Celebrating a Life Lived with Purpose

This past week we celebrated the life and home-going of my dad, Garry D Kinder. I had the honor to speak at his funeral, and I want to share my tribute with you:

What a privilege and blessing it is to be Garry Kinder’s daughter.

What a kind, generous, positive, loving, loyal, honest, godly man and father he was!

  • Some of my earliest memories include dad pushing me on a swing at the city park in Pekin Ill.
  • I remember him pushing me as I learned to ride my bike on Thornhill Drive in Akron Ohio.
  • I remember dad pushing me on a sled, down giant snow-covered hills in Detroit Michigan.
  • I remember dad pushing me to go to every ..home… football game of the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and his beloved Dallas Cowboys.

But dad also gave us positive pushes –  mentally, emotional and spiritually.

Every January 1st, he gave us a big positive push to start off the new year with a motivational slogan. We woke up to his voice blasting over the intercom –

  • We’re going to do more in 74!… or
    • Let’s strive in 75!… or
    • It’s going to be great in 78!

And then there were those Kinderisms:

  • Everyday in Every way I’m getting better and better
    • If you are not 10 minutes early, you are late (I always struggled with that one)
    • Finish Strong! Finish Well!
    • Make a decision, then make it a right decision

He gave us a positive push of encouragement at our weekly family meetings.

He gave us a positive push every Sunday to get us to church on time… (and I mean every Sunday – even after staying out most of the night for homecoming or prom)

Dad gave us a positive push when mom died, as he showed us how to grieve and handle hard things.

He pushed us by his kind example of loving everyone and finding the best in them. He was generous and thoughtful, which has impacted and influenced me to this day. And I now see it so clearly in the lives of our daughters and nieces and grandkids – the legacy continues!

A few years ago the tables turned, and I ended up pushing dad to write a book with me called Positive Connectivity ( a future best-seller I’m sure). It was a great joy to draw out timeless principles and stories from his career. We shared many hours in his twilight years working on this legacy together.

One of the things I discovered is that every month dad wrote out his life mission, along with monthly goals and prayer requests. Here’s his life mission:

To help literally hundreds of millions of people to better lives:

more secure financially, more satisfying spiritually and more fulfilling emotionally

Certainly, he was successful in fulfilling his mission and many of you are recipients of his influence over the years, not only in business but in life. You know as well as I do, that he gave a positive push to countless people around the world.

Later when dad went to Tradition’s memory care, I pushed him in his wheelchair. He was peaceful and quiet.  I remember thinking one day as I was on my way to visit him, “Lord, why do you allow my dad to linger in this state?”  Of course, God was not obligated to answer me in any way, but that very day God gave me a precious glimpse that He was still using dad.

              As I pushed dad to his lunch table, there was a young care-giver feeding another patient. The care-giver said to me, “I love your dad. I read his books to him and I want you to know they are changing my life. My grandmother taught me about God when I was young, but I haven’t thought about God in a long time. But reading your dad’s books to him has made me start praying. In fact, I’ve started praying at every meal and before I go to bed.”   

 ……..God wanted me to hear that. I brought her a Bible and rejoiced that God used my dad to bring one more person to a deeper faith in Christ.

Whether he was impacting thousands or simply one care-giver at Tradition, dad made a positive difference. He saw the best in each person he met. And given a choice, he would say it was worth it to linger a few more years even for one person!!

If dad were standing here today he would say:

  • See the best in every person!
  • Give everyone you meet a positive push!
  • And most importantly, point them to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Now I have three in Heaven. I’m thankful for their legacy and their faith in Christ. I know they are having a wonderful time together. I hope that as a result of my dad’s service, you are inspired to look to Jesus and place your faith in Him.

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