In their book, Launch Your Encore, Hans Finzel and Rick Hicks talk about how retirees are “younger” in body and spirit and more active than ever. Those in their 60’s to 80’s are laying aside their positions of authority and taking up places of influence. They are using their experience and wisdom to have powerful impact and possibly their greatest contribution ever.
Kingswood University lost such a person recently. On July 16, Dean Edgett of Moncton, New Brunswick, passed away after battling cancer for several months. While he loved people and worked hard all his life, his last years deeply impacted staff, students, and friends of Kingswood University.
“His death leaves a huge hole in our hearts,” said Dr. Stephen Lennox, Kingswood’s new president. “Dean and his wife, Elizabeth, have been loyal supporters to Kingswood for decades. They loved students, serving as surrogate parents to many. They gave generously of their time and other resources. They also encouraged others to give as well. Literally, hundreds of people know about and loved Kingswood because the Edgetts loved them.”
Born in 1941, Edgett spent fifteen years with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a photographer then as a Master Corporal. Afterwards, he began a long and successful career as a sales representative with Kenworth Trucks and Allstate Insurance.
Over the last 25 years, the Edgetts traveled for Kingswood University, raising thousands of dollars for scholarships, renovations, and new construction. In May, Kingswood named the faculty office building Edgett Hall in honour of their significant contributions on the life of the university.
The retired businessman used every opportunity to enjoy life and make new friends. As Edgett traveled with the university chorale, he and his wife would become attached to the “kids” of Kingswood. They loved them and often took them under their wing.
Kingswood alumnus Chelsea Gallant (’08) from PEI will always remember the time when she was extremely homesick during a summer ministry experience.
“One sunny afternoon a little gold Acura showed up in the driveway of the house where I was staying, and I was whisked away for an afternoon of ice cream, fellowship, laughter, a few tears, and much love,” recalls Gallant. “I remember returning that evening with my heart full and in awe of how God would use this dear couple to take time out of a busy schedule just to minister to the heart of a lonely Island girl that they had just come to know.”
Many others, both students and supporters, young and old, have similar stories. They often received encouraging notes and funny little videos or photos. But they could always count on a beautiful ending to each note with the words, “U R Luv’d, D&E.” Dean Edgett positively impacted their lives.
“As one of his many ‘kids,’ the loss that I am feeling by his death is such a small piece of the legacy of the love he leaves behind,” says Laura Harris, also of Moncton. “I am so grateful to have been on the receiving end of Dean’s jokes, hugs, knowledge, and love. When you touch as many lives as he did, you can’t help but live on through them.”
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
May I encourage you, don’t let age stop you? Make a difference in someone’s life today.
To read the obituary for Dean Edgett, click here.