When our financial counselor told me he expected me to live to be 90, I told him I expected to live to 78! My father died at 61, and my mother died at 88. I believe I can beat the law of averages by three years!
Our son, Brett, asked me to officiate his and his wife, Abby, wedding on December 31, 2021. I was honored, and it is one of the highlights of my life. I have asked him to return the favor by officiating my memorial (I’ve written out) at an Asheville, NC craft brewery. Everyone who attends will get a ticket for a beer or glass of wine!
Besides writing out my memorial service, I’ve also written my obituary. It is as follows:
I was born on October 23, 1953, to incredible loving parents, John and Joyce. I share my birthday with several famous people including:
My purpose in life has been to create safe, nurturing, inclusive communities.
The operating system I have tried to live by and hold myself accountable to is from Micah 6:8
Besides being called David… I’ve also been called:
- Charlie Brown
- The Tidy Bowl Man
- The Corporate Onion Peeler
I have been a…
- A collaborator in God’s creation and I pray well with others of different faiths, including atheists
- an Eagle Scout
- an artist, a jeweler, a window washer, a newspaper columnist,
- Experience-based facilitator in organizational and leadership development, leadership coach
- author of 3 books – What’s On Your Rear End?, 65 at 65, David Carr By The Numbers
- ordained minister of the Universal Life Church
- Grandfather to Zander, Lily, and Everett
- AND I am most proud of being a partner to Terri and a father to Erin and Brett
Here are just a few of the people who made a memorable difference in my life:
- Larry Lemser, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 516, Centerville, OH, inspired me to become an Eagle Scout and always reminded me to leave the campsite, people, and places better than I found them.
- Mrs. Schreiber, my high school Latin teacher, taught me continuous practice was part of a life well-lived.
- DePauw University Anthropology Professor Robert Fornaro, taught me the value of critical thinking. Questions are more important than answers. Questions reveal curiosity. Answers reveal judgment.
- My sister-in-law, Kathy Sumner, showed me not to fear death.
- Bob Schellenberg, reminded me not to wait until someone close to me dies to get together.
- Lee Reading, gave me my dream job at Camp Joy and helped me overcome my fear of heights!
- Lyne Watts made me aware of the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in my life and challenged me to do something about it!
- My Westminster, Dayton, OH, men’s small group of 28 years, my band of brothers from different mothers who have each other’s backs.
- My son, Brett told his mother and me, “You raised me right!”
- Terri Carr, who made me feel worthy after a failed marriage and loved me even though I drove a station wagon whose scent was cherry urinal blocks 45 years ago!
Five books that changed my life and might change yours:
- Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James – I learned and live less is more!
- How to Want What You Have by Timothy Miller – Make self-awareness, compassion, and gratitude a daily practice.
- All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum – Helped me understand the difference between a problem and an inconvenience.
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – Trying to be perfect and expecting others to be perfect is exhausting and impossible.
- Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving – I learned of my white privilege and what I need to do about it.
Here are a few valuable lessons I’ve learned and wish to share…
- It’s okay to feel weird about being the same age as old people.
- Life is good when you stop trying to be young and thin!
- The best things in life are rescued.
- Let a dog share your bed. You will live longer!
- Bacon will keep you from being a vegetarian.
- Gluten is not a crime.
- Golf is something you do with your hands while you talk. Sipping a good bourbon will not only do the same thing, but there are no bad shots, missed putts, lost balls, or yelling “FORE” at the top of your lungs!
- Sipping good bourbon is a form of yoga!
- Learn to sail. Sailing has taught me more about life than any job, hobby, or sport.
- You are the five people you are closest to. Choose wisely.
- You are what you watch, look at, read, think, eat, and drink. Be mindful.
- Whatever you do, give 100% unless it’s blood.
- Vote or be ruled.
- It’s a fact: vaccines have been safe and effective since 1796. Get vaccinated, not for yourself, but for your neighbor.
- Stop trying to be everyone’s cup of tea and focus on being a few people’s shot of tequila.
- The answer to “Can people really be that stupid?” is always yes.
- The true, real seven wonders of the world are: to see, hear, touch, taste, feel, laugh, and love.
- Say, “I love you!” to those you care about, beginning with yourself with all your warts, scars, mistakes, failures, and imperfections.
I have lived an incredible and blessed life! What has made my life incredible has been Terri Carr. I thank her! I am blessed to have shared a major part of life with her. She has helped make me a better version of myself than when she met me!
In lieu of flowers, please spend money on building bridges with others, creating longer tables that include more people who don’t look or think like you, and doing an act of kindness for some troubled soul. Please write your Congress person and tell them to do away with Daylight Savings Time and get back to real-time.
Comments from readers:
Austin, I love it!! I really didn’t want to read it because it gave me the heebee jeebies, but so glad I did. Once I started I couldn’t stop! I love it all and the warts comment made me laugh out loud! I loved your comment about Burbie! C.H.
So here comes the usual response…is your health okay? Is your Spirit okay? D.B.
I hope you live long enough to add more grandchildren to that list, to author another book, to find more books you want to recommend, to fall in love even more deeply with life and others and to not have any expectation as to how long you will live. J.W
Everyone manages face the thoughts of their own deaths in their own way, as you are doing. I hope that you don’t set an expiration date for yourself, but live until you die, instead of until you expect to. G.D.
At some point I’m going to respond. Like what you’re doing. M.A
Thank you for sending your thoughts and wishes for your obituary. I have read it many times and still cry each time. It kind of took my breath away when I saw Bob’s name and the message was so true and heartwarming. You are such a great writer. I also laughed at some of your valuable lessons. S.S.
This was fun to read. Your zest for life is inspiring to me. Thank you. I’m glad to have you-and your perspective-in my life. B.M.
Happy birthday Mr. Carr. I loved learning more about you before you leave this world. But the bourbon part I already knew, as did most everyone. Stay golden! D.D.