In Tribute To My Father
The last Photo of Me and Dad Together - 6/8/2014
The Last Known Photo Of My Father - 6/10/2014
Taken at Cass Scenic Railroad
How I Cherish The Memories Of That Day.
We drove nearly 200 miles down mountain roads, road the train, and talked the whole time
My Father Being Baptized - 1986
He is baptized by Alvie Blankenship, the co-worker and pastor who lead him to Christ
My father was an exceptional man. For all his nearly 75 years on this earth, my father was a very exceptional man. I don't say this just because he was my father, I say it because he had proven himself to me many times over to be a man of great character, conviction, compassion, and integrity. In a world where so many are found to be deceitful and untrustworthy, he was rock of honesty, dependability and integrity. It was an honor to have known him as a person and a great blessing from the Lord to have him as a father.
There are many things I could say about my daddy. I could talk extensively about his likes and dislikes, how he was very knowledgeable in several different fields from farming or heavy equipment to guns or commercial trucks. I could speak to you of his strong convictions, appealing sense of humor, his very tender heart, and love for his family, church and the Lord. But I'm only going to speak of three events that happened in his life, and mine, that will always remain with me.
The first was in 1985. While on a fishing trip in upstate New York my dad suffered a heart attack when he was only 45 years old. He was rushed to the hospital and according to what my mother told me it was "touch and go" for a while. I was worried sick and so was my mother, not only because of the risk to his physical life, but because of his lack of eternal life. In spite of my mother's many attempts to witness to him and show him the way of salvation, my dad was not saved. However, while my mother was earnestly praying for him to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, some of his co-workers where he worked were talking to him about salvation as well…but he still resisted. By the grace of God my dad recovered enough in New York to come home. I was never so glad to see him in my life.
Within just a couple weeks of his return, I came home from work one evening and walked in the door. He was sitting in his chair and nearly before I could get the door closed he said, "I accepted Christ today" (Dad was never one to mince words. He just said things "straight out"). I looked at mom who was standing in the entry to the dining room and she was beaming. Dad said the words so quick that I was somewhat stunned for a moment and then told him I was very glad to hear it. He then said "Alvie Blankenship from work came up to see me and I accepted the Lord as my savior." I will never forget that day. It is a hallmark of my life.
As with all of us it took dad a while to grow in the Lord and learn His ways and we eventually started going to Alvie's church in Birch River. Soon after dad was baptized. (There is a photo of this wonderful event above). We all went there for several years and grew in grace and the knowledge of the Lord. My dad never had a significant problem with his heart again.
The second day we will speak of is December 29, 2008, the day mine and Pam's mother passed away. My mother was a kind and precious soul that faithfully prayed all three of us into salvation. First Pam, then me, and then dad, and she rejoiced that her whole family was saved all her remaining years. On December 21st of 2008 she wandered outside in the middle of a winter night, fell in the driveway and hit her head. A while later my dad noticed she was missing when he woke up and eventually found her lying in the snow, cold and shivering. He scooted her on a rug and dragged her in the basement to get her warm and then called me. That was a terrible day.
After about a week in the hospital mom began to fail more and we realized she was going to leave us. Dad, Pam, and myself could just pace the floor, pray and wait. When her breaths became so infrequent and shallow that we knew her release from this life was imminent, we all gathered close around her. And when she breathed her last I saw the depth of my father's faith as I had never seen before or since. When mom gave her last breath dad's eyes lit up, his face and countenance began to glow and he joyously shouted "Do you hear that?" I said to myself "Do I hear what…?" and then he said "There is shouting and rejoicing in heaven right now that your mom has come home," and he continued to praise the Lord. I was amazed at his reaction to mom's death and at that moment fully realized that heaven was a very real home to my father and saw just how strong his faith and confidence in the Lord really was. How blessed me and Pam are to have such a man as our father. What a great example of faith and trust the Lord has given us to follow. That's another day I will never forget.
Now we come to the third event, and that was last Tuesday, July 8th, 2014, by far the worst day of my life.
During routine tests my doctor found an irregularity in my heart EKG and recommend I take a nuclear stress test, and Tues. July 8th was the day. I told dad last week that I was going to have it and he was glad. Since he had his heart attack at 45 years old and I am several years older than that, he was always concerned about my health. The testing took over 4 hours and everything went well. I got back home around 3pm and ate a little bit, messed around the house some during a thunderstorm and around 7pm got on the 4-wheeler to go tell dad about the results. (He only lives about a quarter mile from me.) When I got there he was not sitting on his porch looking out over the ponds as he usually did in the evening. He was not in the house. I figured he went out for a walk as he sometimes does and would check on him later. I rode back towards home and noticed his big tractor with his "bat-wing" brush hog on the back was in front of his shop building and a light was on inside. So I stopped, walking past the tractor into the shop. He wasn't in there. Then I turned around and saw a sight that stressed my heart much more than anything on this earth has ever done...I saw my beloved father's elbow sticking out from under one side of the heavy brush-hog. I began running back and forth in a panic yelling "No Lord, No, Please No." It never entered my mind that he may have been hurt, or worse, and I was devastated. Once I got my wits about me a little, I found a jack and jacked the brush-hog up. Under there was a terrible sight that has left an indelible mark in my memory that will remain the rest of my life. My precious father lying there cold, stiff, and crushed in his chest. I dragged him from under there and his arms were frozen in an extended position as to catch the falling brush hog that was determined to crush him.
Dad was not one to take risks and I'm sure he thought he had the brush hog secured with a piece of angle-iron he appeared to be using for that purpose. He had warned me countless times about the dangers of tractors and equipment, trying to keep me from danger...but it was his time to go home. The home he so confidently knew the Lord has waiting for him.
There are many ways a person can die, but the Lord allowed this tragic death for my father and arranged for me to be the one to find him. I don't question that. The Lord does everything for a purpose and I feel He has lessons to be learned from this for many of us present here today, but especially lessons for me. I pray I quickly learn them. I never want to go through anything like that again.
The days since last Tuesday have been rough. Not only for me and Pam and our families but for Dad's brothers and sisters and their families. We mourn but we don't mourn as those who have no hope because we have exceedingly great and precious promises from the God of heaven to trust in, and we do trust in them, and they comfort us.
As sure as the sun rises and sets, I am certain mom, dad, plus our other saved relatives are with the Lord Jesus Christ and rejoicing in heaven. They are there solely because they put their faith in Jesus Christ's righteousness instead of their own and received Him as their Savior.
Pam and I have been blessed beyond measure by having the
parents we had. As the rest of us they each had their own little quirks
faults, but I count myself as having the "cream of the crop" among
parents. It is unfortunate many don't have this blessing.
Seth Aaron Morton was an exceptional man. He was a very exceptional man. He was a man of honor, character, integrity, and godliness and this true assessment is from a much lesser man who has known him over 53 years, knowing not only his public side but also his private. And if in the measure of things any man could attain just a fraction of the character, godliness, and integrity of Seth Aaron Morton most would consider him an honorable man. But among us mere men Seth Aaron Morton is an exception…and Seth Aaron Morton is my father. How blessed I am!