Phil Ransdell rites a ‘wonderful sendoff’

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It was a beautiful autumn day ideal for a funeral and a burial in a remote countryside location.  We noted attendance was all close relatives.  Since the cemetery was located not too far from Campbellsburg where our farm is, we elected to be one of the ten vehicles in the funeral procession from Bedford.

 Phil had requested his body be buried beside the grave of his grandfather in the Turners Station cemetery.  We had never been in this cemetery before.  It is located on the top of a tree-studded hill along the railroad tracks.  The gravel road up the hill was steep.  Evidently the hearse driver had never been up this hill before.

 With the ten vehicles strung upwards on the gravel road suddenly all movement halted.  Then the signal was passed down backwards for all following vehicles to back up to the bottom of the hill.  Since we were the last one, we backed up clear across the railroad tracks.  We could barely see the hearse finally spinning gravel as it succeeded in navigating to the top.  The following cars had little trouble with the loose gravel.

 The setting for the burial plot was worthy of a Hollywood movie of the highest caliber.  From the vista one could see various fall colors down below and along the railroad tracks.  Surrounding the grave were two huge burr oaks.  The green tent was large enough to seat most of the relatives.  Three US marines in dress uniforms performed the duties of bugler and flag folders.

 The bagpiper began his rendition of “Amazing Grace” near the gravesite and finished it minutes later as he walked slowly farther up the hill. One of Phil’s sons announced a granddaughter could not be present but he had recorded her rendition of a violin solo, which he played from his laptop.

 Carl Rucker officiated.  He had served all the local communities in the role of preacher and teacher.  He knew some of our local neighbors plus relatives in Henry County.

 Phil had two sons and one daughter. Son Chuck introduced us to the relatives.  He said he lived in Maryland and worked in Intelligence for the National Security Agency.  I told him how I used to have a top secret ESI clearance rating because of intelligence related duties.  He had never heard of ESI (Extremely Sensitive Information) and pronounced it an obsolete term.

 Jean and I were so thankful we made the effort to attend both the funeral service and the graveside rites.  We will always remember this wonderful sendoff of Phil to his heavenly rewards.

Bob Stewart