I first met Renee’s Grandpa Peter Bisheimer at our wedding in Ohio in 2000. A tall man, he loved his little gal, Grandma ‘Jenny’, who was with him then. He accompanied and cared for her well, which I saw again when we were with them for the second time, in their condo in Fort Myers Florida a few years later.
In 2005, as we were getting ready to go away for four years overseas service, Grandpa and Grandma came up to Ohio to say goodbye. It was great to see what a loving patient man he was, already eighty years old, reading to 2 year old Lydia on his lap. I remember saying when he was saying goodbye to 2 month old baby Johanna, ‘this is so sad’, because we didn’t know if either of them would be there when we got back.
That farewell in Ohio was the last time we got to see Grandma. But in 2009, we went to see Grandpa again in Florida. He hosted us all of us at his home and helped us on our way to Disney World. He was so outgoing, and a friendly neighbor. I remember everyone saying hi to ‘Pete’ around his condo.
One morning he brought us all to the poolside ‘country club’ for a pancake feed. I remember the girls really liking that, everyone liking Grandpa, and him being proud of his grand and great-grand children.
He loved sunny Florida and liked to take us out to eat and to the area attractions. He took us golfing, to the beach, and to the “Shell Factory”.
One time after he had moved back to Ohio to be closer to family, I told him I was going down to Florida to speak in a church, flying into Fort Myers. He didn’t miss a beat, and quickly quipped: “You can say hi to my bartenders”.
It tickled me because though he may have had some of those in his early years, I never saw him take a drink, other than iced diet decaf pepsi on the rocks.
Grandpa was a gentle man of faith to me. He was the last grandpa I had, and maybe the one I knew best because he happened to live the longest. I will miss his humor, handshake, friendship and presence as the family ‘patriarch’.
Two wars couldn’t end his full life of 90 years. I look forward to seeing Grandpa on the other side. With him there, I know heaven will be a festive place to be.
Welcome home Grandpa. We love you.