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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I told some family members that I would write down what I said about my father on the day of the funeral. This is close, without the emotion. I hope it encourages you. Sorry it is a bit long, but it's from the heart.

You know what my father would say about this gathering?

Horse collar. Shoodley-poot. Poodledog and apple butter. Let’s get this show on the road.

These are some of his Fabryisms. We would ask him, “How you doin’, Daddy?” He would respond, “I’m no problem.”

He would say about my mother today, “She’s prettier than a speckled pup.”

My brothers elected me to speak today and told me if I didn’t, they’d beat me up. I’ve been pushed from the porch too many times not to believe them. But it’s dangerous to give me an open microphone, an audience, and not give me a time limit.

In the obituary we put together for my father, we highlighted three things that seemed to form the structure of his life. Farming, Family, and Faith.

And my father was probably the most “integrated” man I ever knew. Integrated in the sense that he was the same person he was on the back of the tractor as he was sitting in the pew. He was the same wherever he went, whoever he met. I long to be that type of person.

My family was not able to be here but my children wrote some things they’ll never forget about their Pawpaw.

The joy he found in his garden.
Playing croquet with him.
Feeding us grapefruit.
When he talked and thought no one was listening he would start talking to the wall.
Mommadee Mommadee Murder Buck—hitting us on the back while he said those words.
He always showed me his garden and taught me to identify the trees.

I remember how he used to come home from work, eat a bite of dinner, and go out and work on the farm in the field or with the cattle. It seemed to give him energy to work, to mow, to plow, to be up on the hill. But in the evening, as the sun slipped behind the hill, he would join me in the front yard and put on his old glove and we’d toss the ball back and forth, ball in hand, throwing, ball in glove, ball in hand and back again. It was how he said he loved me, other than when he said, “Love every bone in your body.” We’d listen to the Cincinnati Reds together on the radio and watch the lightning bugs ascend. He’d smoke his pipe. Those are the tender memories of my childhood.

Some people have a problem with viewing God as their father because theirs was abusive or stern or vindictive and mean. I’ve never had that problem. I’ll be in Bible studies with other men who will talk about their fathers as drunken men who knocked them around the house. I sympathize with them, but I cannot relate.

Tell me God is loving. I believe. Tell me he is kind and compassionate. I understand. Tell me God has my best interests at heart. I’ve seen that in action.

When Jesus taught his followers to speak to God as “Abba,” their heavenly “Daddy,” he was talking about a radical concept. No one had ever approached God this way. But that’s what I’ve experienced.

One of the great triumphs of my life came in answering the phone as a child. We had one phone that hung on the kitchen wall like an anvil. When it rang, I usually got there first and answered. “Hello?”

Until about the age of 13, I invariably got this response. “Kat?” Or, “Kathryn?”

“No,” I would say dejectedly. “This is Chris.”

“Oh Chris, I’m sorry.”

But then the day came when the phone rang, I ran, and answered.

That was a good day. To be mistaken for my father’s voice was a triumph.

My father was a tactile, hands on person. I’m convinced his love language was physical touch. You couldn’t be around him without him touching your shoulder or giving you a hug. I remember early on holding his hand as we went to the feed store.

“Who you got with you today, Robert?” the man at the counter would say.

“This is my helper.”

It felt good to be a helper, though as it turned out, I wasn’t much of a help around the farm because I was different than my father. I did not have the closeness to the ground that he had. I tried, I really tried. In fact, I almost shot my foot off going squirrel hunting with him once. And I think he knew, intuitively, that I was not meant for the farm.

When Johnny came along and he went into the military, my dad was proud. He loved his country and to have a son serve made him beam.

Then Dave came along and studied chemistry and worked in a lab with petroleum. Having worked at a chemical plant for 30+ years, he could grasp that. And he was proud.

And then I came along a few years later. I was not a farmer. I was not military. I couldn’t understand chemistry and calculus. I could barely understand consumer math. Instead, I wrote songs, talked on the CB radio, dressup our dog and took pictures (canine pornography), and memorized lines from Marx Brothers movies. I was the three-headed monstrosity. I was foreign to him. But even though he couldn’t understand me, even though I was so different, he loved me.

I remember we used to watch TV programs together and he would cry at the Star Spangled Banner and schmaltzy commercials that touched him. One episode of The Walton’s sticks out. The father was away at Christmas and all the kids were nervous about whether they would get presents. Finally, the father shows up and for his eldest, he gives him a writing tablet. It’s the gift that finally tells the son it’s okay to be a writer, it’s okay to be who he was.

There’s a scripture often quoted from Proverbs. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Some take that to mean that you need to guide a child in the path you think he should take. But my father knew better. Though he didn’t understand the path, he trained in the way I should go. And I’ll always be grateful.

On Sunday mornings, if he wasn’t working at the plant, he would wake me early and ask if I wanted to go for a walk on the hill. This was partly our alone time and partly his way of helping me lose weight. I was 15 before I knew Little Debbie wasn’t related to us. He would unleash Shep, our old collie, grab his walking stick, and up the hill we’d go. Along the way he would show plants, trees, flora and fauna, just like my children said.
That easy walk is what I compare his faith to. There was a time when he dutifully served God, where he went to church and did things FOR God, to make God pleased with him, happy with his efforts.

Then came an awakening to the grace and mercy of God. I can still remember him getting an NIV Bible—we found it the other day. From Ephesians on it’s totally gone, just worn out. And I remember him devouring Knowing God by J.I. Packer. My father encountered the truth that we don’t earn heaven or favor, but God’s grace is received. Forgiveness is not merited, it is offered freely to all who ask. Righteousness is not earned or worked for like a well-tilled garden, it is imputed. By His stripes we are healed.
So there became this long, easy gait of a man forgiven and made new because of the work of Jesus on his behalf. And every day was a walk with God. Every seed planted, every row hoed, every ear shucked, every cow fed, every boy’s hair cut.

I remember the haircuts. I dreaded it like Sunday evening church. This was the late 60s, early 70s when crew cuts were anathema. I wanted long, flowing hair. He would drag us down to the basement and sit us on that red, rickety chair and proceed to lop off every bit of hair we had. In later years, he switched from the crew cut or buzz to a little longer style, and I remember him using his hands instead of a comb to get my hair to stand up straight. His hand going back on my head felt like a blessing.

(I also remember when Dave and Johnny told me about the jugular vein and how, if it were cut, you would die within minutes. And my father nicked my ear one day and I saw blood and ran screaming from the basement to say goodbye to my mother, thinking my jugular had been cut.)

My father’s life, his work, his devotion to God all came from a heart of thanksgiving—not out of obligation. And my dad’s faith grew deeper as the incline increased. The steep, uphill struggle yielded a deeper life for him.

A week or so before he died, one of his care-givers asked, “Mr. Fabry, if you could have anything on this earth, anything at all, what would you want?”

According to my mother, he paused and looked off, contemplating the question, struggling to process the information. Finally he answered, “Jesus, my Savior.”

Those were the last words he spoke. The next few days were spent being loved well by his wife of 61 years, who was committed to helping the love of her life spend his last days in the house he had built with his own hands. His daughter-in-law was there to administer the complicated mix of medicine that would keep him pain free and stay up with him and comfort him and speak so kindly to him even though he didn’t respond. And David was there in the bed beside him, watching, waiting, grieving, and trying to make his last days more comfortable.

I like to think that last Thursday, my father got up early, before any of us could tell him to stay in bed. And he said to himself, “Let’s get this show on the road!” He grabbed his walking stick, but realized he didn’t need it. His knee that had given him such problems felt better than it had ever felt before.

And he headed alone for his final walk. He walked all the way to the back fence on the hill and it felt like he could walk forever. And he can.
He’s not coming back. And we love him too much to ask him to. But we will meet again. This is our sure hope in Christ.


Paul W. Ayers said...

To The Fabry's, My Deepest Sympathy and Condolances,Chris I knew that GOD placed you with such a wonderful earthy family and your Ministry and Family has touched my heart in so very many way's and your writing's...Lord I Continue To Pray Blessings In Abundance, with much Peace and Holy Protection over the Fabry's..they are my family.Continue to use them Lord Jesus..I shall keep them covered in Prayer and In Love. and Thank You Jesus for the Flog's and the Fabry's. Sincerely, Paul W. Ayers. Chelan WA

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing about your dad. Very touching. I can relate some, my dad went to meet his Savior ten years ago. Thank God for the memories.

Donna said...

Chris, never apologize for anything you write as being too long. What a beautiful tribute to your father. It is pure joy to read anything you've written. I've read all of your adult books and anxiously await the next. My heart particularly goes out to your mother, having lost her love of 61 years.

May God bless you and your family.

Bernadette said...

I love what you said how your dad was "integrated" - we need more men like him. I pray that God will continue to use you and your gifts for His greater glory.

Miss Me said...

Best blog ever. I love it. Thanks for sharing, dad. I love you.

Ladida said...

Chris, today I read your lovely eulogy. Even though this was supposed to be the "emotionless" version, my throat was all choked up and my eyes teary. How beautiful is your relationship with your father. Notice I use the present tense. A love relationship with a parent (or both) never fades away. My daughter (23) just left the US to live in Germany where she will teach English for a year. Alone. She doesn't have that love relationship with Jesus that I so long for her to have, and it is my belief that this is true (right now) because of a lack of relationship with her earthly father. I grieve that she hasn't had the kind of remarkable relationship you have with your father and that I have with mine (even though mine was fraught with heartbreaking foibles). I pray daily that Jesus will reveal himself to her in such a tender way that she will not be able to deny He IS the Way and that she will fall in love with Him forever. I know in my heart of hearts this will happen because I gave her -- my firstborn -- to the Lord when I became a Christian shortly after her birth (miracles of miracles) and what belongs to the Lord He will call back to Himself. As tenderly as the love flows from your earthly father to and through you, so will this love, in even greater measure, flow from Jesus to my daughter. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I get to listen to the first hour as I ride home from my high school teaching job. Nearly every show touches me in some meaningful way. For that I thank my heavenly father for the work He does through your broadcasts.

Your friend and sister in Christ,


C. Smith Page said...


What a wonderful eulogy. I know of what you speak. My father is like your father. He is my earthly example of a loving God. He's 85 now.

I have a son who is 21 now. He knows Jesus as his savior. My son is a legacy of my father's faith. I love him for that.

Thanks for sharing your father with us.


Donna Sparks said...

Glad I don't have to voice this comment audibly (sniff sniff)...but I couldn't leave the page without telling you how beautiful and touching this tribute to your father is. It's something I know your family will cherish. I can see you have a larger than life example to follow. Your children undoubtedly reap the benefits of your relationship with your dad.

One thing we know for sure--where he is now, your dad's definitely "no problem"!!!

Donna Sparks

PS: Your mom really IS prettier than a speckled pup!

Denise said...

O.K. I've finished drying the tears from my eyes and then I had to go back and read it again. Am I a glutton for punishment or what? Your words are so touching that I just had to read it more than once and of course cry more than once too. I'm 56 years old and my father and mother died when I was in my mid 20's. Your words about your father brought up wonderful memories of my father. I thank you for that. I do believe that I will see my father again. I know he is in heaven and if I continue to lead my life as my father and mother taught me, I know we will be united again. thank you taking the time to post. God bless.