Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine knowing someone who had Christ at the center of his life, and you knew it within minutes of knowing him? How about someone who selflessly served each day to the fullest (and sometimes overflowing)? What would you say if this person took you into their home for more than a month while you waited for a life-changing white envelope? Imagine this person having conversations about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a wide variety of people, and loving every minute of it. Imagine learning about the holy temple from this person. Picture this man asking your opinion on a variety of matters. Imagine sharing tomato sandwiches while talking about his adventures around the world, while still being one of the most humble people you know. Can you see the love he has for his family? Imagine seeing him in big group settings with his family, and in one on one settings with each of his children, and feeling the love for each of them. What about the love that he has for his wife, which has been described as "the kind of love poets only dream about"? Can you imagine the example of such a man? Can you feel the love this man has for you, as an adopted member of the family?

I am incredibly blessed, because I don't have to imagine. I KNOW. I had the privilege of knowing Joe Raynes for the past few years and seeing him in his different roles. Joe recently returned home to his Heavenly Father after a courageous battle with cancer. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for knowing Joe, for being a part of the Raynes family, and for having him in my life.

I want to share a little bit about him...

Joseph Lincoln Raynes PhD, age 64, passed away peacefully January 10, 2011, surrounded by his eternal family, after a battle with brain cancer.

He was born June 21, 1946, in Provo, Utah to Beth Milner and Lincoln Frances Raynes; he was the second of eight children. Much of his childhood was spent on the Oregon Coast. While at BYU, Joe met his beautiful wife Alice Nielsen in a laundromat and it was love at first sight. Their first conversation began with his joke about both having red hair. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 27, 1969. They have ten children, all redheaded. It was impossible to be around Joe and not know he loved his family, the Gospel, and serving others.

Joseph completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees at BYU and earned his PhD at Texas A&M University. He served and inspired others throughout his lifelong career in Education. He was an Elementary School Teacher, Principal at Joaquin Elementary, Dean of Continuing Education, Dean of Trades and Technology, and Associate Academic Vice President at Utah Valley State College. He was instrumental in bringing the Education Program to the now Utah Valley University. He loved being a Professor of Education. His influence is carried through the countless teachers he molded.

Traveling the world extensively, Joe was always in search of opportunities to serve others. Fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish, he lived in Bolivia and traveled throughout South America with his young family while working with the Bolivian government. He lived in Colonia Juarez, Mexico working with the Juarez Stake Academy, and traveled to Mongolia to develop their higher education programs during their transition from Communism. He was a gifted storyteller who weaved his life experiences into tales that both entertained and edified.

He was a dedicated servant of the Lord, who served an honorable LDS mission in the Brazil North Mission. He labored as Branch President at the MTC, Bishop of Cascade 2nd Ward, High Council Member in Orem Cascade Stake, Ordinance Worker in the Mount Timpanogos Temple, and a member of the Curriculum Resource Committee. A gifted teacher of life and salvation, he lived to bring action to the Gospel’s precepts.

Joe was a builder of homes, ideas, and lives. A gentle giant, who was steadfast, thoughtful, humble, and strong; he spent his life in quiet service. His greatness was shown by his Christ-like love, the warmth of his smile, the power of his patience, the richness of his intelligence, his ability and desire to teach even the hardest of hearts, his comedic timing, and his gift to uplift others through his faith, stories, and unconditional love. His love of the Savior showed in everything he did.

He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Alice Nielsen Raynes, and their ten children: Janelle (Nathan) Gerber, Michelle, Denise (Paul) Pitcher, Alison (Marshall) Smith, Melanee, Stefanie (Nate) Farnsworth, Jonathan (Daniela), Danielle (Bryan) Kennedy, Derrick (Alexa), David (Sydney), and their 17 grandchildren. He is also survived by his father and five sisters.

I only hope to carry on the lessons he taught me in every day life throughout my life. Thank you, Joe, for all you have done for me, even when you may not have thought anything of what you were doing. Thank you for bringing me into your family and helping me feel loved. Thank you for being an example of Jesus Christ.


Dani and Bryan said...

I love you!!

Stef said...

That was so gorgeous. Thanks so much. We love you, too!