James Howell Featherston II. Born at Scott Air Force Base on August 12, 1963 and went to be at perfect peace with Jesus on December 6, 2015.
If you are sitting here today it is because you were loved by my dad.
It is possible that he coached you in basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, or baseball. Maybe he wasn’t your coach but he sat in the stands and may as well have been as his booming voice filled the gym.
It is possible he was your Sunday school or small group leader. In which case I can assure you he put a great deal of effort into being prepared and knowledgeable.
It is possible he was your car mechanic while you were stranded on the side of the road. From flat tires to blown transmissions he got you moving again.
It is possible he was your baby whisperer. Wandering the halls of the church or our home putting your screaming child at ease. This was one of his very favorite roles throughout his life. If he just met you and you were holding a baby, I’m sure it didn’t take long before he was sneaking that baby out of your arms, and in turn your baby was probably asleep within seconds.
It is possible he was your mapquest. It didn’t matter what city or state you were in, many knew you could call dad and he would figure out a way to patiently get you to your location.
It is possible he was your short order cook. If you have ever spent a meal at our home you understand how opinionated all of his children are when it comes to meal time. When friends would spend the night he would spend so much time in the kitchen catering to everyone’s different egg, toast, cinnamon roll, and juice needs.
It is also possible he was your handy man…whether you asked for it or not. I am sure many can remember inviting the Featherstons over for a dinner party and eventually get on the topic of how your ceiling fan stopped working and before you knew it dad was on a ladder, pulling a whole work shop of tools out of his van and fixing your fan. He enjoyed being needed and using the skills God had given him.
It is possible he was your sounding board. Dad was so good at listening. If you just needed to talk out your thoughts, ideas, or problems…many knew you could trust dad to listen and take it all in before reacting.
It is possible he was your assistant event planner. He could hang a VBS decoration like no one else. If you were ever evolved in children’s ministry you knew you could count on dad to take countless trips to the store, stand on a ladder and move the same decoration all around until you decided it was just right, or build sets and props. He loved seeing your big picture come to life.
It is possible he was your personal shopper. Some of you may be surprised that this does not just apply to immediate family. But if you have ever been at a choir concert and forgotten your tights, or at a basketball tournament without a knee brace, a wedding and needed hair spray, or leaving on a road trip without a phone charger. Dad would always be called upon to run to the store and entrusted with grabbing the correct item. A challenge in which he was always ready for.
It is possible he was your golf, fishing, or bowling buddy. He was a competitor but with the sweet spirit of team player. If you participated in these activities with dad you were graced with an earful of potentially useless information about how bowling pins are made, what the science is behind different baits, or why golf balls have little divots all over them.
A select few of you called him son, nephew, brother, uncle, or cousin. You have graced my years with stories of dad. How he was mature and responsible. How he never would wear a coat, drank a gallon of milk a day, and had a smart elect mouth. He loved being a part of your big, crazy, loud, and fun family.
And even fewer of you called him daddy. He was our protector and his love for us was so huge. He was our teacher and his joy was in watching our joy. His heart grew with every bike learned to ride, every book learned to read, and every pancake learned to flip. His heart grew when we got accepted to college, started our internships, won our tournament, got engaged, brought home a trophy, and passed a math class. His heart broke when ours did. When boys were mean to us, when we spent too many hours in the hospital, when we didn’t get into the classes we wanted. He ebbed and flow with the emotions of his children. It was so evident to all. We will remember the love that was sometimes too big for us to handle and fathom.
Trey will never forget the times dad would take him to play tennis. He was so patient in not only teaching him form and rules but in letting him be a kid and have the most fun possible. Those two had an insanely special bond that all the sisters can be jealous of. Dad was super intentional in showing Trey by example how to treat a lady…especially his sisters.
Anna will never forget dad teaching her to fish. One time they were fishing early in the morning before the sun had risen and Anna, the graceful being that she is fell off the dock in full winter gear. Dad was quick to pull her up, untangle her from the line and get her baited up and ready to cast again.
Ashley will never forget how dad was at her beck and call. She had him wrapped around her finger. From carrying her to bed into her 20’s, calling the dentist and doctors, picking up dress clothes and earrings, or making a special dinner for her every time we ate, Ashley had dad’s number and he always answered.
And I will never forget the many many sports roadtrips. Every teammate always wanted to ride in the van with dad, which is not super popular for players to feel toward their coach I am finding out first hand. But my friends and teammates wanted to ride with dad because not only did he believe in mountain dew as a source of energy, but he treated every game as a game. It wasn’t the end of the world if we were in last place (1 win to 27 loses puts you there), as long as we were trying hard, having fun, and learning.
And for mom, you called him dear. He loved you big and you loved him deep. From falling in love in Grandfathers mansion at Silver Dollar City (a mushy story you would constantly tell your children ) to countless moves and road trips. You stuck together. Being married a short time myself I know there had to be times that were hard and even annoying. But the love of Jesus, and the love of each other never failed. In reading one of dads bible study books I came across the quote “Marriage is not intended to make us happy but to make us holy”. Even in the times that were not happy, you both strived to make it holy. To hold Christ as the focal point and to give your children an example of a Christ filled marriage. We are all grateful for the many ways you displayed this to us over 32 years.
Mom has asked me to read a little of the story of their love from her perspective:
“Jimmy & I met in 1981, both at 17 years old. When Jimmy’s church youth choir from St. Louis made a road trip Springfield, Mo. It didn’t matter that I was dating the pastors son, he wooed me. The second time I saw him, he rented a plane, at age 17 and flew it himself to visit me in Springfield. Okay, now that was impressive! He was a perfect gentleman, always. From opening up doors to never letting me carry a heavy thing.
On May 22, 1983 I became Mrs. Jimmy Featherston. Almost 33 years ago. We had 8 years before we were blessed with our first child. Joy continued to fill our home with each child. But our greatest joy was when each child surrendered their life to King Jesus.
Jimmy served in the Army for 3 years, with one year in Korea without me. We lived in 6 states together and only 2 of them were for the Army.
Jimmy taught me to love the Cardinals & camping. His love language was service, he loved and served me very well. Every event, party or celebration I held, Jimmy was the worker bee behind the scenes. No task was ever too big or too small. One of the fondest memory was when he tied a 6 foot Christmas tree on his motorcycle and to his back and road up HWY 1 in California to surprise me, or when he drove 3 hours to bring me my photos when I forget them on a scrapbooking weekend. Or setting up my beach chair and umbrella and then returning to bring me a soda or lunch.
It is impossible to imagine life without him. To breath, to think, to make life decisions without him. To marry off the other three children or fight over who got to hold the grand babies that are to come. My heart will forever be remembering all the incredible blessings we shared and saddened by the ones we will not share.
I’m trusting Jesus to hold me and comfort me.”
If you are here today it is because my dad filled one of these or many other roles in your life. As a husband and father of many outgoing humans it was often thought that dad had a background role to play. But honestly as many of you think back…dad was a steady constant in your life. No matter what role he played, a hole is left where his presence was. We will miss our loving, patient, and caring mapquest mechanic friend cook teacher baby whisperer son brother husband…daddy.
Love is forever.