Dr. G.W. (Bill) Abersold, a columnist at IECN for over ten years familiarly known as Doc, passed away suddenly on March 9, 2020. He was 92 years old. Doc was a devoted husband to Stella, to whom he was married 22 years and considered the love of his life, and loving father to eight children (five of whom are step children but loved as his own), 25 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.
Doc took great delight in existence and believed that life was truly worth living with all the promise, hope and humanity it had to offer. Doc had an insatiable curiosity – to learn about places, people and things. He enjoyed conversing with strangers, fascinated by tales of their journey through this life. Doc had a penchant for humor, he believed that it was good for the soul and contributes to longevity. Dr. Norman Cousins was an influential mentor.
The attitude Doc embraced was never to quit and never accept failure. He lived by the proverb, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one,” and, “Live each day as if it was your last; but plan each day as if you were going to live forever.”
Doc pastored at Highland Congregational Church for 22 years, earned a Ph.D. in Humanistic Psychology and served as a therapist for 60 years. Since retirement he had authored 25 books. He was an avid traveler, and particularly fond of South and Central America, especially Panama – primarily because he lectured on cruise ships 15 times while going through the Panama Canal.
Doc is very much missed by his IECN family and the scores of readers who looked forward to his weekly inspirational, spiritual and insightful columns often presented from a theological perspective.
In a previous column Doc noted three objectives in his weekly articles: Inform readers of a topic not commonly known, inspire, and to agitate. Below is Doc’s final article – he passed away before he could finish it:
This article is the result of an article that was read to me by my wife Stella on January 21, 2020 in the magazine The Week titled “Learning to Accept Your Decline.”
I had to make a decision whether I wanted to live, or to quit. Or survive.
I’m currently 92 years old as of September 27, 2019. And my decision is, I want to live.
In spite of adverse situations in my life I firmly believe that I have contributed to societies betterment.
At approximately 7:30 AM on New Year’s Eve I fell off of a bench and landed on a concrete floor. I was picked up off the floor by a giant of a man whose name I do not know. I was able to walk on my own with the assistance of Stella to an appointment with Dr. Yap, a foot doctor. He cut my toe nails and recommended I go to the Urgent Care.
Upon arrival they took my vitals and I was examined by a physician who told me my spine was in good condition. He gave me a shot and told me to go home and take Tylenol.
The next two days were total misery. The pain was severe. I was confined to my recliner and slipped further and further to the bottom of the chair. I had to be lifted back up into the chair.
Then I fell backwards in the hallway of our home. Stella called 911. The paramedics said I had to go to emergency. There they took a CT Scan and X-rays. They found I had a fractured vertebrae. From Emergency to Plymouth Village Care Center, where I have been ever since.
My life since then has involved several mundane activities. One is eating. Two is submitting myself to physical therapy. Sharing time with my roommate, James. Well wishes from visitors. Visits from Stella and daughter Debbie. Sleeping and dealing with pain.
Along with these, I’ve had to deal with despair, delusion, and despondency. Along with these I contemplated my future. The questions that I posit ends now. I’ve recognized life has been great and wonderful.
I’m a Christian believer; I have a doctorate in religion; Ph.D. in Behavioral Medicine and Humanistic Psychology. I pastored several churches successfully. I have been a minister in Nazarene, Methodist and Congregational churches. I have published 25 books and have published several scores of newspaper articles.
I’ve been married three times, but the third one is with the love of my life, Stella Holevas Parker. We have been married 22 years. I have three lovely daughters. In my marriage with Stella I received the benefit of five step children. Three sons and two daughters. Their father passed away and I became their stepfather. They treat me as their natural born father. That gives me eight children.
In recent years I have been confronted with a serious set of infirmities. The Sunday before Thanksgiving I fell three times which involved my right leg. A boot was needed on my right leg along with a series of treatments.
Following this on New Year’s Eve I fell at the YMCA gym. I fell off of a seat and fell 3 feet onto the concrete floor on my back. This caused the fractured vertebrae. This necessitated several days in the hospital.
All of these ailments have precipitated several questions in my mind about my future destiny. Do I live in life at near end or not?
In the book of Psalms, the Psalmist David referred to three score and ten years as our end of life. Yet in Genesis Chapter 6 verse 3 it refers to allotted years as being 120 years.
In addition to these thoughts I am plagued with the thought of which one of these ideas, brink of death or how many years do I have.
For instance, Henry Ward Beecher, is recorded as saying, “God asks no one if they will accept life. That is not our choice. Our choice is what we make of the time we have.”
It seems to me the significance of this is the responsibility is ours.
In reflecting upon this issue there are two basic viewpoints that come to my attention. The first is, “The challenge of living is to be present in everything we do, from making bread to making love.” The second one is from the book of Malachi Chapter 6 verse 8. “God requires of us 3 things, exercise justice, cherish loyalty and to walk humbly with your God.”
Obviously, these comments are very applicable for today. From the New Testament come the provocative words…
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