Goodbye, Boppa

Knowing something is coming doesn’t make it any easier.

My grandpa, nicknamed “Boppa” by my sister when she was little, had been pretty sick the last few weeks. But, while expected, his death today hit me very hard. It’s hard to imagine life without the man whom I lived near for the last 17 years. No longer will he sit at the head of the dinner table on Sabbath afternoons or drive his power wheelchair at full speed through the house with no regard for anything in his path.

Last Thursday, my mom called to tell us that it was time, so we packed the car and headed north as fast as we could. About halfway there, my mom called to say that he was stable again, but we continued, dropping Lucy off with my sister-in-law and spending several hours at the hospital. We got to say our “goodbyes”, just in case.

And, I’m glad we did. When my mom called around 7 a.m. today, we were out of the house in about 10 minutes, but it didn’t matter. Boppa passed away at 7:20 a.m. Do I have regrets? Sure. I wish I had stuck to my guns and spent the weekend at my parents’ house. I had this feeling that Boppa would die today, and had we gone up on Friday night, we would have been there with him. But, I do feel thankful that I didn’t have to watch him take his last breath. That would have been so tough.

In his 86 years, Boppa touched a lot of lives. He was a Seventh-day Adventist missionary in Japan when my dad and uncle were little. He was a pastor and church planter. He was a religion professor. He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was one of the greatest men I’ve known. And, he and my grandmother, called “Bomma”, were the perfect example of marriage and love. They were married for 66 years, and seeing how deep their love was always impressed me. Seeing Bomma sitting at his bedside these last few weeks, clasping his hand and telling him how much she loved him, spoke volumes to me. And, when I was told that Bomma rushed to his side this morning, holding him and telling him she loved him until he died in her arms, my eyes filled with tears.

I feel blessed to have been able to live near Boppa and Bomma for the last 17 years. I got to spend so much time with them, and for that I’m thankful. I was able to have Boppa speak at my wedding, something that was very important to me.

boppa speaking

And, when my daughter was born, Boppa dedicated her to Jesus. Lucy was the only great-grandchild he had the honor of dedicating.



Boppa overcame so much that I always told Joe he was invincible. Sadly, I was wrong. But, though I am very sad now, I am comforted to know that I will see him again when Jesus comes. I just hope that will be soon. Boppa, I am so proud to be your granddaughter, and I will always love you.


christmas 2007 -- family 1

family picture 1

family pictures-b&b

lucy and boppa 1

4 generations 2

3 thoughts on “Goodbye, Boppa

  1. Jacki

    What a wonderful post, brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for writing this, Cady.

  2. Wanda Whitaker

    Thank you Cady for such a great tribute and for the family pictures. It is hard to lose a grandparent and I know your heart is full. Cherish the memories and time you have with Bomma now. We send our condolences to you and your family. David has such high regard for Leo Sr. having been one of his students and working for him in college. I love seeing all of your family and the little ones coming up. How Bobbie Jane must love those babies. Would like to know when you have the service. Well, God bless you with peace, each one. Our regards, Wanda and David Whitaker

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