Rusty set the record.

As I write this, I am mostly dressed, prepared to go to the church and serve as pallbearer for my friend’s funeral. Pastor Bob Alderman—my pastor for all these years, and Rusty’s—will be delivering the eulogy.

But I wanted to write and let all my readers know, as a follow up to my previous post, that Rusty set the record, at Oakey’s Funeral Home.

The viewing was from 6-9 last night; we made the mistake of getting there at 6:25. Big mistake. We finally got into the viewing room, to greet the family, just a few ticks shy of 9:00. The line snaked around outside, people standing in the cold, and then we came in and sat in the 200+ seat chapel, awaiting our turn to be placed in another queue, to wind through a garage and down another long, long hallway, amusement-park-like, until we finally made it into the viewing room.

When we left at 5 minutes after 10:00, the original line was done, but the chapel, prior to the second line, was still about 3/4 full. If the viewing was over much before midnight, I’d be surprised.

As I was leaving, I sauntered over to the two funeral home guys (what do you call ’em?) and asked, “have you ever seen a crowd like this before?” The one fellow said that he’d worked there 18 years, and had never seen anything like it. The other fellow offered that Oakey’s had done the funeral for Vic Thomas. Vic was a Roanoke Valley icon, a leading citizen of the city for many years, and a state senator. More people turned out for my best friend’s viewing than did for Vic Thomas.

I’ve got to go now; Karen just gave me the “Byron, it’s time”, and she’s right. But I write this post as a further tribute to the enormous impact of a quiet life lived well, in service to Jesus and to other people.

And when it comes to serving other people, Rusty set the record.

7 responses »

  1. Hefe says:

    Well, I don’t really know what to say that is worth anything. I didn’t know Rusty, but I wish I had. I grieve with you in your loss, Byron – and I share in the joy of knowing that you can introduce me to him in the kingdom someday.

  2. Trenton Stokes says:

    I’m sure it was overwhelming. I heard about it from a friend who lives in the D.C. area who heard about the viewing through her folks who got caught in the same lines you were writing about. Interesting thing is, she didn’t really even know Rusty, just wondered if I had known him. What a tribute to Rusty and the Lord he served…

  3. Joni Hall says:

    Byron, I’m glad I got to read your words about Rusty. I think those words honored him and reminded the readers of the value of friendship and faithfulness. May God comfort you in your loss as his friend.

  4. Rick Ragan says:

    Lisa Shelor told me about this article, and I am so glad that this old technologically challenged youth/music man/school teacher figured out how to find your site!
    I was so blessed to see so many of you “kids” at the funeral today. It was the most God-honoring service that I have ever experienced.

    I did not know that Rusty had been such an influence on David Shelor. What a quiet testimony of a servant’s heart.

    Bless you and your family in your ministry there.

    Cindy and I are so thrilled to be back at Roanoke Valley Christian Schools and a small part of the ministry of Shenandoah Baptist Church. It’s truly like “coming home” to hopefully finish my course in the ministry.

    Keep up the good work! You make me think, and that hurts!

    Rick Ragan
    540 314 8327

  5. Byron says:

    And as on my previous post, thank you who commented, old friends who we don’t see much anymore, but who hold a special place in my heart.

  6. fred webb says:

    byron, i’m rusty’s uncle, i must thank you and the many others for the insight into a this young gentleman. i feel i know him even better. thanks, fred

  7. Kathy Crutchfield Naff says:

    Byron, There were over 1200 people at Oakeys and Chick and Lynda Rakes were next to last and finally saw the Snyders at 12:30. I saw many people at the funeral who just could not stay that long. Rusty always made a point to say hello to everyone. His smile was infectious. I heard his cousin say if he knew that many people came to his funeral he would be embarrassed. He was just that kind of guy. He will be greatly missed. Ashley will be graduating this year from RVCS and we need to pray for her. Jessica is at Liberty and Beth is in 5th grade at RVCS. There was standing room only at the Shenandoah Baptist Church auditorium on a Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. WOW! That’s unbelievable. Jane was the precious host and gave that personal attention to each person in line…just like the Snyder family to be so kind. I cheered for Rusty in highschool and I know that heaven is cheering that he is there. However, he will be greatly missed. I am thankful that it was quick and not a long drawn out illness, I am thankful that Jessica chose to come home his last weekend, I am thankful he got to be at Ashley’s last game, I am thankful for all the support his family will have through a loving church family and I am thankful for a place (blog) to express all of these things. I am thankful for pastor Alderman who did such a great job at the funeral. Alumni Sondra Womack said “I hope I die before Bob Alderman so he can do my funeral” I thought that was funny. Love to you all

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