James Lisonbee 1923 ~ 2011 James Keith Lisonbee, 88 passed away peacefully in his home on Friday, September 9th 2011. Keith was born on April 10, 1923 in Provo, Utah to James L and France. He married Velma Esklund on October 21, 1943. They were later sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. Keith served honorably in the US Navy during World War II and was a Pearl Harbor survivor stationed on the USS Tennessee. After the war he served in the National Guard. One of Keith's greatest joys was traveling with his wife in their motorhome where they proudly visited every US state, Canada and Mexico. Keith loved his grandchildren and happily brought them along on many summer road trips. As a member of the Winnebago Itasca Travelers Motorhome Club Keith and Velma developed many log lasting, close friendships with people from all over the country. In their later years Keith and Velma enjoyed relaxing at their second home in St. George, Utah where they hosted many memorable family gatherings, Keith was preceded in death by his father, mother, sister, bother and son James Keith Jr. Keith is survived by his wife Velma and children Janis (Bud) Reddick, Ken (Janis) Lisonbee, Sue (Bart) Baker, 9 Grandchildren, 8 Great Grandchildren and his loyal dog, Buddy.
The family would like to say a special thanks to all the wonderful care givers that help in their home.
My grandpa passed away while we were on our cruise. We didn't find out until our cell phones regained service when our ship docked in Florida on Saturday morning. He lived a long and happy life and he was very ready to move on. So, while we were sad to loose him, we were happy for him to be able to leave his suffering behind.
Like his obituary states, my grandpa was Pearl Harbor survivor. He was also an incredibly hard working man who had such a great, sarcastic sense of humor.
I was asked to speak at his funeral, which I was so happy to do. I recounted a few of the MANY dear memories that I have with him from my childhood. My sister, cousins and I spent one month each summer traveling with my grandparents across the country in their motorhome. I remember catching fireflies with him at night, frog hunting in every pond from here to Forrest City, Iowa, endless ice cream stops, horseback riding and probably 1,000 trips to the pool where he happily sat on a lawn chair for hours on end watching us swim.
As I've talked about on this blog before, B and I were given the incredible opportunity to live in my grandparents basement and help care for them for the last few years. I'm so grateful that we were able to do this. Living with my grandparents was occasionally frustrating. However, it didn't take long for that basement to feel like home and we still miss living there every day. They always kept us laughing, were two of the most content and easy going people I have ever known and showed us how two people can still love each other after 68 years of marriage. I will always remember that time of our lives with such tenderness. How sweet it was for me to see my grandpa light up when we brought our first baby home from the hospital. And, I have no doubt that living in the basement changed our lives, financially, forever. We were able to save a lot of money which enabled us to build our dream home in our dream neighborhood.
I love you grandpa so much and will miss you. But, I am so happy that your suffering is over and that you have been reunited with your son.
Here are a few photos from the funeral:
All the cousins, minus my sister:
And here is one of my cousins family, just because they all sort of look like movies stars: