Friday, April 06, 2012

Phil Greer....

The game is over. Phil Greer has won.

The game is over. Phil Greer has won.

The game is over. Phil Greer has won!

What a wonderfully remarkable thought....!  

Many of us have spent the last year hoping that this day would not come too soon.  Watching Phil's struggles at Hospice over the last week, made many of us pray that this day would not be delayed.  There is a time and a season for all things.....

Phil Greer was a faithful shepherd to his family.

Phil Greer loved his sisters Pam and Frances, and tolerated pretty well their spouses, Dave and Mike.  Phil adored his daughters, Aynsley and Mary Chandler -  both gifted with beauty, intelligence and caring hearts.  They gave him great comfort.  And, their husbands, Cade and Scott - who stole his daughters' hearts from him! - must be exceptional men; since Phil, as a father-in-law, always spoke of both with great respect.  

We all knew that "Big Daddy" worshipped his grandchildren. Mary Weldon, Greer, and Martha owned his heart.  And, we all knew that one of the top reasons Phil waged this difficult struggle so firmly, over the last year, was to assure he had the chance of seeing the birth of Harris and Louisa - and Phil was delighted with both!  It was more than delight; it was a great joy in his life.  A pair of Cavalier King Charles spaniels - Molly and Tapper - were also first-tier family members and licked Phil's face at Hospice to cool the fever and force his smile in a very dark hour....

Phil Greer was a fast friend, a true friend in need, a friend for life.

Would be remiss not to mention Phil's love of golf. As most know, Phil was a much sought after golf partner, a source of many friendships.  With Phil, you were always assured of a great time and never had to be too worried about being intimidated by the skill level of his game!  Everyone loved to play golf with Phil - it was never about the score.  

Phil also developed a passion and artistry for woodworking, and a fascination with the quality, tone, and textures of fine wood. His heart-crafted bowls are particularly prized among his family and friends. An eye for both form and detail, an eye for both beauty and simplicity.  Phil expressed himself, his core strengths, through his art.   

Phil's fast friends like Malcolm and Nancy Williams, Dan and Courtney Ryon all worked together, laughed and cried together, shared life to the fullest together. Phil was magnetic and always attracted a crowd.  All knew that fun and laughter  - and perhaps a bit of mischief fueled by a couple of "Black Jacks"! - were close at hand in that sly smirk - in that soft twinkle of his eyes!  

Phil was also a spiritual servant to his friends and fellow worshippers in his Church.  The members of Hayes Barton Methodist came readily and eagerly to help Phil confront all those very human fears, those very human doubts with which we all need close support.  The church was right there; they were always at hand - always at heart.

Phil Greer was a man you could trust... and we all did.

In his work at the Credit Union, Phil always found the way, the new programs, the innovative lending policies which could balance the best interests of the individual member with those of the overall membership - a very delicate, difficult balance to achieve.  Phil reminded those who promoted "rules based lending" and those who promoted "principles based lending" that both were imperfect ideas.  Lending , according to Phil, was first and last a matter of character!  That neither rules, nor principles, nor collateral, nor anything else was ever of more importance than the character of the borrower.  

And, "Dr No" also preached that being thorough in your analysis was always the best way "to get to yes" on a loan.  If you said "yes or no" without a fair, thorough look - the member and the membership were always ill-served.  Phil trained many a skilled, thoughtful, caring lending officer at the Credit Union - his prior training as a military policeman was often beneficial in those training efforts.  Phil said that he learned in the military police that you weren't "hitting" someone to hurt them; you were simply attempting to "correct their thinking". He also noted that it was usually wisest to go ahead and "take a full swing" on the first crack to reach a quicker understanding!  One learned quickly under Phil..... many suffered - and deserved - "the full swing"!

When the chips were really down and everything was on the line; when there was no margin for error, the "go to person" for the Credit Union was always Phil Greer. Phil carried that responsibility with calm assurance for over 32 years.

What  a legacy Phil has left in all facets of life -family, friends, church and in his work. A life well-lived.

But what I really wanted to tell you...

There was something that I noticed about Phil during my last visit to Hospice.  Phil was thoroughly surrounded by family and friends, dogs, grandchildren - there was much love in the room.

Time was growing short and Phil knew it.  He was now counting life in terms of days, hours, minutes.  Every moment was important, every second counted.  Phil was focused, really focused.

 And, he was focused unwaveringly, entirely on the true treasure of his life - his wife Shelly.

Phil's body was in rebellion, each movement was an effort, but his gaze stayed fixed, firmly fixed on Shelly.  High school sweetheart, wife, mother, soulmate.  Who, in these last most difficult months, never turned from the task, never left Phil's side; rallied to his cause when he was in the direst distress.  

Shelly Greer's courage and inspiration clearly lifted Phil up.  Her shared grace lifted us all up.  Shelly gave Phil peace - she gave us all peace. 

And hope...

For our friend Phil Greer the game is over.

... and, clearly, Phil Greer has won! 


Jeff Jones said...

Beautiful thoughts Jim ... thank you ... we'll miss Phil

Bill said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Phil.