As I sit here preparing to write the hardest piece I have ever written, the obituary of the greatest man I've ever known, my hero, my dad. I know I am expected to write the standard obituary full of resume-like achievements and survivors of a past life, but that is not what you will get from me. I will not speak of my dad in the past tense because he is now more alive than you and I are here and now. So please excuse me while I take the liberty and help you celebrate his past...but I also continue to speak of his now and future.
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You see, my mom's beloved husband, our dad, our Pop Pop, our best friend...is in the Presence of Glory, face to face with The Father of Life and Jesus, our Lord and Savior...pure love Himself. So today, we celebrate his life and legacy of love, patriotism and faith.
If you ever want to know what a true patriot is, just look at my dad. He loves his country and proudly served in the U.S. Navy and retired Master Chief Machinist Mate after 24 1/2 years. He served two tours in Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf War. Being head of the engine room, he took his last ship assignment, the USS King, from being known as "King of the pier" to being "King of the fleet". An accomplishment we have always been so proud of. He excelled in all he did in the Navy. He taught college courses and demanded the absolute best of those under him. Trust me, he knows how to push people forward and even beyond what they think they are capable of and pull the very best out of them.
He is a man of honor and integrity.
His love, honor and protection of our nation's flag has never diminished. Even at 75 years old, I still love seeing him stand and put his hand over his heart and get choked up hearing our nation's National Anthem as though it is the first time he's heard it.. He tries to sing along...but....well bless him haha.
A true man of his word. A man that believes your handshake seals your integrity and follow through proves it.
His love of country and selfless serving has been something we have watched and taken on in our own lives. Hearing him say "pay attention to detail" will always be a nagging voice that will echo through us forever. Ha!
I have heard a man say, "Your dad has probably forgotten more than I have ever known!" and that is such a true statement. He has an insatiable love for learning. He is self-taught in everything he has ever done or created. A master craftsman in many regards. He absolutely loves creating. If is he doesn't know how to do something he will search it out and literally teach himself how to do it. He will sit and visualize something and sketch it out and go and make something to improve whatever it is that is just not up to par. In fact I am certain he has already been in Heaven's shop swapping carpentry ideas with his fellow carpenter, Jesus... and no doubt making a list of improvements he can make! Haaaa! They just don't know what they are in for up there. I bet he has already gone and inspected our mansions and knocked on all of the wood to make sure it's not presswood and make certain they used dove tails in the drawers. Haaa....he is so funny! He has most assuredly passed his love for creativity down to each of us in our own ways. Everything from cooking, to building, to painting, to designing, to photography, to seeing how to make improvements of existing systems and ways of doing things....he has instilled something in each of us. A creative trait he no doubt received from the Creator of the Universe.
Dad's faith has always been a private journey with him. Yet his giving heart speaks volumes of his love for Jesus. Only a man who loves Jesus has the capacity to love his family as he does. My brother and I grew up watching him adore our mom, put her first and feed her passion for Jesus. Then our kids grew up seeing the same thing. Mom's well being has always been his focus. My dad taught us how to love through sacrifice and put family first. He has had to make a lot of selfless decisions over the years that no doubt were not easy, but everything he has ever done in this life has had love at its core. He always wants to leave things better than he found them. And he always will...so Heaven is going to move up a couple notches now that dad is there. Haaa.
His legacy will continue on through those of us still here and we will do our very best to live out his level of love, honor and faith in excellence just as he expects.
His legacy lives on through his wife of 50 years, Betty Arkon; his son, Chuck Arkon and his wife, April; his daughter, Bobbie Herriott and her husband, Harold; his grandkids, Marissa Sorrell and her husband, David; Jacob Herriott and his fiance, Taya; and Taylor Arkon; and great grandson, Ezekiel Sorrell, and those to come after; his brothers Greg Ebeling and his wife, Donna; Steve Arkon and his wife, Windy; Don Arkon and his wife, Denise; and many nieces and nephews and their children.
Dad, you are the best of the best. Our best hero. Our best friend. Our best teacher. Our best love. You are not lost. You are not gone. You just changed addresses and we will see you again. For our hope is in Jesus and that means it's never goodbye....it's see you later alligator. We love you beyond words and thank you for the richness of your heart and life!!!
The Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Bear Cove Baptist Church with Bro. Charles Dodson officiating, burial will follow at Oak Lawn Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Thursday at Bear Cove Baptist Church from Noon till the time of service.
Online condolences may be made to the family at oaklawnmemorial.com