, Corbin, KY


December 9, 2013

Saying ‘goodbye for now’ to Papaw

CORBIN — This past Sunday night, Heaven gained another angel.

My grandfather, John DeBoard, or as I called him, “Papaw,” went to be with the Lord following a collapse at his house.

Papaw had been battling health issues for several years now, but seemed to be doing much better these past few months with the aid of things like dialysis.

So his death came as somewhat of a shock — especially to my mother, who had been assisting him a lot with his medical needs.

My wife, Carmen, and I drove back to my hometown of Pikeville to help support my mom and family, and to attend a memorial service for Papaw Wednesday afternoon.

The service was a nice celebration of Papaw’s life, and a nice way to say we will miss all the ways you blessed us here on this earthly home.

As I left the memorial service, I was sad but there were two important facts from the Bible that helped to motivate me and lift me up.

First, Papaw’s death was by no means the end.

Papaw is now alive and well in Heaven where no disease or health issues can bother him. And as long as my family and I let God be our Lord and Savior, we will all be reunited with him one day.

That’s the beauty of knowing and being saved by Jesus Christ — we will never really die. We will be granted eternal life in Heaven.

The memorial service was a nice tribute and remembrance of Papaw’s life, but we were not saying “goodbye.” We were just saying “goodbye for now.”

There are many passages from the Bible about eternal life in Heaven, but perhaps one of the most famous is Romans 6:23.

It says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Second, it is important to remember that we are by no means guaranteed tomorrow.

As I mentioned, Papaw had his health issues, but his passing still came as a shock to my family and me.

Additionally, as an editor of this newspaper, I unfortunately hear all about the tragedies that affect folks here in the Tri-County.

It seems like every other day we learn about a fatal car crash, a deadly house fire, or a shooting.

You can never plan or prepare for these types of events to happen, which is why it is very important we get right with God today.

Acts 22:16 says, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

And not only should we be concerned about ourselves, we should be concerned about those around us.

If you have an opportunity to share the Bible with others, or to invite them to church, you should take advantage.

Something tragic could happen to you, or to that person, and you would never get the chance again to be a light for someone who could be lost.

Acts 22:15 says, “For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”

My family and I will miss Papaw dearly but it is comforting and encouraging to know we don’t have to say “goodbye” to him — just “goodbye for now.”

Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at You can also visit his blog at

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