November 19, 2009, the funeral of Ted and Thaddeus Lazowski, Sea Isle City, NJ

When we first met Ted, he was dating Valerie, daughter of our special friends, Fritz and Joan Harz. We were staying in Valerie's house near the beach in Sea Isle City. I had agreed to do some repairs on her house in return for a few days vacation at the beach. Ted came to visit and wanted to take our family to dinner. He asked if we had a favorite restaurant and our three children replied with excitement, "McDonalds!"

Ted was not happy with their suggestion and took us to one of the nicest restaurants in the area for a delicious seafood meal. During the meal, Valerie admired a basket of flowers suspended from the ceiling and said, aren't they pretty! When the waitress came to ask if we had any wishes, Ted said, "How much are those flowers?" The waitress said, "Oh I am sorry, but they are not for sale." Ted responded, "I didn't ask if they were for sale. I asked how much you want for them." Valerie got the flowers and soon thereafter, she got Ted or vice versa.

Thaddeus came later and was a gift of God. He was special from birth and became more special with every passing day. Valerie and Ted had many interests, but Thaddeus had even more. His obituary states:

"Thaddeus loved to learn. He was just honored by receiving an invitation to the Junior National Leader's Conference by the Congressional Youth Leadership Academy for his achievement and leadership ability. He dreamed of attending Annapolis and becoming a pilot. He then wanted to become an astronaut. He loved to fly and was beginning to learn how to be a pilot. He also studied planes and knew almost every military plane ever flown. He was active in NASA camps and attended Kennedy Space Center programs including robotics training. He also received honors at Huntsville Aviation Academy. He loved the outdoors. He skied, surfed, skated, swam, hunted and hiked. His favorite outdoor activities were fishing on his family's boat and sailing in his sunfish. He loved to draw and could tell jokes by the hour. He traveled extensively. He loved going to Germany to see his heritage. He played baseball and soccer in Dennis Township. He enjoyed being part of the Dennis Township Boy Scouts. He played the saxophone and liked 1940's music. Above all he liked to learn about God. He attended Cape Christian Academy's sixth grade and South Seaville United Methodist Church and youth group. He loved to study the Bible and was working on a paper on why the creation theory is not only true, but scientific. If you had the privilege to hear him speak you would have been impressed. He was known for a little salute a sharp "Yes Ma'am" set off by his big smile, freckles and sparking blue eyes."

Thaddeus corresponded regularly with astronauts and when news spread at the NASA Center in Cape Canaveral that Thaddeus had died in a plane crash, three minutes of silence were ordered in his honor. His life's ambition was to be the first man on Mars. He probably begged Jesus for a side trip to Mars on his way to heaven. And I think his request was honored.

This morning, Friday, November 20, we attended the burial service. It was a moving service and several, including the family's Methodist pastor from Seaville, shared some interesting and humorous experiences. Both Ted and Thaddeus often had questions that were not easy to answer. A huge flock of black birds settled in the field next to the cemetery. Valerie turned to me and said, "I asked God to send me a white bird, but he sent a million black ones!" I looked up in the sky thinking that perhaps, somewhere, there might be a white bird. What I and soon everyone else saw, was a majestic bald eagle circling overhead, its white tail and head glistening in the sunshine!

And there are still people who claim that there is no God!