As some of you may already know, my grandfather died last week….kind of unexpectedly for me. He was almost 94 years of age. Sometimes, when you have someone in your life for so long, you take it for granted that they have lived such a long time. You hope that person will continue to be around forever. However, eventually, the day will come when that streak of good health and longevity ends. It might hit you in the stomach like a ton of bricks punching you in the belly.
I still have mixed feelings about the situation because I did not yet have the chance to introduce Granddad to my son, Jace. Now only three and half months, Jace is named after my grandfather as the fourth generation, James Louie Cartee, IV.
The funeral transpired in Easley, South Carolina this past Saturday. I opened the funeral ceremony and service with the following prayer below. I think it surmises many of the happy and sad emotions felt through the occasion for me.
My grandfather lost his mother when he was six years old to pneumonia. When Granddad was twelve years old, he lost his father to a heart attack. He spent most of his teen years living in the YMCA and working while also trying to finish high school. He eventually graduated from Clemson University to later have a very successful career with Shell Oil Company. He and my grandmother, Dorothy “Dot” Cartee were wonderfully married for sixty-four years!
Please read this prayer as a dedication to my grandfather’s life, for all that he stood for, and for all that he meant to me. He will be greatly missed! I love you, Granddad!
“In the name of the Trinity, God, Son, and Holy Spirit; thank you for this day that you have made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Thank you for 94 years with a man that forever changed my life and many of the lives here today. Rather than times not had, please help us to remember those times we celebrated together, as family, as friends, as four generations named James. Thank you for Jace. Thank you for Annabelle. Thank you for Lisa. Thank you for parents. Thank you for grandparents. Thank you for family – both family of the Cartee bloodline and friends we consider family here today.
The beach, the sports games, the graduation ceremonies, the times we took for granted that we perhaps now long for more of, the Crown and 7, the good food, the tailgating, the tipsy nights on the dock of the Fripp Bay, the laughs, the tears, and the bad times that eventually turned into good.
The Father tends His sheep. The Son saves mankind. The Spirit tends the Garden. I ask that we learn how precious life is in the three roles of this blessed Trinity. Rather than walk alone, please teach us to walk alongside Jesus.
Please help us to appreciate the living breath in this very moment, right now, in the heartbeat we feel within our chest. The youthful days are gone. The grandkids are no longer the babes. We are the next of kin, and please give us the courage of a thousand David’s, the wisdom of a thousand Solomon’s, and the endurance of a thousand Job’s.
I once might have considered a comparison to Granddad to be a bad thing. I only now consider it to be an honor. I stand before you today as a better man, a better Christian, a better father, a better student, and a better worker because of the person we celebrate today.
My name is James Louie Cartee, the 3rd. Over here, we have James Louie Cartee, Junior. In Knoxville, Tennessee, we have James “Jace” Louie Cartee, the 4th.
Some may say it’s just a name, however, four generations started with one name…and one to be cherished.
In his memory, may we live with honor, joy, and kindness for the rest of our days. Please bless each and every person in this room abundantly and without limit. Please watch over them. Please protect them. Please anoint them.
In the famous words of Mathew Calhoun, “Ain’t no party like the Cartee party because the Cartee party don’t stop!”
Yes sir! This is a celebration. This is a party! This is a dance! This is an awesome occasion!
So, please help us to celebrate until we can dance no more. Help us to grieve if we must. Help us to remember all we can with good memories. Help us to laugh until we can laugh no more. If in sorrow, help us to cry until we feel better. Some may ask me, “Who is Jim Cartee, Sr.?”
I will answer, “He was my grandfather. He was my hero. He was my friend.”
Let’s remember Jim Cartee for the rest of our days!
We ask all these many things in the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. Forever and ever, Amen!”
*Referring back to the prayer, “Crown and 7” is one of my family’s favorite alcoholic beverages, including Granddad. “Tipsy nights on the dock of the Fripp Bay” is a reference to our many wonderful years of memories at Fripp Island.
I have posted some of my favorite recent and past pictures of Granddad below for your viewing.
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