Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roy and Fran Seitz Celebration of Life

That's Roy on the left and Fran on the right, with friends in the middle.  That's kind of the way they lived.  

     Yesterday I attended a memorial service for Roy and Fran Seitz, two people in my personal Hall of Fame.  Mr. and Mrs. Seitz designed their own service, and made sure that it would be a celebration of their lives and not a gloomy service.  Well, there were some tears shed, but it was far from gloomy.  More like a scene from "It's a Wonderful Life."  The sanctuary was packed to overflowing. 

   The Seitzes, you see, touched many many people by constantly being in service for others at the Church, the Children's Home and especially its garden, the Berea Jaycees, Baldwin Wallace College, Little League and a thousand other causes and activities that we will never find out about.   Mr. Seitz served in the Army in World War 2, was an athlete, musician, coach, salesman and probably had 100 other roles that he filled. Among other things, Mr. Seitz was my baseball coach in Pony League when I was about thirteen.  Kenny Seitz was our slugging first baseman.  At that time, truth to tell, I thought I knew much more about baseball than Mr. Seitz (despite the fact that I was the worst player on the team), and I didn't much care for his coaching.  Years later, my mother started attending Berea United Methodist Church, and I reconnected with the Seitzes and to make a long story short, I understood that the Seitzes embodied the teachings of Jesus Christ as much as anyone I have ever known. You see, it wasn't just sports.  Mr. Seitz was trying to teach us about life. 

    The Seitzes influenced everyone around them, and brought people to church and to service projects of all kinds.   I can only imagine how many people helped support the Children's Home, not to mention all the kids who came to attend college under their encouraging influence.  They love to work in the kitchen, cooking dinner for Baldwin Wallace students.  Years ago the BW football team, coached by Lee Tressel, was fueled by chicken power, courtesy of Mr. Seitz.  One time they cooked 500 chickens for a fundraiser at Finney Stadium, and the cloud of smoke caused Dr. Bonds to fear that stadium was on fire and he called the fire department.  Mr Seitz threw out the first ball of football practice for some 50 plus years running.  He taught hundreds of kids at the orphanage how to plant seeds and grow their own food.   

    It was great to reconnect with Don, Ken and Gary, as well as other friends like Keith Keller, Dave Tressel, Kevin Preston and others.

    We had the opportunity to recreate one of their legendary chicken barbecues along with Mrs. Seitz's jello fruit salads.  Very simple, but about the best food I have ever tasted, served with love.  A lot of laughter, band music and some examples of Mr. Seitz's wicked jokes, courtesy of Gary.  

As with most things in life, the Seitzes did it right.

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