The following is a short piece written by the very talented pastor of Nassau Presbyterian, Dave Davis. I think it is worth the read. And I think your eyes may be opened anew next time you walk through your own town…
"Not too long ago Princeton lost a bit of the fabric of our community. The loss has nothing to do with the dinky, or the hospital move, or consolidation, or the old Merwick site. It was a Sunday a few weeks ago that I received a call from the funeral home asking if one of the ministers at the church could do a funeral on Wednesday at the funeral home for someone who wasn't a member. The funeral director explained that it would be a small service for a man who lived in Princeton his whole life. He was a special needs adult and a familiar person to the streets here in town. His name was Louie, Louie Kiefer.
Louie spent almost every day of his life here in Princeton, with his radio to his ear, sitting on one of his favorite benches, sticking his head in to talk to shop owners, greeting anyone who would speak to him. I met Louie almost 30 years ago now when I was a seminary student working in a men's store across the street. Louie had good days and bad days. Some days his clothes were a bit dirty. He could be a bit scary when saying hi to a child. Louie always asked me when the next church picnic would be, even if it was January. He told me every couple of weeks that he was getting married. As I said at his funeral, students come and go in this town but Louie was always around. Shops come and go in this town, but Louie was always around. Our elected officials come and go, but Louise was always around. Because Louie was part of the fabric of our community and close observers of Princeton would know that something has been missing the last year while Louie was sick.
There were 10 or 12 people at his funeral. Family members, a few friends, another pastor in town, and a few folks who worked at Project Freedom, the group home where Louie lived. 10 or 12 people plus the pall bearers hired for the occasion. Right before the service, I told his sister-in-law Anna Mae about how Louie would tell me he was getting married. She smiled, told me how all the jewelers in town would write down a price for a ring when he would ask, over and over again for years. Then she said, you know he only wanted to be like everyone else. He wanted what everyone else had.
On Easter Sunday I stood before some 1,800 and proclaimed the hope of God's resurrection power. Just a bit more than a week later on a Wednesday, a few minutes after 11:00 over at the funeral home, I stood there before a small congregation. I stood with an open casket at my back and realized anew the power of the resurrection promise. That now somewhere in the gates of heaven among the great cloud of witnesses, in the communion of saints, in the great gathering around the throne of God's grace, there in the everlasting arms of God, Louie is just like every else. And on that day, on Wednesday, time stood still, and I realized that for 30 years here on the streets of Princeton, among the brightest and best, with all the famous folks that you see on occasion, that for 30 years, Louie helped me to see the face of God."