“Amazing Grace”, LeAnn Rimes
We gather today to celebrate the life of Dexter Haney. The enormity of his significance to each of us draws us together. If we had not loved deeply, the wound of our grief would not be so deep. If we had not loved so deeply, the ache of our hearts would not be so raw. If we had not known him, our minds and our bodies would be in a hundred other places doing a hundred other things.
We gather, because we need one another. We must be reminded we are not alone.
Father, we gather because we love Dex. We pray for your presence as we remember him and as we consider your ability to care for our heartbreak and sorrow. Our grief is evident. Speak to us in these moments we spend together and with you. Draw us closer to you than ever before. Help us to know the truth of your words . . . “Cast all your cares upon God, because he cares for you”. In Jesus Name, Amen.
We gather, because he would have wanted us to. He would have wanted friends and loved ones to find support in one another. I have no doubt he is as much a part of our gathering as we are. His spirit is among us as we say his name. His very nature is among us as we tell his stories. Dex will not be gone from us for a long time to come. No one is ever gone until we stop saying their name and stop telling their stories.
Dexter C. Haney, 88, of Highland, passed away Saturday at his home.
Born in Chanute, Kansas, Dex came to Colton in 1942 and then to Highland in 1991. He served in the US Army during World War II and continued his civil service as an engineer at March Air Force Base for 25 years, retiring in 1957.
He was a member of the Pathway Church, Masonic Lodge F & AM #123, Scottish Rite, Al Malaikah Temple, San Bernardino Shrine Club, the NARFE Chapter #73, and served as a member of the San Bernardino County Citizens Patrol and as a Board Member of the Civic Opera. He also taught the Searchers Sunday School Class at his church for 23 years.
Dex is survived by his wife of 45 years, Clara Elise, a daughter Miranda Hickle of Morro Bay, 2 grandsons, Reggie, a career naval officer and Teddy, several great grandchildren.
Interment will be private at Riverside National Cemetery.
These words record in small snapshots a few events in his life. You who are gathered here today saw his life on the big canvas. Your memories could fill a room with what Dex was really like and how he touched the lives of others. I’d like to invite some of you to come forward today and tell some of your stories about him.
Eulogies, Comments and Recognition
Eulogy – Grandson: Ted
Comments – Wife: June (written comments)
Daughter: (written comments)
Recognition of: Citizens Patrol Volunteers, Valencia Lea Residents, Masonic Members, Bible Study Attendees
“The Longer I Serve Him, The Sweeter He Grows”, Gaither Vocal Band
Dex loved to read biographies and accumulated over a thousand books on the famous and infamous in his lifetime. He could carry on an enlightening discussion on just about anyone in history you wanted to talk about.
Elise helped him see the value and fun of travel. She was raised in a Navy family and had traveled the world before she had finished high school. They especially loved taking trips to Europe with the Valencia Lea travel group and dozens of cruises with family and friends. Dex and Elise went to Tahoe to visit Julie and her family every Thanksgiving.
He had heart problems for many years and had two bypass surgeries performed. When the last complications occurred, his physician told him he had 6-8 months, surgery could not be performed. That reminds me that grief begins with the diagnosis, not with the death. It was during this time Dex became additionally passionate about being with family. In these months, he ministered to them and they to him.
Such a diagnosis also reminds me of a truth that is eternal. No matter who we are, where we are or what we have done, there is Someone who is waiting to greet us with open arms. The fifteenth chapter of Luke tells us of a Father who is waiting.
Most of us spend all of our lives trying to get comfortable . . . to get to a place where things are serene and we have as few problems as possible. We set our goals that have to do with finances, relationships, work or retirement and good health. We work for our lives to become placid, like a lake at dawn, quieted by the early morning mist.
Sadly, it seems, we never quite reach that Nirvana. There’s always something. Even when we feel we’ve got it made by the world’s standards, there seems to be an undercurrent of unease.
If we are an average group of people, 90% of us in this room believe in God . . . that he exists and that he is active in our world.
Most of us have spent our lives with the concept the Ten Commandments are a good set of laws for both individuals, in particular, and society, in general. We view them as moral compass we adhere to for a better life. The truth is, we have all broken them. Even at our best, we still chose to break them.
The Waiting Father knows that and He is heartbroken when we do. But there is nothing we can do to make him not love us.
As we raised four children, we declared to them often, “There is nothing you can do to make us stop loving you.” They pushed the limits at times, but we were adamant in our love whether it was tough love or sweet love, it was always there for them.
Like us, but a million times more so, the Waiting Father lingers near for the hurting child to return.
Dexter was one of those thwart children. He would tell you, as he may already have, that a person can have their sins forgiven and begin a new life in Christ. He would tell you the peace you search for, the calm you long for, the hope you pray for can be found in a relationship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
That was Dex. He’d love you, whoever you are. And he would hang out with the sinner and the saint alike. He’d be your friend, no matter what. But he was always looking for a way to share what he had found, peace with God. I have no doubt many of you here today are thankful he did.
We come to you Father, as a people of faith, hope and love. We know what it is to be loved by the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope is therefore centered in his death, burial and resurrection. And our faith is a daily expression of our walk with Him.
But there are matters of the heart at work among us, Father. One deeply loved has left us to be with you. We are confident of his place today among other brethren who have gone before us and we rejoice, as he does, in the glory of Heaven. He stands among the cloud of witnesses urging us on and encouraging our progress.
Even so, our hearts still ache because of our loss. Reach into our grief and place the balm of your love and presence within us. When the pain seems too great, remind us of your company. Comfort us, not only because we need it, but so we may comfort others.
May all we do and say bring glory and honor to you, our Strength and our Redeemer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Alleluia”, The Gaithers (While the song plays, invite the people to come forward to the front and take a flower home in memory of Dex. As Elise said of the flowers, “His last gift to his friends and a reminder of the beauty he sees today in Heaven.”)