George Bernard Hammerle, Sr.

On February 17, 1996, my dad lost his battle with lung cancer. Following is what I wrote a couple days after he died as I reflected on his life.

The Bible does not say that we can quit honoring our parents when we reach a certain age or when we move out of the house or when our parents die.The Bible tells us that we are to honor our fathers and mothers. The word honor does not mean we are to simply obey them but we are to confer distinction on them. The Bible does not say that we can quit honoring our parents when we reach a certain age or when we move out of the house or when our parents die. Throughout my life I have tried to honor my parents as best I could. I have failed many times, but today I would like to especially honor my dad.

All my life, I�ve wanted to grow up to be just like my dad. He was and still is my role model. I’ve never wanted another dad. I’ve never been ashamed to say that he is my dad. God knew exactly what he was doing when he trusted me to my dad�s care. I firmly believe that if I would have had any other dad, I would not have had the good life and successes that I have had. I am a stubborn and selfish individual and if it were not for the lessons my dad taught me, those faults would have been my downfall. My dad taught me many lessons, not just by word, but by his example. The most important lessons he taught me are the ones that taught me the biblical values that he held. Some of those values are the ones I would like to share in honoring my dad today.

The scientists come up with so many far-fetched theories to support their belief in evolution that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe God’s Word.The most important biblical value he taught me is the existence of the almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God in Heaven. Without the knowledge of the existence of the Creator of all things, I would have been hopelessly lost. I remember times at the supper table when one of my siblings or I would bring up something we learned in science class that supposedly supported evolution. My dad never wavered from his belief that God created everything and that the story of Adam and Eve was not just a myth. Recently, I’ve done some research into the origins of the earth and have found out that there is more scientific evidence to support what the Bible says about creation than there is to support the theory of evolution. I am reminded of a verse in the Bible that says “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” The scientists come up with so many far-fetched theories to support their belief in evolution that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe God’s Word. Anyone who has watched a baby being born is a fool if they do not believe there is a God who created that life. I thank God in Heaven that my dad taught me about the God who created me and taught me that I have a responsibility to God.

Another biblical value that my dad taught me was to teach by example. Jesus Christ taught by his example; the apostles taught by their examples. A lesson is more easily taught and more easily learned if it is taught by example. My dad “practiced what he preached.”

The Bible tells us that “he that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” This may sound strange to a lot of people and it may not be socially acceptable today, but I thank God that my dad loved me enough to spank me when I deserved it because “the rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” If this world had more dads like mine, there would be a lot less senseless violence and crime. This world would be a lot better place to live if more parents did what my dad did and what the Bible says to do: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, we are told to “put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” My dad heeded this. I never saw my dad lose his temper, gossip, speak an unkind word about anyone, or utter a single cuss word. I find this to be amazing, especially in light of the fact that I watched him closely because I wanted to learn as much as I could from him.

My dad also honored his parents. He honored them by exhibiting qualities and values that his parents taught him. My dad has given me advice before and then I heard the same advice from my Grandpa. No doubt my Grandpa gave the advice to my dad and he heeded that advice. An example of this advice is something I’m sure many of you have heard before: when waiting for a car to go by before pulling out into traffic when he could have made it before the car passed, my dad would say “it’s better to wait a minute than forever in the grave.” That’s the same advice I’ve heard Grandpa give before.

The Bible tells us “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” My dad, then, had every right to eat. I loved going to work with him. I was always amazed at the quality of his work. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed watching him build a wood railing until my uncle was telling my mom about it. My dad could get the pieces to fit together perfectly. His attention to detail and his desire to do the job right are qualities that are sorely lacking in many of the houses that are built today. His work was first quality and when he built something, he built it to last. I remember one time back in the 1970’s, we were driving through a neighborhood where tornadoes had demolished many of the houses. We drove by one house that my dad had built and it was still standing with just a few shingles missing from the roof. The houses on both sides of the house were completely destroyed. I don’t know if the one my dad built was still standing because it was built by my dad, but I don’t think it’s hard to believe that that is the reason. Any success that I have at my job is due entirely to my dad and what he taught me about working smarter, doing it right the first time, paying attention to the details, and never resting on previous accomplishments. Jesus told us that “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” My dad spent many years building mansions for others in Indian Hills; now, he is living in his own mansion in Heaven.

Even though my dad worked a lot, he still made plenty of time for his children and family. He was either head coach or assistant coach at one time or another for each one of his children. And when he coached, he didn’t stress winning as the only thing. He taught the kids the fundamentals of whatever sport it happened to be. The one year he took Geoff’s baseball team to fourth in the city. Just about every kid on that team could play any of the positions equally well. My dad knew that the best way to achieve success was to build on a strong foundation.

Another way he made time for his family was the camping trips we would take. One trip stands out for me in particular. We were at General Butler State Park in Carrolton, Kentucky. We were there around the time of my 13th birthday. One night all the kids were riding their bikes around the park. We were out by the entrance and I was in front. I turned to look back at the others and didn’t see the rope that was stretched across the road to keep people from sneaking into the park at night. The rope was neck height and took me off my bike. I was knocked unconscious. When I came to, my dad was leaning over me. To this day, I still can not remember hitting the rope but I will never forget the look of concern on his face. If I ever doubt that my dad loved me, all I have to do is remember that look on his face and all doubt will be removed.

The final thing that I want to share about my dad is his humbleness. He never sought his own glory. He was just content with providing for his family and doing what was right. I never heard him talk about the things he had accomplished in the past. He lived in the present and was concerned with meeting his responsibilities of the present and future.

My dad is no longer with us. Watching him die was difficult, but not as difficult as I thought it would be. He knew where he was going. The last few moments of his life were wonderful moments. His eyes were fixed toward the sky. I didn’t see him blink or move. He saw the angels coming to take him home to Heaven. A single tear ran down his face. A few minutes later, a slight smile came across his face and then another tear fell. He took his last breath and the angels took him into the presence of Jesus Christ, his Lord and Saviour where he will remain forever more.

One thing I would like to add to this article is how my dad was saved. He put his trust in Jesus Christ and His righteousness just 16 short hours before dying. My dad was a proud man – very rarely asking anyone for help. God used the lung cancer to remove my dad’s pride and see that when it came to getting into Heaven, he needed help. With his pride removed, he was able to humble himself before God and ask for His help.

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3 Responses to “George Bernard Hammerle, Sr.”

  1. Geoff Hammerle says:

    I think dad put his faith in Jesus Christ all his life, long before 16 hours before he died. This is what his Catholic FAITH is about as well as the many other denominations of CHRISTianity.

  2. Geoff, belief in Christ and religious practices around that are different than faith in Christ. Let me ask you a question: why did Jesus Christ die on the cross? I’m assuming you’ll answer “for our sins.” That is the correct answer, but what does it mean? WHY did Jesus die for our sins and what are the implications of that?

  3. Geoff Hammerle says:

    So that we can be forgiven for our sins and know salvation. But there is more to Jesus than what he has given to us in his death. What did he teach us in his life? What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? All this and so much more is answered in the scripture.

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