There is definitely one less good man in the world today. Our father, Wayne, had many great attributes but the greatest was his dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He seemed like a big man to me. Big in convictions, big in righteous purpose, and possessing a big heart full of love for all of God’s children. We were so blessed by his enthusiasm, by his missionary zeal, by his unconditional love for his ancestors as well as his descendants.
At 54 years old Dad and Mom served their first mission to the Wash. DC visitor’s center. They hated leaving our family when we were all just out of the nest and starting our families, but I remember talking to Dad…maybe even complaining a bit about how WE needed them both at home . . . and he wrapped his arms around me and said “Linda Lu, we are going on a mission knowing that tears will be shed but we are going to continue the legacy of missionary service in the Ottley family. I promise you that you can do it (and we did) and I promise that when your children are ready for missions that our service will have set the bar high for them (and it did). Yesterday I found where Dad wrote this: “None of us know how much time there is left to do the work that has been charged to the peoples of the restoration. All we know is that the time is short. I testify that there is no sacrifice in serving the Lord. If we had not made a covenant to serve we would not have been called. We do it with joy in our hearts that all will be blessed.”
They subsequently served as representatives of the church in the Tiberius area of Israel where Dad acted as Branch President to the little congregation of many nationalities that held services in their home overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Dad was proud that Mom brushed up on her piano and made mountains of food for after meeting dinner. Oh, how he loved to walk where Jesus walked!
Home briefly, but just long enough to get acquainted with the new grandbabies, they were called to South Carolina on a proselyting mission. I was lucky to fly back and follow them around for a whole week. I got tired and come home but the Lord blessed them with the energy to convert and baptize. They loved the southern hospitality and made friends for life. Dad was the gospel engineer and mom was the love machine and there were many lives changed including their own and ours.
Dad and Mom also served a mission on Temple Square and another on the Hosting Committee of the Church. They were always serving and always hosting whether at home or away. Over the years Dad had many callings that stretched him and many that used his musical and leadership abilities but none that he loved more than serving in the mission field.
And all through his life he wrote – learning to peck and hunt on a keyboard, he would spend many hours recording beautiful spiritual impressions or stories about his life. He kept lists of family members and knew all the stats on each of his 25 great-grandsons and 25 great-granddaughters. And all of this he did until the final week of his life.
One or Dad’s granddaughters took some beautiful picture of Dad’s hands . Her photo label says “These are the hands of service – service to God, to Country, to family, to friends. These hands scooped ice cream, tended to plants, pleated draperies, held babies, administered priesthood blessings, and built things.” Dad loved those pictures. He was always our greatest cheerleader.. I don’t think he ever attended the ballet or a Shakespearean play but he knew what he liked. He loved music …inspiring , patriotic, sentimental and barbershop.. You could say that Dad was a supporter of the arts---our arts…the visual, the performing, the literary... If his family did them – he supported them. Be it singing, dancing, fiddling, piano, sports, telling a joke or just looking cute. He would love that todays program, the video out in the foyer, the songs and music on the program were a result of his posterity using their talents. Dad loved it all….and loved us all…all of the time.
After Dad’s death I was haunted for a couple of days with the “what ifs”. In my anguish my husband Doug asked me to read a scripture of comfort in DC 42: 45-46. It says:
“Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them….”
I gained solice in that scripture and in this verse that I had written for Dad about ten years ago:
Born to goodly family here, To humble parents you were dear,
Engendering love and happiness within the home you came to bless.
In kindness, charity you grew, you learned in faith just what to do.
Each truth you gleaned and stored inside, in truth your talents did not hide.
Teen years were full, carefree, fun, work to do and studies done.
Your sister, Lael, and brothers four became a part of Millcreek lore.
The mountains beaconed, trails did call, your bag, your boots you packed them all.
A lake to seek, a peak to climb, a fire to build, on jerky dine.
Soon you wrote that you had seen your future wife, though just fifteen,
Was she a vision? No, for sure she was the girl moved in next door.
The years went past and war began, and you worked fast to gain her hand.
Times were hard but gave you hope that with your love you two could cope.
Serving country across the sea, you flew with honor and dignity.
Because of blessing, and much prayer health and safety found you there.
And then one day as a soldier tall, you returned to wife, new son and all,
With country pride and family love, thanks was offered up above.
Upon the hill you built a home, removing rocks and sandy loam.
Soon it was your only dwelling, with that little “garage house” selling.
A mountain home was once a dream, but though unfinished it was seen.
And work and work and working more with a growing family to adore.
You reared each one to firmly see happiness in those who thrifty be.
To purposefully seek His face and keep Christ at the center place.
You owned a business, made it grow, your perseverance made it go,
And with each child came their turn, to work the shop, to learn and earn.
And when they left and were all raised, you spent your life in serving ways,
With many missions for our God, you filled each one on different sod.
Your legacy is standing tall, your good life lived gives light to all,
For generations, and then some, will bless your name for years to come.
So we will ever honor your name, and in our days take better aim,
To focus our path more keenly now because your life has shown us how.
We love you Dad.
- ▼ 2011 (10)
- ► 2008 (61)