Thursday, August 27, 2009

Death of a Friend

Two days after I returned from my trip, our friend Ed Pugh died. I hadn’t intended to write about Ed, but somehow I am reluctant to describe my travels until I’ve acknowledged this grief, as it is part of my life right now.

Dr. Lobo met Ed nearly forty years ago at Central State University (now known as the University of Central Oklahoma). Both were resuming their undergraduate studies after military service. Both had recently returned from Viet Nam. Both were geography majors.

Ed and Dr. Lobo engaged in friendly, but fierce, competition. Dr. Lobo would mention scoring 98% on a geography exam, but then let me know that Ed made a 99. If he knew Ed was turning in a twenty-page paper, Dr. Lobo’s own paper would run twenty-one pages.

Shortly after Dr. Lobo and Ed became friends, Ed married Shirley. Like me, Shirley taught elementary school kids, so we had much in common. For several years, the four of us spent a lot of time together.

Eventually kids arrived on the scene at our house, and we did not see Ed and Shirley as often. (It may have had something to do with the time our sweet two-year-old girl kicked Ed in the shin.) Dr. Lobo and Ed still saw each other on occasion, but Shirley and I were busy in our separate worlds.

In recent years, we’ve had opportunities to strengthen our longtime friendship. After Ed developed some health problems, he deliberately began to spend more time with people who were important to him. We shared a lot of meals with the Pughs, most often due to their generosity. Three years ago, to celebrate his sixtieth birthday, Ed invited several couples to spend a delightful weekend in Manitou Springs, Colorado, at his expense.

The past few years have been hard for Ed and Shirley. Ed has been in ICU repeatedly. Several times Dr. Lobo and I visited him in the hospital and left believing that he wouldn’t survive the week. During the past few months, whenever we saw him, even out of the hospital, he was in obvious pain.

I could say a lot about Ed’s intelligence, sense of humor, generosity, diligence, and tenacity. I could also vouch for Shirley’s love, loyalty, and acceptance of her situation. But for now I will just say that I will miss Ed, and I pray for continued strength and peace for Shirley. I am grateful to have had their friendship for so many years.

Edward Jackson Pugh, 1946-2009


Rechelle said...

So sorry, but what a lovely tribute to a friend. God bless.


Oklahoma Granny said...

My deepest condolences.

tamarak said...

What a lovely tribute.......

Shirley said...

Thank you so much for that lovely tribute to Ed. He valued your friendship as I will continue to do.