Philip W. Charlwood, 95, of St. Louis, MO died on Thursday, September 4, 2003. He was born October 12, 1907 in Marissa, Illinois. The son of Alfred Charlwood and Mary Poehner Charlwood, he married Caroline Virginia Mueller on January 6, 1938.
He was preceded in death by his wife Caroline on January 10, 1987, his parents Alfred and Mary, and his six brothers and sisters: Theodore, Lilly, Fred, Alma, Dorothy and Robert. He is survived by his daughter, Carol Block, son-in-law Donald Block and two grandsons, Jeff and Mike Block. He was loved and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
Philip was a member of Bridgeton Lodge #80 AF&AM, as well as several other civic and fraternal organizations. An avid gardener, he was a charter member of the Ritenour Men’s Garden Club of Missouri, where he won Master Gardner awards and many ribbons for his flowers and vegetables throughout the years. He retired in 1972 after 40 years at Wagner Electric as a Journeyman Millwright.
This was his obituary; Philip Charlwood was my grandfather. Here’s what I wrote about him the day after his death three years ago…
For most of his life, my grandfather’s been bitter and somewhat angry at the church (which has represented God to him), because he felt he was robbed of the life he deserved. For several years now, my family has been praying for him and sharing the gospel, hoping that as he aged, the Lord would soften his heart and wait to take him until he gave up his bitterness and found peace in Christ.
As many of you know, grandpa was hospitalized 3 weeks ago (while I was away on business in Dallas) after a stroke left parts of his face and throat paralyzed. Both his speech and his ability to swallow were impaired, forcing the doctors to put a feeding tube in his stomach, because he was unable to swallow food without getting it into his lungs.
On Monday, August 18th, I talked with my mom (grandpa is her dad) about the urgency in speaking with grandpa about his spiritual life. I feared we were running out of time, knowing that I couldn’t get to them until Sunday (6 days later). Mom wanted to talk with him, but it’s so hard for her, so I prayed for her on the phone and left her to that task. That night at 3AM, for seemingly no reason, grandpa was moved from his
single room to a room with a roommate. When mom came in the following morning and prayed for grandpa, his roommate heard, came over to the bed, and asked a number of direct questions about grandpa’s spiritual state. After clearly outlining the gospel and the cost of discipleship, grandpa’s roommate asked if he wanted to pray with him to receive Christ. He did.
After decades of stubborn independence and countless prayers from those who loved him, I can testify anew that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) And by that afternoon, the roommate God had sent to my grandpa had checked out of the hospital. He wasn’t even grandpa’s roommate for 12 hours. We don’t even know his name. For all we know, he was an angel.
So, at 11:20AM, August 19, my 95 year old grandfather “came to repentance”. God kept His promise. I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed that the Lord would not let him die without knowing him. God is
After visiting him here in St. Louis last Monday (when I got back from Dallas), I had called the hospital’s Pastoral Care department, and asked if they would meet with him regularly to pray with him and read to him
from the Scriptures. I knew he probably hadn’t heard more than the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s prayer for longer than I’ve been alive.
So, for the last two weeks, a wonderful Chaplain named Jenny has been meeting with him almost every day to pray with him and open God’s word to him. She reported to me yesterday that he’s even been asking for her
to do so.
Faith and I were on vacation (with the Nenn’s) over Labor Day weekend. We found out Wednesday (9/3) that grandpa had taken a turn for the worse, and that he was in bad shape. Mom spent all of Wednesday night by his side, just recalling memories of him in her own mind, praying and holding his hand. Yesterday morning (Thursday), Faith and I came down to St. Louis to be with him again. He seemed somewhat better, and had a couple wonderful visits — one yesterday afternoon with my parents, and another with just Faith and I last night. What I wanted to tell him most was that he was loved. We did.
Last night, at 11PM, the call came. Grandpa had died. Of course, we were and continue to be sad. Mom and dad have been gone all day making arrangements. We had just gotten the family Bible out for Faith to sign as the newest addition to the family, and the same day mom wrote a second date by grandpa’s name.
But I’m writing you all this not just to tell you that he’s no longer with us, but to focus on God’s faithfulness in that he waited so patiently until He could make sure that grandpa’s leaving us meant to be immediately with Him. So, in the midst of sadness, it means everything that grandpa is finally resting with God. No more bitterness. All the years he thought he wasn’t living the life he wanted have ended, as he now lives the life for which he was created. And finally, he has begun eternally to do what he was so reluctant to do all of his earthly life — to walk with Jesus. And my heart aches with joy, knowing that I will be with him again. I have to wonder if he’ll tell all the same jokes in heaven that he told here. 🙂