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Remembering My Grandpa – the Great Depression Teacher

2012 October 22
by Charlie

On Friday, October 12, I got a frantic call from my wife at work. She was sobbing, and couldn’t hardly get any words out.

Jen: “Charlie….I’m so sorry.”
Charlie: “What happen? Did you get in an accident?”
Jen: “No. Your Grandpa passed away this morning. He died about 8:30am at home with your Dad and Grandma. I’m so sorry.” 

Life at that pointed seemed to jolt into slow motion. With how busy my Friday was it hit me like a Mike Tyson punch in the first round of a title fight. I couldn’t believe it. My Grandpa at 92 years old was dead. The guy that taught me so much had passed away. It took about 5 seconds for my wife’s words to hit my head, and about 2 seconds from there to hit my heart. That’s is when the tears began to flow. Geez…how unprofessional did I look to all my co-workers who were gathered around my desk troubleshooting some problems. I didn’t care…I’d just lost my Grandpa. Then I realized I could NEVER TALK TO HIM AGAIN! Ouch.

About 5 months ago, as Grandpa had been going through some health problems, I had a dream one night about him. In it I had a vision of my Grandpa dying, and I was crying and screaming, “I can’t talk to him anymore. Never.” I woke up in cold sweat saying to myself I want to talk to you Grandpa. It was a glimpse into how much I cherished talking to a man who taught me so much about loving the Lord, loving your wife as Christ loves the church, working hard, being thrifty with your money, fighting for what you have, protecting your family, hunting, farming (corn/beans/pigs/chickens), and countless life stories on the Great Depression. As you can see the pain of his death cut me.  Cut me deep.

Leaving a Legacy

Over the past 2 1/2 years that Aaron and I have been writing developing ThreeThriftyGuys I’ve written a ton about Grandpa Gerhardt. He has had the most pronounced impact on my life, and particularly in the area of finances. His family’s pain from the Great Depression in particular spoke to me the most. Probably because of how I saw him live such a different lifestyle than everyone else in my circle of influence. He always ate everything on his plate, would fix anything just to get a few more years of use out of it, he recycled everything before it was ever called being “Green”, and he always saved for a rainy day.

On top of that he was devoted to Lord, his wife, and family, and that showed itself in quality time with these things he valued. Grandpa always loved having coffee at the kitchen table and chatting about the crops, the market, or what has been happening around the community/church. When you spent time with him you felt like he really loved ya, and valued your time and presence. Do you ever have people in your life that invest so much into your life that make you feel this way?

Over these 2 1/2 years I’ve written about 30 articles where I’ve either written exclusively about my Grandpa’s experiences or mentioned him. Here are my top 10 articles on Gerhardt Gutz:

  1. How People Survived the Great Depression
  2. Watching Your Dad Go Through Bankruptcy
  3. How Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself Can Save You Money
  4. How the Great Depression Changed People
  5. Great Depression Video Series – Marriage Advice
  6. Great Depression Video Series – Living Through the Great Depression
  7. Great Depression Video Series – Living Through the Dust Bowl
  8. Farming During The Great Depression
  9. How to Prepare for a Great Depression
  10. Live Like No One Else – Part 2

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

To date, Grandpa is the closest person that I’ve ever known who has died. Towards the end of his life he was experiencing a lot of pain, and deterioration of bodily functions, which was hard to watch. The weekend before he died all the grand-kids came back home and spent time with him. It was a great weekend to get the whole family together as we had all the grand-kids out in the field finishing up harvest. Grandpa’s spirits were up as the playfulness of the grand-kids and the smell of harvest filled the aroma of the house.

That weekend I looked at my Grandpa and said, “Grandpa, it’s alright to go. You’ve lived a good life. I know your body is hurting, and it’s alright for you to go. You’ve already lived your legacy.” When I said that I didn’t expect him to die 5 days later. Geez. If I’d known he would have gone so quickly after I’d said that I’d never said it. :)

With all kidding aside we all knew soon would be Grandpa’s time to go. He’d already left his imprint on our family. Just saying goodbye is so hard. At his funeral I had the privilege of giving his eulogy, and the verse that spoke to me the most about my Grandpa was Matthew 25:23“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

I’ll miss ya Grandpa. Love ya!

**I apologize about the “soapbox” moment of mentioning my Grandpa’s death, but there are certain people who leave a indelible impact on your life that you can’t help but mention. 

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Charlie

An IT professional, Charlie also buys and sells liens, lives on the cheap, runs marathons and helps to run his family farm. In his spare moments, he raises 3 children, does the dishes and writes one post a week. His former blog, Frugal Retirement Plan, has been cited by US News and World Report.

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9 Responses
  1. Judy permalink
    October 22, 2012

    WOW! I’m sitting here with tears running down my cheeks. What a wonderful memorial to your grandfather. I’m sure your grandmother must have been quite the lady too. Thanks for sharing your heart, Charlie.

  2. Alicia permalink
    October 22, 2012

    Hugs to you and your family. A mighty oak has fallen.

  3. Lisa Smith permalink
    October 22, 2012

    It is very hard to lose a loved one. It cuts like a knife deep inside but, we have to learn to live with it. He would not want you to be sad. He lived a long full life. He would want you to remember the good times. Do not cry and keep those special memories close to your heart. Nothing lasts forever but the earth and stars. Everything else is a gift from God. We must never take anything for granted. We must cherish all of the gifts. Good luck to you. You may want to do a holiday every year to remember him. A party that you could talk about all the good times you had with your Grandpa. This will help ease the pain of losing him. You will see him again in heaven. I lost mine much earlier but I know we will see him again. Enjoy your week. Great posts.

  4. October 22, 2012

    Really Sorry to hear about your grandma Charlie.

  5. October 22, 2012

    Whoops ..i meant grandpa…Sorry

  6. Charlie permalink*
    October 22, 2012

    Thanks for all the kind comments! Grandpa was a great man, and set the bar high for leaving a legacy of your own. I hope to be half the man he was to his family and friends.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. How the great depression changed people? | Three Thrifty Guys
  2. Living through the Great Depression – Interview with Gerhardt Gutz | Three Thrifty Guys
  3. How to Prepare for Financial Storms – Financial Weatherman | Three Thrifty Guys

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