In Memorium: Earnest Christian, Exemplary Volunteer
Arnold J "A. J." LeClair (8-7-1947 to 1-18-2018) was one of the best people I have known; a man of remarkable character that was hard won while he battled heart disease and other physical problems. He knew Christ personally.
He was born in rural Maine, one of 13 children. He enlisted in the Marines right after high school, served our country in the Viet Nam conflict. He came home with two Purple Hearts and lasting consequences of exposure to chemical agents. Thank you for your service, AJ!
He settled in Chattanooga, drove big trucks until heart problems and war-related illnesses forced retirement. He helped raise his gifted and godly daughter, and took great pleasure in two grandsons. He drove the church van to pick up kids for our Wednesday evening ministry, and knew how to manage disruption when it occurred. He volunteered generously to the ministry of Touching Grace, sitting for hours attaching the “touchables” within multisensory books and on SmilesUp cards.
To list these few items is merely to describe a bit of what AJ did. More important is to describe who he was.
He was, first and to the end, a follower of Christ with a hunger to know and serve him more fully. As he helped at TG he often listened to teaching CDs or to southern gospel music; he wanted his soul fed. He understood his efforts as part of God’s work on earth, and rightly so.
He was an American patriot. Not a loony, but better—solid in his love and respect for the country he had fought and been wounded for. He valued political freedom because he knew the freedom he found through Christ’s work in his life. He disliked injustice.
He was solid nuts—in the best way—about his two grandsons. I saw admiration, respect, love in their eyes and on their faces when they were with him. It went both directions.
He was a friend worthy of imitating: Never heard an unkind or disrespectful word about others, reliable in duty, persistent at tasks, good natured, shyly affable, not a frequent talker in a group but worth listening to. These are a few reasons he is deeply admired, sorely missed.
He is fully healed now, reunited with old friends and reveling in proximity to our Savior.