Again I have pondered for days on if I should share this information but again concluded to do so. We have always been a private people but you have so many of you, loyal friends become special to me and it is so I tell you this news.
Our beloved daughter-in-law Julie "1" as we call her. (We have 2 daughter-in-laws, both named Julie who we love and cherish, #1 is called so because she married into the family first and #2 was the second.) She lost her father quite unexpectedly Friday morning as he drove his mother-in-law to do some errands. Julie's dad, Tom Whitledge was one of those people that everyone loved. There was always a twinkle in his eye and a song in his heart and you were always greeted by a big smile that reached out and greeted you before a word could be spoken. He sang Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Willy songs as well as any man could and was a natural musician.
Tom was only 71 years old and lived here in our little town most of his life after doing a stint in the armed forces as men of our age so often did....Tom died quietly and unexpectedly along a highway of an apparent heart attack but managed to pull the truck off the side of the road as not to do harm to anyone else ........ that is just the kind of a guy he was.
Tom and his beloved wife Judy only live a a couple of miles from us and we have known them for years now. We sat with them, altogether as a family at school and sports functions the girls were in. Tom picked up Katie and Emily every day from school and made them laugh no matter what kind of a day it had been for them. He was a known practical joker in seriously high standing among the other competitors of that ilk. Every morning he met a crew of cronies for breakfast at a local eatery and was so beloved they are feeding the whole entourage gratis after the funeral. Not something you see every day!!
So our hearts have been broken yet again this week. First the tragedy of our Godson Jacob's accident and now the death of our friend, Tom Whitledge. Lest I forget, Tom told His granddaughter Emily this past week that if anything ever happened to him she was not to cry for him. He told her he knew where he was going and it was a far better place. He just never knew how big the hole in our hearts would be at his passing. He was ready.....we were not.
I offer a prayer for those who morn Tom and for my sister Sheree for her beloved son Jacob and ask you too to remember them in prayers. Thank you. Diane