Last night we received word that Nancy’s father, Larry Greensides, went to be with the Lord suddenly. Nancy’s brother was with him at the time, and while his passing was sudden, it was not entirely unexpected. He was 95, and active and fit to the end.
We are grateful for the fact that he loved the Lord, for his long and textured life, and for the fact that he went exactly as he desired to go, without a hospital or doctor or nursing facility in sight. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated — first and foremost, for his wife Margaret, who will obviously have trouble adjusting to life without her spouse of almost 70 years.
Larry was born in 1917 in Saskatchewan, and when he was young his family emigrated to California, where he grew up. He joined the Army Air Corps shortly before the United States entered the Second World War. He became a bomber pilot, and was seriously wounded in a Japanese bombing run on Henderson Field in the key battle for Guadalcanal. He served in the Army Air Corps until it became the Air Force, and continued to serve a total of 23 years. He saw combat in World War II, and all through Korea. When Vietnam was heating up, he decided that it was time to retire — three wars was pushing it, he thought.
He had four children, two boys and two girls, and was a dedicated family man, giving himself for his family in numerous ways. Nancy has recounted that as a military family, their denominational affiliation was simply a generic “Protestant.” She relates that the family was — as led by Larry — a family of simple God-fearers, without a full knowledge of the gospel.
After retiring from the Air Force, Larry bought an orange orchard in McAllen, Texas, down in the Rio Grande Valley. They joined the Presbyterian Church there, and stayed in Texas until Nancy finished high school. When that was done, it was time to move to northern Idaho.
As a consequence of that move, Nancy came to the University of Idaho here in Moscow, about an hour and a half south of their home in Coeur d’Alene. By the end of her junior year, the God-fearing aspect of her upbringing was wearing thin, and not providing her with foundational answers at all. Nancy’s sister had been converted some time earlier, and she shared the gospel with Nancy. As a result, Nancy surrendered her life to Christ.
Her folks were living in Moscow by this point. Nancy had been invited to a Bible study, and had to borrow the car to get there. And in order to do that, she had to tell her parents what had happened to her. She explained to them what had happened in her conversion and they, having seen how unhappy she had been while searching, were completely open to the gospel. They asked Nancy to check it out further, and to please tell them more about about it. As a result of all this, they were both shortly converted. By various routes, the whole family came to know Christ.
By the time I came to know the Greensides clan a few years later, Larry, although a late convert, was a dedicated and zealous Christian man. I had the great gift of baptizing him some time later in Coeur d’Alene lake. Over the decades I was privileged to know him, I saw the Holy Spirit do some remarkable things in, through, and to him. God was with him.
I think he was the most solid man I have ever met — maybe he was that solid because he was just packed full of stories. Our last visit with him was just a few weeks ago, and he was telling us stories we had not ever heard before. He was slalom water skiing well into his eightes, and he was still running up the stairs in his nineties. He had a handshake that was sheathed in coiled steel — if you shook his hand, you knew about it.
He was courageous, dauntless. He had faced death many times, and as he had done in battle, he did it the same way at the end, in the comfort of his own home. Although he was fit to the end, he had had a few spells that indicated what was coming. He told my brother-in-law that he knew what it all meant — “it begins with a 9 and ends with a 5,” he said. He loved stories and jokes, and had a delightful laugh. Because of the promise of the resurrection, he was full of faith in Jesus, and it needs to be said that some of that laughter of his was at death’s expense.
Lawrence A. Greensides, R.I.P.