For Alan Kurtz: A Eulogy

            Alan and I go back a long way. Our two farm families were very close and shared many 4ths of July, Thanksgivings and Methodist church doings together. Mom and Dorothy were great friends as were Dick and My Dad. One of the good things Allan and all of us kids shared was coming in to one farm house or the other after being out playing, and devouring tons of chocolate cake fruit salad, jello and anything else on the dining room table.

            Our play was war games, cowboys and Indians, Tarzan stuff–swinging from barn ropes and tunneling around in rag weed patches. Often we’d head down to the river east of our place or down past Spear’s and spear carp or smoke Indian tobacco or some of Allan’s grandpa Burt’s Camels-- if anybody had them.. I was amazed at the way Allan could zip barefooted over sharp stones and thistles and never show the least sign of distress while I had to hobble and ouch my way along like a crippled kildeer whimp.

            There were a few more serious incidents like the pipe bomb we created one 4th of July which rocked the whole Kurtz farm and made Myrna cut completely through the pattern she was cutting out. We had to run for the hills when she came running out of the house with that scissors. Of course the whole bomb idea was Allan’s . I had nothing to do with it. Not a thing. Then there was the day playing commandos when one of us, I think it was Allan, got shot with a bb just over the eye and the blood flowed down and all hell broke loose. I can’t distinctly remember who shot the bb, but I do recall the impression my dad’s whippin’ made on me. funny how one forgets the details after a time.


            Then we moved to Oregon and I don't think I saw Al again until a number of years after high school when I moved back to N. Dak. We lived our separate lives and faced each his own problems and ordeals, good times and bad. I would occasionally see Allan once in a while when I stopped by Fmt. to visit family or some such thing.

            But my closest relationship . With Allan came just last year, after I'd heard he was diagnosed with lung cancer. I felt literally driven by my conscience to go and see him; so I did..

            What impressed me most on that first meeting was the amazing calm and dignity with which he handled the news of his situation. That cool composure reminded me a lot of his mother Dorothy. There was a real strength there. He was not visibly distressed by the news of his situation, and we visited about a number of every-day things that were happening, but what gratified me most was his willingness to pray with me and seek the Wisdom of the Lord for help about how to face the mountain that stood in front of him. He gratefully accepted a little book of Bible verses I had for him, and I felt very strongly that Allan was in in good hands.

            Upon my next visit Allan told me he had decided not to go into expensive chemo or radiation therapies, but to just ride it out using Jesus for his physician and maybe pain killers later if the pain got bad. I could sense a real peace and assurance in his words and we prayed together again. This time I wanted to be sure he had invited Jesus into his heart to be the Lord over his life. And he said he had and I could tell by the total lack of fear or doubt in him that he had indeed the Spirit of Christ within him bringing him peace.

            Very shortly after that we heard that Peter Jennings was facing the same ordeal, and in a few brief weeks, he was dead in spite of the best medicine money could buy. But through the grace of Christ, Allan was given nearly a whole year before he experienced any real discomfort. That gave him ample time to settle his affairs, make amends, get acquainted with the Word, and prepare for going home. At the same time, God spared him all the nausea, and discomfort, and huge expense that attend the usual Lung Cancer ordeal. Even on the last day of his life, when I visited him at St. Francis, I sensed, in spite of the battle he was waging, that fear was not in him.

            Lapsing in and out of consciousness from the heavy medication, he still valiantly tried to be the good host and make conversation as to how things were with me. He let me pray with him again, and I was given the verse Jesus said in John, 'My Peace I give unto you - - ' and I asked the Holy Spirit to fill Allan with that unfathomable blessed assurance that tells one that he is wrapped in the Grace and Love and Peace of Christ.

            The Bible says that 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.' There is nothing of which I am more certain than that that’s the place in which Allan now lives and and has his being.

            This is the precious promise of every child of God who has turned from his own rebellious ways and come home to the Father. It is what the beautiful parables of the lost sheep and the prodigal son are all about.

            True Christianity is not about how many hours we’ve spent in church, or how many good deeds we’ve counted up. Those things are good, of course, but none of us are good enough of ourselves to go to Heaven and not stink the place up. Heaven is a gift of Grace, and when we stop singing “I did it my way,” and use our free will to finally make the supreme right choice to accept the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us to save us from our rebellious, fallen, selfish selves—and just say yes to Him. Then all the “precious promises” II Peter and the preachers tell us of suddenly become ours. And we are "justified”—" just-as-if-I’d-- never sinned. And the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin and all unrighteousness. What a gift; what amazing Grace.


            The arms of the Father are still wide spread awaiting patiently for every wayward son or daughter to stop living on pig food and come home to His banqueting table. What a gracious and loving God we serve. Allan couldn’t be in better hands and there’s a chair at that table for any and all who will accept His invitation to come and dine. The operative answer is

'Yes Father, Thank-You Jesus; I’m sorry; forgive me; be my Lord: I’m coming home.'


            And may the Lord extend to each of us in our final hour the time and wisdom to say yes to the same Love, acceptance and forgiveness, the same amazing Grace He showed to Allan. (Amen)




  (Feb 17, 2002) Gene Pinkney