With the deepest shock and sorrow, but with a hope deeper still, we share the passing of our dad, Frank Ecelbarger from this world on 30 January 2021.
Our dad rebuilt broken things. He built an adopted family from broken children. He spent his life helping rebuild broken lives as a pastor. He rebuilt broken homes as a painter. In the last chapter of his life he restored broken fence wood into a message of peace and hope through his artwork. His last unfinished piece, half completed on his workshop table, was an American flag. He longed for peace in a broken world, but rested in the hope of things still yet unseen.
He was steadfast and faithful, and loved and missed his Savior and his wife with a fierceness that nothing in this world could satisfy. Every day while he was on this earth he never stopped longing for eternity and for the moment when he could be with his bride again.
Dad’s heart gave out on a brisk Saturday morning in January, in his living room, where he lay down as if he was asleep, surrounded by the memories he had created over a lifetime with the love of his life. Antiques mostly, restored things, with a bible open next to Mom’s old red armchair. It was opened to 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4.
“The Coming of the Lord”
“Brothers, we do not want you to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep with Him.
According to the Lords own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
As we navigate COVID restrictions and plan a time to celebrate Dad’s life here on earth, please join with us in the celebration already happening, as he joins the ranks of heroes already passed over, receives his crown, embraces his Savior, hugs his smiling bride, and in all likelihood, tells heaven its first Frank joke. We hope they let him stay.
While we coordinate plans for a service in Fairfax, we’ll keep this page updated. In the meantime may this page be a place to share stories, memories, and “Frank jokes”, as we remember the ways that he helped rebuild all of us, and how he reminded us faithfully of our hope in Jesus.
Nathan & Stacey, Tim, & Joy
*As details emerge later on, we will let you know about plans for a memorial service at our church.