"I've Been Promoted!"

Author: Brad  |  Category: Boardman Views, Faith, Family, General, Humor

Here in Boardman Country, July 5th has been an important day to us for the past five years. It was this day in 2003 that we lost my dear sister, LeaAnn Henninger, to an auto/pedestrian accident.

Today’s post, therefore, is a remembrance of Annie and her life. I was asked to read the following eulogy at her July 13th memorial service. Isn’t it fitting that as I look out the window this morning the daisies are out?

November 30, 1966 to July 5, 2003

Eulogy to LeaAnn (Annie) Elizabeth Henninger

Looking back on my sister’s life, I realize that she was a courageous person. LeaAnn is our adoptive sister, and from the first moment she came into our lives, she stepped into our hearts. She and our brother, Matthew, came to this country under difficult circumstances, and yet, each step of the way the Lord preserved her courageous spirit. She knew adversity in this life, but, more than that she also knew love. It is our love for Annie that brings us together today.

As I look at all of you, I can’t help but notice faces of sorrow; some with tears shimmering in their eyes. Beyond the sadness, however, I see great love and respect for my sister. Annie lived a life filled with people who loved her, and I know that as we move forward in this new chapter of life without her, we will, through our love for each other and through His love, who loves us best, succeed in living with this devastating loss.

Annie leaves so many who counted on her. She leaves her fiancé, the man who was presenting her with a renewed sense of hope for the future, Dave Ulrich. She leaves her three daughters and one son, Stephanie, Heather, Ashley and Andrew, as well as three others who were fast becoming her children: Alex, Brianna and Seth. I can clearly tell you that Dave and all her children were her passion, and her best friends. She did so much in this life for them and because of them. She was certainly a woman who was largely defined by family and had become a wonderful mother and mate.

In addition, she is survived by mom and dad, Audrey and William Boardman, myself, I am her brother Brad, and our siblings – Kim, Marc, Lisa, Heather, Matthew, Susan and Bethany.

There is, of course, much that could be said about LeaAnn, and we plan to share parts of her story in several ways this afternoon. As you might imagine, during the past week our family has had a number of get-togethers and we’ve had some wonderful times talking and sharing about who Annie was to each of us. I’d like to share some of the recollections – thoughts, words and phrases – that surfaced during those family meetings.

One of the prominent recurring themes was Annie’s gorgeous smile. There were her winning ways, and her outgoing personality. In this light it seems fitting that she loved daisies and children! As a matter of fact, she was happy and so proud of the fact that she was on track for a career in teaching. I can’t help but think that she would have made a tremendous teacher. Can you just imagine having LeaAnn as your first grade teacher? You probably wouldn’t have wanted to promote to second grade! Just think of the field trips!

In her youth, we remember some absolutely key things such as her ability to do the splits! Made my eyes water!

She had to have been the all-time Grand Master of PacMan! That was a computer game for those of you who are really old!

We remember her as a Candy Striper, a Youth Choir member, a signer for the deaf with oh, so graceful hands.

And speaking of hands, how about this – the ultimate massage!

How happy we are and how critically important it has been for us to remember that at about the
age of 14, she asked Jesus to be her Savior! You see, we do plan to see our daughter, sister, mother and friend again!

Let me run through some words and phrases here and see what recollections of Annie these may bring to your minds.

Country music
David Meece
Polio and a little “skip” in her step
Think about a place in Lynnwood where “Blue” was dominant
And, of course, “daisies”

We don’t know what regrets Annie may have had as she passed from time into eternity. Since she left though, some of us have been able to express a few of our own regrets, mainly about how short our time was with her. But our consolation today is that Annie has reached the One who loves her best. Hard to imagine, isn’t it, Andrew? Girls? That someone could actually love your mom, more than you guys do. But let me tell you again that from her vantage point in eternity, your Mom is saying something to each one of us here. We, of course, can’t hear her, but we can imagine. And when I imagine her sitting there at Jesus’ feet, I can just hear her now saying something like this:

Alright, home school class! Stephanie. Heather. Ashley. Andrew. And oh, my new children Alex. Brianna. Seth. And, of course, my co–teachers, Dave and Rob. Please, listen!

I have the most exciting news! I’ve been promoted!

I know! I know! I wasn’t expecting it to happen this fast! In fact, it was kinda all of a sudden! But wow! Was I ever ready for it! And I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve arrived!

And I just wanted to tell you guys that I’ve been talking with Jesus, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I mean…you know…not just on the phone, but…in person!

And He’s been telling me things about myself and about you guys. No, not bad stuff! Good stuff!

Believe me, He knows it all!

But listen. This is so important! And I’m gonna have to run here in a minute back to the worship service, but listen.

Jesus has just been telling me again that every word of the Bible is true. Just like we always believed. All the stories. All the miracles. And most important, even the parts about His gift of eternal life. Which brings me to what I really wanted to say to you.

If you guys ever wanted to give me something really special – Yeah, I know, now it’s kinda like: What do you give someone who has everything! – Well, this is it!

The best gift any of you could ever possibly give to me is to come right HERE when Jesus says it’s time.

Be born again!

And you can decide to do that as a family, but you each have to do it individually too.

Now if you have any questions – and remember, there are no stupid questions in my class! – Well…just ask Uncle Brad. He’d like that ‘cause…well…you know, he thinks he knows everything!

Boy, do I have news for him!

Annie, we love you and we miss you! See you soon!

You’re in Boardman Country!

Make yourself at home,

Uncle Brad
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4 Responses to “"I've Been Promoted!"”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    i can’t stop crying ^_^….i love you

  2. Linda Says:

    Brad……… tears in my eyes…… Absolutely wonderful words of a loved one I have ever heard or seen! Thank you for sharing!

    Lindas last blog post..Another Green Corporation

  3. Dave Keen Says:


    That was very touching and even though I didn’t know your sister, I feel my life has been more enriched by having read this.

    Thank you for sharing this eulogy,

  4. admin Says:

    To Dave, my favorite auto/home insurance agent:

    Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comment!