I attended a beautiful funeral on Saturday at Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University. Herb Smitherman, a leader in many areas of life in the city, was celebrated by his wonderful wife – who still looks exactly like her joyful wedding picture – and their 5 sons and a daughter, plus other relatives, many friends, and fraternity brothers from Alpha Kappa Alpha.
The chapel was packed full. Fr. Bollman who led the service was assisted by Fr. Ben Urmston, long time pastor and community leader at Xavier, and a great friend of Mr. Smitherman’s. Everyone who came to speak had been close to him – so there were wonderful stories, time for tears, love evident in the speakers and the listeners.
Over and over again, there were stories and quotes about the importance of family, and Mr. Smitherman’s teaching the family that they have each other, and must always stand up for each other. That the lesson has been well learned was evident when the younger grandchildren brought the Presentation the Gifts – bringing the bread and wine to the altar table. A 12- or 13-year-old grandson carried (without any prompting) his 3-year-old sister to the altar with his Gift. Clearly he did not want her to miss taking part in her grandfather’s funeral.
Sad, grief-filled and beautiful all at once. What a wonderful good-bye.