“A dear friend to all dedicated to educating youth, to dream dreams, to love life, to serve family with no reservation and, in a quiet, gentle manner, be all His for the glory of God.

Gene Avey is my dear friend. Last week I called him to sing my Stevie Wonder song,

“Gene I just called to tell you I love you; I just called to tell you how much I care.”

Gene returned my call. I was not available. The cell screen recorded Gene Avey in red.  

I returned the call. The message recorded was, “Gene, when I see your name in red, my fingers can’t move fast enough to call you back. Let’s talk soon, I love you.”

Not long ago the family landed in Seattle. It was a long flight from Maui.

My cell showed a call from Gene. I listened to the message. It was not Gene’s voice.

Mrs. Avey wanted me to know Gene died in a four wheeler accident. The Aveys had just retired. Gene was superintendent of Annette Island Schools. Lecia, a dedicated teacher.

Both Gene and Lecia prayed for me daily. Gene brought NBC and me to Metlakatla to touch the minds and hearts of the youth he loved. Bobby Moore and I love Met. Gene was my hero. He believed in me and I believed in him. Still do!

This past year the Lord laid it on my heart to call or write those in my life whom I need to tell, “Just called to tell you I love you. I called to tell you how much I care.” I truly believed I would be the one at heavens gates waiting to greet Gene Avey with open arms and a joy packed welcome.

Gene Avey will be waiting for me with his generous smile and open arms.

Gene, as you join the cloud of witness we read about in Hebrews 11 and 12, my promise to you is to ask the Lord daily to help me imitate the way you loved people and served them so well.

Gene Avey, you fought the good fight, you battled for the prize, and you were the Lord Jesus Christ’s worthy ambassador. You imitated the Apostle Paul who said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”


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