and we would have missed out on that opportunity if he had gone suddenly. I could feel resentful that dad had to go through what he went though but I will choose to believe that by God grace, mercy, and love he allowed dad to suffer for a short time so that we would all benefit by it forever.