Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cecil Kilgore Tribute


(Eulogy written and shared by Johnny Kilgore, oldest son at the funeral, April 15, 2012. A big jug of well water and two caps were placed on top of the pulpit at the beginning of the Eulogy. An asterisk indicates additions to the Eulogy since the funeral.)

My Dad lived a long life HIS WAY.  Some people might say he was curious and peculiar because he didn’t follow the norm.  But the Bible mentions that we as Christians should be a peculiar people.  I would prefer to say that Daddy was just different in the most wonderful ways.  His way adds to the legacy of memories for his children and grandchildren.  Some adjectives that describe Dad are consistent, conservative, unchanging (emphasis on the "c"), committed, calm and caring.—all begin with “C” for Cecil. 

Not in particular order of importance I wish to share with you some of the things Dad loved.

  1. Daddy loved his family.  His love for mother was not what you would call demonstrate in our eyes, but it was shown in the old fashion way.  And that was by providing a home, security, and commitment. Daddy was always there for our mother.  They were married for 70 years which speaks for itself in this day and time.  He displayed his love for his children by demanding respect and obedience.  He did not spare the rod, nor spoiled the child.  He was a consistent rock in our lives.  He saw that his family went to church and grew up in church.  All his children are personal followers of Jesus Christ and serve in churches. 
  2. He loved music.  When we get together at Christmas one of the fond memories is Daddy singing “O Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” a cappella.  I can recall as a child seeing Dad play his guitar as he and mother sang a duet.  We were a musical family, singing in churches, playing instruments, playing in school bands and serving churches on staff in the area of music.  Dad encouraged studying and being involved in music.
  3.  Dad loved the idea of going to school and getting that degree.  He saw that all this children attended college.  He valued schooling and what it could do for you.  Therefore, the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, Samford university, University of Alabama, Birmingham,  Auburn University, Montgomery, University of Montevalo, Middle Tennessee State University, Snead College, Beville State, Walker College, and the University of California are schools that his children and or his grandchildren have degrees from.  From Bachelor degrees, Masters degrees, and one Ph D,  Dad receives the credit for instilling in us the value of a college education.
  4. Daddy loved the land.  He lived and owned the land of his Father.  He left his children the legacy of the land.  He always said it was important because they are not making any more of it.  He cared and farmed the land on the side as he worked for the Alabama Forestry Commission.  There would be a big garden, a pea patch, a cornfield, or a watermelon patch.  Daddy has left us the land and he always emphasized the importance of it staying in the family.
  5. He loved work.  Daddy would create work.  He was never idle.  We knew he was sick if he was just sitting there.  He instilled a strong work ethnic in his children.  He was determined, task oriented.  He didn’t have a lot of patience with people who were lazy.  But he would do things he would not let his children do - like climbing the tin roof of Granny Kilgore’s old house at age 88.  He was a man of work always finding something to do.
  6. Dad loved caps.  He has over 30 something caps in his bedroom.  Many of the caps were given to him from his nephew, Jimmy Kilgore of Kilgore Hardware and from my brother, Mike.  Dad was always sharing his caps and I have quite a few he has given me.  The last time I saw him is asked, “Do you need a cap?”  Daddy had already given me quite a few caps.
  7. Daddy loved the Lord.  He was saved at a young age in a cornfield.  His salvation experience was very real and vivid.  He told us on more than one occasion that he was ready to die because he was going to go to a better place. His church membership was at New Oak Grove Freewill Baptist Church in Nauvoo, Alabama. Daddy would sit in his lounge chair next to a table and lamp reading his Bible in his private devotion.   He left us with a Christian legacy.  We each have a strong faith.  The Lord has been good to the Kilgore family.  Dad trained us up in the Lord and as we have grown older we have not departed from that teaching. 
  8. * He loved this country.  Daddy served in the Army of the United States during Worship War II. He was honorable discharged in October, 1945.  He was called up that last year of the war.  His training was in Camp McCoy in Wisconsin.  He never did have to go over seas because the war was over in August, 1945.  Daddy was always concerned about the direction the country was going.  He never frowned on the amount of taxes he had to pay because he said our country needed the money in order to function.  He was always up on who was running for office in the local, state, and national elections and always went to the polls to vote for who he considered the best man for the position.  
  9. * Daddy loved the Masons.  He became a Master Mason in 1947 and served for over 65 years in the Double Springs, Lamon Chapel, and Black Creek Masonic Lodges.

Of the many things Dad loved, there are things he didn’t like.  I want to share some of those with you.

He didn’t like crowds.  I’m surprised he would even showed up today for his own  funeral.   It         didn’t matter if it were a family reunion or a homecoming, after making his appearance, he would fade away.

 He didn’t like going to the doctor.  Going there might make you sick.  We could not get him to go to a doctor for any reason when it fell or when he was having problems with his throat.  He would always doctor himself.

He didn’t like taking medicine.  Therefore at Age 91, he wasn’t taking any thing.  That is something you don’t hear of this day and time.

He didn’t like fancy food.  Peanut butter and crackers were his staple.  He could put away a good banana pudding though.

He didn’t like wasting money.  He shopped for a bargain and he was very good at it.  When he bought his last car he went to various cities for the best deal and finally found it at Jim Skinner Ford in Birmingham near where I live, paying cash for it.  He didn’t like credit because it meant paying all that interest.  He was thrifty.

*The last day I saw him alive was Tuesday prior to his death on Thursday, April 12.  During the Tuesday visit, I showed Daddy my new plaid shirt jacket I had purchased from Walmart for $3.00.  He said, "You got that for $3?"  Mother was going to Jasper for a doctor's appointment.  He could not get the $3 jacket off his mind.  He asked Mother to go by Walmart to buy him a shirt like mine.  I told him he could have mine.  He said, "Oh, no, I don't want to take yours."  I told him that I purchased two jackets and that he could have this one because I didn't need two.  That satisfied him.  At the end of my visit, I mentioned that I was leaving him the plaid shirt jacket because I don't need it.  He was pleased.  But personally, I don't know if Daddy like the shirt jacket or if he liked the idea it only cost $3.  It was quite a bargain.  Daddy never got to wear the shirt before he died.  

He didn’t like calling on someone else fixing things around the house when he could do it himself.  He was very good at fixing things.  He even would tell a professional plumber how to put in a toilet because he could do so much.

He didn’t like “city water.”  Water was important to him.  His day, my grandfather was a jack of many trades—one was digging wells.  On many an occasion Daddy would talk about the different wells we have had through the years.  He attributed his good health to drinking good well water.  He would carry his well water with him to work.  He would provide us his well water in plastic jugs.  There was a ritual in drawing the well water. This will be one of our fond memories because we did this together in the last years of his life.

* He didn't like litter on the roadways.  He would walk a mile on both sides of Winston County Road 21 in front of the old home place, picking up trash that people discarded.  He would easily get two bags full of trash from that road side.  His back problems did not deter him, even at age 90 from picking up the trash. He had a special tool he used to assist him, but he still had to bend over low to the ground. Picking up the trash was very important to him and one the activities he made sure was done.  It was something we did together in his last year of his life for which I will always remember.
Daddy left us with many wonderful memories.  He was a good Daddy.  He was a man of reason, a man of integrity and a man of determination and strength.  He is loved by his children. 

I wish to thank New Oak Grove Freewill Baptist Church, Pastor, Brother Mickey Crane for all the church has done.  I wish to thank all those connections through the relationship of the children, my church, Ridgecrest Baptist Church of Trussville, my sister’s church, New Prospect Baptist Church in Jasper, my brother, Ricky’s place of work, and my brother, Mike’s connections through his work at ALFA for all the kindnesses shown.  But most of all I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for what He has done for this family.  The Lord has blessed us so during Daddy's life and now in Daddy’s death.

I sign off now.  The oldest son, Johnny Kilgore


  1. Uncle Cecil was a rock you could count on. I loved him very much and will sorely miss him, but so glad he is with parents and siblings now, healthy and enjoying being in the presence of our Lord.

    Joan Spain Irvin

  2. That is a beautiful tribute to your dad, Johnny.