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Gathered to Celebrate the Life of Peter Willis
as recounted by George Mims
Monday evening I arrived in Amarillo. Susan and Richard met me at the airport. Cliff Craig, a gentleman in the parish, shared his home with me and also with Dawn, Peter's sister, and Fred, Peter's brother-in-law. Tuesday I spent 10:30 a.m. until 5:50 p.m. on the magnificent 100 Rank Skinner/Schoenstein Organ at St. Andrew's Church. We had dinner that night at Susan's and family, the Peklenks, the Gaines, and close friends spent some time singing Redeemer songs of hope and joy, including by Diane Davis, "I'm not alone for my Father is with me" ,"Thank you Lord for ...," by Jane Clowe, "Wind, wind,"; many other beloved choruses.
Wednesday there was a time of the family gathering to bring in the casket at the entrance of the church accompanied by prayers for Peter and all who sorrow. There was a wonderful luncheon in the Parish Hall for the family and guests from around. Then the service began with thirty minutes of music on the organ featuring the Church Year from Advent to Pentecost and utilizing grand hymns as well as many songs from Redeemer.
At 2 p.m. the service began and included The Holy Communion. Mother Jo Mann, the Rector who also has Redeemer ties from the days she was at the Texas Medical Center, delivered a thoughtful homily that warmed our hearts both for Peter, Susan, Richard, Paul, Laura, Anyka, and the Lord Jesus Christ and his intervention in our lives moment by moment.
There was a reception in the parish hall followed by a time at the Ladd's home and then a dinner at Susan's brother, Thom's home. Father Jeff and Sylvia Schiffmayer, David and Ann Gaines, Steve and Janie Peklenk, Jennifer Crain and me were blessed to be a part of this celebration of Peter.
Thursday I had some quiet time with Susan and Richard and then flew back to Mobile. Richard handled my bags: they weren't light! Thank you Richard!!!
Margaret Lacy, a long time friend, the organist and director of music for St. Andrew's, graciously invited me to play the service. She generously gave her time driving me around everywhere and there could not have been a more wonderful hostess!
For all these blessings, Lord, I give you the glory and thanks. What an awesome friend Peter has been in household, in the Youth Ministry, in the Ranch Ministry, as a mentor, as a counselor in the Hospice for 17 years, and as a great loving gentleman, Christocentric, devoted disciple, and so much more can be said....!!! His love of all of us pervaded the entire time I was in Amarillo. Bless the Lord!