On February 15, 2019, a very good friend and my first client passed into the presence of the Lord. I know he has moved on to a better place, but will miss the conversations and visits we often had. I also regret not having stopped over to visit many times especially in the past several months.
I met Gary Rumbaugh in 1990, after moving to Omaha, from West Point, NE. My two sons were close in age to his two boys and were involved into Scouting. Scouting is how we met and became friends as part of Pack 434.
Once Jason and Austin graduated from Cub Scouts Pack 434 into Boy Scouts, my two boys also joined Troop 434. Gary was an Assistant Scoutmaster and took over as Scoutmaster, I became an Assistant Scoutmaster for a year or so, before I was recruited to start a new Troop further West. My older son, Jeff, remained in Gary’s troop, my younger son, Jon, went with me to form the new troop.
Having never been a boy scout, Gary introduced me and the boys to tent camping and going on a high adventure. The trip we took was a canoe trip down the Snake River and a walk around the Teton mountains in Wyoming. Unforgettable trip. I remember him loosing his signature cowboy hat in the Snake River when the wind blew it off his head. He led that trip right after slicing off the pinky finger on his left hand. He told me he asked the doctor for his finger (after all it was his) and had it turned into a key chain fob. Buford, his dog, got a hold of it for a snack, end of the key chain fob. That was the sense of humor he had. There is more to that story, ask me sometime.
Gary was a master builder and he helped me numerous times with projects around my house. Then in 2010, as I faced a lengthy period of unemployment, he became my first client in what would become On-Q Marketing. I reworked his website, twice during our time working together. He expanded his digital footprint to include Facebook and other social media / directories.
I recall one time when he called me after 9 p.m. as he often did after he got off a job. He was very upset about a negative review he received on Angie’s List. I asked him to relate the story. I told him I would write a reply and send it to him and we could discuss it in the morning. After a few minor modifications we published the reply which addressed the review in a very neutral way. Basically the person, an absentee landlord to an apartment complex here in Omaha, slammed him for an outrageous quote to repair an entry door to an apartment in one of his buildings. Gary never gave him a quote and suggested he contact a handyman to repair the door as he did not perform such work and was quite busy on other renovation projects. It deflated the review and other people commented to him about his professional reply. I had only a small part in writing it, mostly I just wrote up Gary’s side of the story.
Gary was a dog lover and loved his basset hounds. I knew Buford, Daisy, Violet, and most recent Beauregard. All except Beau preceded Gary. Our dogs become like family. They miss us and we miss them. The Bible does not indicate any of our pets will be be in heaven, but they certainly exhibit heaven-like and God-like qualities of unconditional love while here on earth.
Today, I stare out the Pella windows he helped me with, looking out on a deck, storage shed, and privacy fence that are Rumbaugh Built. His work will stand the test of time as it always seemed to be overbuilt or what I called “Rumbaugh Built.” He helped in many other ways, too numerous to list here. What I will miss is his warranty on the work he did. He called it his “tail light warranty.” The warranty only lasted as long as you could see his tail lights, as he would say. Another piece of Rumbaugh humor, since his work was so good you never had to worry about a warranty repair. There just wouldn’t be a reason for a repair.
Life in the Dash
Well back to the title of this post. Why “Life in the Dash?” Well, we all know that grave markers usually have years from birth to death separated by a “dash.” In Gary’s case it would be August 27, 1955 – February 15, 2019. Gary’s “dash” lasted 64 years. While 64 years may seem like a long time, it is about as short or shorter then the dash is when compared to eternity.
His dash contains a lot more than I really know or whatever could be included in this post; 64 years worth of living. But here is a short list, sort of a mini obit based on what I know.
- Born August 27, 1955
- Education: Went to Burke High School and Graduated in 1973 from Omaha Northwest High School
- Studied Civil Engineering at UN-Omaha
- Enlisted in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Oxnard, CA, Puerto Rico, and Guam
- Married to Cheryl (Registered Nurse) on June 3, 1978
- Two sons Jason and Austin (both veterans)Daughter in-law Jessica married to Austin
- Two grandkids: Zoey and Reece
- Brother Ron Rumbaugh and sister in-law
- Started his business, Gary Rumbaugh Construction in 1982; General Contractor, carpenter, master builder
- Scouting: Cub Scout Leader, Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster
- Accepted Jesus as his savior. Eternal life is a gift and not something you can earn or have bestowed upon you through baptism, first communions, confirmations or any studies / degrees you may earn. The only thing you can do is to recognize you are a fallen person and only by accepting the sacrifice Jesus made on your behalf can you get into heaven.
- Battled Hep C with a “cure” – told me it was due to the tattoo he got while over in Guam.
- Then a couple of years ago he developed liver cancer with a prognosis of 2 to 5 years survival with treatment. In December 2017, I shared a book I hope was an encouragement to him; “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper. I recommend it to anyone as a glimpse into what heaven might be like.
- Passed into the Lord’s presence, Friday, February 15, 2019 at 9:27 am.
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Friend.
When we are born, we leave against our will, a warm caring environment in our mother’s womb to the cold world where we had to breath on our own. No one could have told us before being born what it would be like outside the womb. We would not be able to understand what air was or rain, wind, sun. Yet we transitioned to the new world we would grow and would experience many things. Then we will all experience another transition and that is to die, or the body will die, the spirit will live on. The body is nothing more than a shell, while alive is to be a temple for the Lord’s spirit to dwell in us, if we permit it. Once believers in Jesus move onto eternal life, we transition one final time to a spirit being. No one really knows what it will be like. Don Piper tells a bit of his experience, but even he says, there is no way to fully explain what heaven is like in human terms. We will just have to experience it for ourselves.
I will miss Gary, as will his family, clients, and other friends. I do know I will get to see him again someday too.
One final thought
He related to me upon being diagnosed with incurable cancer, he would be waiting for me on a park bench. I said there was no way he would be sitting on a bench, he would be out hiking in the mountains and that I looked forward to joining him when the time comes.
See you soon brother.