Today I will be attending the Memorial Service for my dear friend Bernie Webb. Through his personal example and his blog, Believing IN Christ Jesus through ALL things, Bernie has positively influenced the lives of countless thousands.
I first met Bernie in December, 1980 when I joined Lanier Business Products as Director of Systems. Bernie became part of the gifted team that developed and implemented Lanier’s first on-line real-time Business Management System (BMS). Bernie would spend the remainder of his career at Lanier and its successors while I spent only fifteen happy and memorable years there.
From the beginning Bernie stood out among many very gifted IT specialists at Lanier. He had a quick and insightful mind and was able to put into clear written form realistic solutions to complicated business problems. He was honest, friendly, respectful and well-spoken. I admired Bernie’s ability to think deeply and his ability to stay calm and on-track under significant pressure.
But what I admired the most about Bernie was that he was a true friend … a friend that cared … a friend that listened … a friend that was sincere … a friend that was a warrior … a friend that loved, lived and shared his faith IN and through Jesus Christ. While we lost contact with each other for many years I learned from a friend that Bernie had contracted colon cancer in 2007. In succeeding years I often received updates on Bernie’s ongoing battle with cancer through mutual friends. Subsequently I began to follow and communicate with Bernie through his blog.
I identified with Bernie’s battle with his cancer as I, too, began to face serious health issues in October of 2010. By 2013 my wife and I moved from our longtime home in Snellville, Georgia, to a community located in Hoschton, Georgia. To my delight Bernie contacted me by email when he found that I had moved to what was now his home town. Our longtime relationship was quickly renewed in the fall of 2013. From that point forward we met almost weekly either in person over breakfast or through in-depth phone calls. We read and commented on each others blogs. Together we chatted, studied, laughed, wept, prayed and encouraged each other. Our love and respect for each other as brothers in Christ grew with each encounter.
I will miss Bernie but I know without question that he is forever in the presence of The Lord where he will spend his eternity. I will continue to pray for his wife Sheryl for his grandson Noah and all of Bernie’s extended family as they deal with their loss. I can almost hear God saying to Bernie “Well done thou good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. (Matthew 25:21)”