Calvin Cotten Brister

Jan 9, 2009.

I wrote this one week ago. Kelly and I were in separate rooms of the house weeping quietly while grieving privately. It was a quiet Saturday morning and the only sounds in the house were our sniffles and my keyboard. It is pretty much my custom to write when deeply troubled. You’ve probably seen better eulogies but you will not find one more sincerely meant. For that reason and in order that you too may know our friend Calvin I invite you to read on.


Three days ago, nearly 7,000 miles away a spirit escaped the vessel of flesh it dwelt in and departed earth for the heavenly realm.

Calvin Cotten Brister was my friend. I have known few friends like Calvin. Calvin was plain spoken yet elegant, direct without injury and love in action. To Calvin love meant action. Those he loved, he interacted with and we are all the better for it.

Calvin was very educated and yet as plain as a clear stream flowing gently by. You didn’t have to wonder how he felt on a matter as he was sure to share his thoughts with you. Not in an angry way, or an in your face, how dare you way but in a way that even if you disagreed, well, that was just it. You disagreed. He never made you feel unworthy, unappreciated, uneducated, un-anything except un-alone.

When I was out of town on business there were two people my wife Kelly knew she could call for help and depend on it being there. One was Dan Waitz, the other Calvin. When asked, Calvin would drive the 25-30 miles to our house and provide whatever aid Kelly and Craig needed. Occasionally he’d just show up to make sure we were doing OK.

After long periods of silence he would call out of the blue to let you know that he was thinking about you. When I went to visit him in the hospital for a time of fellowship and prayer he acted as if I had just awarded him the publishers clearing house prize. He wasn’t just a good friend, he valued friendship.

Before my family moved to Korea some 18 months ago he made sure that we shared a time of fellowship together. Our families shared a great meal, lively conversation, quiet reflections and laughed together at memories and hopes.

I pray his family will see in death what they frequently failed to see in life. Calvin Brister was a great man. He was a man of faith, a man of humility and a man of honor. I am grateful to have known him in this world and look forward to seeing him again in the next.

We miss you Calvin.


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