Recently my uncle passed away. He was a friend and one who taught me by example, not words. I loved the wilderness; he taught me to respect it. I loved wildlife; he taught me to balance use of nature with preservation of nature. Without his teachings, I would not be living the life I now lead. He taught that one can be strong without using the strength to hurt. He taught patience, respect, tolerance, and the value of listening. Most of all, he taught love.
He had perhaps the best marriage, to a wonderful woman, that I have seen. From it came a son, a daughter who is one of my best friends, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Lonnie was deeply religious without imposing his religion on others. It was simply there, in his actions and the way he related to others. The Dalai Llama said "I like your Christ, but not your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." I think His Holiness the Dalai Llama would have liked Uncle Lonnie.
So, from a distance, I say farewell to my uncle, a friend and a deeply loved one.