For thirteen years, Charles Egolf has been my next-door neighbor. He has been the best neighbor a fellow could ask for. He was far more than a neighbor. Often, he was like a father to me. He knew so much about so many things after more than 80 years of life. But even tonight his mind was sharp and his attitude full of love, joy, and hope.
Mr. Egolf, so I have always called him. Mrs. Egolf once got after me for not calling him Charlie; but I never could quite do that. In my mind, he was MR. Egolf. I respected him so. Mr. Egolf was a Marine, one of the most highly decorated officers in Williamson Co. for his service in World War II.
While his attitude was always superb, full of life and full of goodness, Mr. Egolf had only been a Christian for a couple of years. Tonight he told me that he never felt alone since he came into the church. (He lost his good wife a few years ago.) Mr. Egolf frequently went with me to Nashville School of Preaching. He loved Bible study and loved the other students at the school. I will always treasure the 20 minutes we had together in the car going up to the school and especially the twenty minutes we had coming home. We had marvelous conversations; he always encouraged me.
Mr. Egolf is in ICU at Williamson Medical Center with less than twenty percent lung capacity, and that is declining. He does not anticipate ever leaving the hospital.
Mr. Egolf saw things very clearly. He was exceptionally wise. An avid reader, he built three bookcases for all the books he'd read in recent years. He loved the Lord, loved the church, and loved people. He was the most loved man on our block. Everyone knew him and loved him. He knew everyone by their first name and looked out for all of us. He saw the love in Christ, and that helped him through the intellectual struggles of coming to faith. He saw the forgiveness in Christ and longed for unity among brothers.
Mr. Egolf, I love you.