Fourscore Years Plus Ten

Bill Edwin Biar died on 30 Oct 2012, in Carrollton, Texas having reached the age of 93 years, three months and 23 days. The following words were written on his 90th birthday.

            My place of birth was on a farm just north of the city limits of Thorndale, Milam County, Texas.  My date of birth is rather unique – July 7, 1919 (7.7.1919). I was the eighth child of a family of twelve children. My ancestors were Wends or Sorbs, who came from Germany. I became a member of God’s family when I was baptized on July 27, 1919. One of my earliest childhood memories is when I went to bed at night my mother sat down next to me on the low rollaway bed and had me to repeat the prayer, “Abba, lieber Vater, Amen.” (Abba, dear Father, Amen.) Thus I, from early childhood, was taught to love God the Father. Another prayer I learned was, “Ich bin klein, mein Herz ist rein. Soll Niemand drin wohnen, als Jesus allein. Amen.”  I am little, my heart is pure.  No one should live in it except Jesus alone. Amen.) Thus I was taught to embrace Jesus in true faith. From early childhood I was taught for God to “create in me a clean heart” through Jesus Christ, my Savior. As a family we always went to church and my father held daily morning devotions after breakfast.
            Our home was bi-lingual, leaning more toward German during my early years, while later on English became predominant. When I became a first grader at St. Paul Lutheran School in the fall of 1926 I knew more German than English. The school was bi-lingual – German and English and I enjoyed going to school. I was confirmed on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1933.  I grew up during the Great Depression and considered myself fortunate to be able to graduate from high school in 1937, which was not the norm under the circumstances under which I grew up. When I took Vocational Agriculture in high school I became very interested in cattle raising and before World War II several of us brothers were engaged in a small cattle feeding operation.
            World War II changed my entire life. My enlistment date was on Good Friday April 3, 1942 and I was assigned to the U. S. Army Air Corps. After attending technical schools at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado and at Sperry Gyroscope Company factory school in Brooklyn, New York, I was assigned to a heavy bombardment group, working on the armament of B-17 (Flying Fortress) bombers and eventually became the inspector of the armament section of my squadron. I was stationed in Washington, South Dakota, Oregon and Florida. My highest rank was Staff Sergeant. In early 1945 I was transferred to the regular army and served with several military intelligence detachments in Germany.
            While in Germany I did another thing that changed my entire life and which I in no way ever regretted, I married Stefana Todt, my dear wife. I thank God that he has given us two wonderful children and their two spouses, besides 5 grandchildren.
            When I look back and consider the many events that happened during my lifetime I have to say that there certainly were some disappointments. Growing up during the Great Depression of the 1930s had its drawbacks. For one thing my dream of attending Texas A&M College and majoring in Animal Husbandry never
materialized. But God in His mercy showered many material blessings on me. Even without a college education I was privileged to work for a major oil company for 36 years, many years as a supervisor in accounting. I retired on August 1, 1983 in Denver, CO.
             Since my job required us to move several times we belonged to LC-MS congregations in Midland, Odessa and Corpus Christi, Texas; Bakersfield, California; and Denver, Colorado. In each congregation I served as an elder and Bible Class teacher, besides being a member of various boards, especially the Board of
Evangelism.  I also sang in the Senior Choir in each one of these congregations. While in Denver I held devotions in a nursing home for 16 years. In early 2001 we moved to Carrollton, TX. During my lifetime God protected me from major illnesses and many misfortunes.  For all the spiritual and material blessings I experienced I owe God a huge debt of gratitude. I need to take to heart what Moses says in Psalm 90: 10 (KJ): “The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,  yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” And in verse 12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom;” that is, I need to realize that human life is uncertain and in true wisdom to be prepared for the life to come. That is why it is so comforting to hear the words of Jesus: “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 – KJ)  And “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1&2 – KJV).
            When I consider my unworthiness, reaching 90 years has little significance unless I mention what God has done, that is, granting me His grace, mercy and blessing. Realizing that God has been so good to me I thank and praise Him for everything – the good as well as the not so good, God always knows what’s best for me and by God’s grace, with faith in my heart, and the assurance of complete forgiveness through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can truthfully say with St. Paul, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” (Phil. 1:23 – NIV)
Heav’nly Father, my Creator,
Jesus Christ, my Savior dear;
Holy Spirit, spiritual Couns’lor,
Thanks to Three in One so near.
You have loved me all of my life,
Going through this earthly strife
And by grace and not by merit,
I eternal life inherit.
Bill Biar
July 7, 2009

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