Last Saturday was like any other Saturday for our family. I went to work in the pharmacy for a few hours. Greg, our 11 year old daughter, and Dad Cassidy went to the two flea markets in town. They do that every Saturday, no matter what the weather.
They picked up lunch at KFC and ate at home with Greg’s mom. Everything was totally normal. He seemed happy as ever. He has had some health issues in recent years, but had them under perfect control. He had not been sick or complaining of any problems.
Forty minutes or so after Greg got home, his mom called and said, “Dad’s sick. Y’all need to come.” I got in my van right away and drove to their house, which is just around the block from us. Greg followed me a minute later.
Dad Cassidy had told her he felt nauseous. She had asked about calling 911, but he thought he would be okay, that it was just indigestion.
When I got there, he wasn’t breathing. I couldn’t find a pulse. I got a neighbor and he and Greg got his dad to the floor so I could start CPR until the paramedics arrived. Seven first responders worked feverishly on him for over 45 minutes but – he was gone. Just like that – in the blink of an eye – he “stepped out into eternity.” (He often used that phrase in his gospel presentations as he encouraged people to be prepared because we never know what moment may be our last.)
It was his appointed time for him to go home to see his beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, face-to-face on August 4, 2018 around 1:45pm.
His funeral is Tuesday, August 7, at 3:00pm.
It’s been quite a shock to all of us that he is gone so suddenly. We are sad. We miss him already so much! But how we rejoice because we know where he is – singing and praising the Lord in heaven with so many other believers in Christ who have gone on before that he loved. We can’t possibly be sad for him. But whew! This part is hard.
We are confident that the Lord will sustain us and we will also seek to help each other through this time of grief. Things are going to be very different for all of us who are left behind. Especially for Greg’s mom, but also for Greg, and for our children.
Greg was extremely close to his dad and so were our kids. Greg’s parents have always watched our children when I work in the pharmacy one day per week. And most Friday nights, they like to sleep over at their Cassidy grandparents’ house.
Dad Cassidy has been a pastor for over 54 years and he and Mom Cassidy would have had their 55th wedding anniversary later this month. They had such a strong relationship. How thankful we all are for them both!
We were not prepared for him to leave us that day. But he got to spend his last day doing things he loved with people he loved. He didn’t miss one Sunday in the pulpit and was active up until his very last moments. That is definitely the way he would have wanted things. We are so thankful he didn’t suffer very long.
Dad Cassidy bought a used Bible for $1 a few hours before he passed and told Greg about his plan for his sermon the next day. He highlighted Daniel 12:2-3 as his text:
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
He also happened to buy 6 boxes of Kleenex. They were a great deal. Three for $1. His family will be putting these tissues to use in the coming weeks as we grieve, as we reminisce, and as we celebrate the life of this man we all loved so dearly. And we will also meditate on the passage that he planned to use in his lesson the next day that he never got to teach. What a fitting passage.
Dr. Pete Cassidy touched thousands and thousands of lives with the gospel and the love of Jesus. He spent countless hours visiting anyone who was sick in his church, helping to take care of maintenance issues at church and at the homes of widows. He was extremely generous toward everyone. He was faithful to the Word of God. He was faithful to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was faithful to his wife and family. And he was a faithful shepherd of every church he pastored.
He always made sure to speak to everyone in the room and had an uncanny ability to remember people’s names and all kinds of information about them – and retain that information for years. He seemed rather baffled that none of us could do quite as well with that. He had a photographic memory and could read a whole book in a few hours and remember everything. Dad Cassidy was active in our neighborhood association and in many city committees. He simply loved the Lord, loved his family, loved his church, and loved his community. Loving people by humbly serving them was his favorite thing to do.
One of the things we all will remember most is his joy. Dad Cassidy was a man who smiled a lot. He loved to tell jokes and stories. He had the most beautiful whistle and was often whistling or singing gospel songs and hymns as he walked or as he worked on projects around the house or at church. He enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest. His was truly a life well-lived.
Please pray for our family and for his current church family as they grieve, as well, and as they search for a new pastor. Pray most of all that the Lord will be greatly glorified in Dad Cassidy’s death and in our family as we seek to shine for Jesus in this time of trial. We long to see many come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord even through Dad Cassidy’s death. There is nothing he would like better than that!