Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Celebration Service Tribute to my Sister; January 22, 2014

First of all, on behalf of our families, I’d like to thank you all for your generous support of our families these last two weeks and, of course, your incredible outpouring of prayers and love towards and for Holly.

When we met with the folks from Rosewood on Sunday, Brent asked Mr. Horner, “How many does your chapel hold?” He said, “About 250.” We all looked at each other, and like the line in the movie, “Jaws”, where Roy Schneider says, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” we thought to ourselves, “We’re going to need a bigger chapel!”

When I was a young boy at Northwood Baptist Church in Pennsylvania, before we ever moved to Texas, and maybe even right about the time Holly was born, our Pastor there, Bro. Walker would greet us on the way out each Sunday and I used to recite this verse, James 4:14:

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.”

We’ve been reminded much these past two weeks how fast things can change in our lives, especially with the ones that we love.

My parents over time had each circled one verse in my Bible.

My Dad’s was Matthew 25:15, “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability and straightway took his journey.”

Judging by the turnout last night as well as today, one of the many talents that my sister took along her journey was the ability to make us all feel comfortable and loved.

Yet it takes an even more special person to separate money from one’s wallet or purse – and all of ours are a bit lighter today because of Holly.

Where do I start?

Gift cards. Wrapping paper. Chick-fil-A calendars. Mary Kay. Avon.

Here’s an oldie, but goodie, Pampered Chef.

And, of course, the latest rage, Scentsy Candles, and who could forgot the cookie dough.

I think my Mom said the other day even, “No, please, no more cookie dough.”

Equally head-turning, I think, were the number of different jobs that Holly possessed over the years. I never quite knew at any given time where Holly actually worked.

I mean, I run. I “collect states” meaning that I’m trying to run a marathon in all 50 states.

Holly, she not only collected jobs, W-2s and 1099s, but something about cows and Tim McGraw concerts.

I really don’t want to make any of you jealous today, but Holly would have flipped if she knew that Tim McGraw sent flowers to Rosewood yesterday.

Seriously, though, Holly connected us all.

I think I saw it on Twitter the other day that they were going to rename the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” to the “Six Degrees of Holly Munsinger”.

I found out last week I had a friend in our running community who was married to a classmate of Holly’s at Spring and lives across the street from one of Holly’s friends that was in her wedding.

And last night even, a high school classmate of mine’s sister was friends of Brent and Holly through the Spring-Klein Chamber of Commerce.

Most importantly, Holly made our family feel special and loved.

We didn’t just go to Brent and Holly’s for birthday parties and our holiday gatherings because their house’s layout was more open and a little bit bigger, but it was because that those moments were full of love, laughter and joy that Holly’s gregarious laugh and glowing smile was always the center of.

But I can let one secret out of the bag now, I guess: Chick-fil-A is to beef what Holly was to a kitchen.

Even though we had five and a half years between us, we had many commonalities – that is, other than the world-famous Walk stubborn gene.

That ability to connect with people came from our father and grandfather -- or Pappy and Old Papa as my daughter and nieces call them.

Neither one of them, I don’t think, especially, our grandfather, has met a person that they couldn’t start up a conversation with. And when they start … look out.

Holly was the same way.

But we both got more of our abilities to love and have compassion for others from our mother and our grandmother – Gom and Great Gom.

Three years ago, we worked together – with the store’s owners - to produce a 5K at the one Chick-fil-A that she worked at which was the most perfect event that I had been involved in.

That is, until God called Holly home last Friday for us to put together the events yesterday and today that I won’t – and I hope you won’t -- ever forget.

I’ll close with this. I announce at a lot of road races in the area.

Awhile back when Holly lost a lot of weight, she was lightly jogging on the treadmill a little bit before her doctor advised her that she shouldn’t do it anymore.  [I added in the ceremony that Holly had rods in her back when she was 18 for scoliosis.]

So I never had the opportunity to announce her name as she approached a finish line, but as she has finished the race of life, I’m going to take that opportunity this morning:

Finishing in a personal best time of 41 years, five months and 20 days – a time that we all hoped would have been much, much longer – Holly … Jo … Munsinger.

Holly, you ran an incredible race, full of love and happiness.

You finished first in all of our hearts.

We love you, I love you and we’ll miss you until God calls us home too.


  1. I heard the rumor but thought maybe it is someone else til Ronny put it in his newsletter with picture of the family .... I've known Holly for a long time when she was in Mary Kay, had her own networking event in Houston and even exchanged some words in the last year or so .... I didn't know she was sick but I guess I wasn't the only one since this seem to have been quite sudden .... I had the pleasure of meeting the kids too, actually she was pregnant about the time we met .... I'm so sorry about your loss .... she was way too young to leave her family and this world and she will be sorely missed ... she was kind to others and an asset to every company she represented ... RIP Holly and looking forward to see you again some day ....

  2. This was a beautiful tribute, Jon. It was great to be able to laugh and rejoice in remembrance of Holly. You captured her essence perfectly. I truly think she is already busy in Heaven, making friends and bringing angels together, just like she did on Earth. Until we meet again...