Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 21, 2014

A Father’s Legacy

My wife Cheryl and her sister Cindie are eight months apart. God providentially brought them together under one roof to be raised by a loving couple who could not have children of their own. Cindie was adopted first and then Cheryl. Their adoptive parents, Gene and Frances Crane, provided a wonderful Christian home for these girls.

Cindie and Cheryl have always believed that God brought them together because it was His special plan for them to be sisters and to have Gene and Frances as their parents. God gave them to Gene and Frances and also to each another. As sisters, they have shared a lifetime of experiences from childhood to their respective marriages to having kids of their own in the same hospital where they were born and given up for adoption.

I have known Gene and Frances for 36-years. They embraced and welcomed me into their family and have been among the most treasured encouragers in my life. I can’t recall a time when I did not leave their presence more encouraged than when I arrived. They both just have that special knack for making folks feel at home. And, I have learned a lot from Gene about what it means to trust and to wait upon God — no matter what you are facing.

This past Thursday morning, Gene took his last breath as he slept peacefully in his bed. Cindie called me with the news and then I drove to the school where Cheryl teaches to break the sad news to her. Gene’s health has deteriorated rapidly the past few months and we had hoped he would be with us for one more Christmas. Instead, Gene will spend his first Christmas in heaven this year. We already miss him.

Cheryl and I have been in Corpus Christi for the past few days to help Cindie with all of the funeral arrangements. We are spending every spare moment with Frances and have done lots of reminiscing. We are fortunate that our every remembrance of Gene is good. We have looked at hundreds of family photos and Gene is smiling in every one of them. That’s no surprise to us. He was a glass-half-full kind of guy who looked for the silver lining in everything.

There are easily a hundred good things that I could write about Gene. However, there are two things at the top of my list that say volumes about his legacy. First, Gene loved Frances. I am a firm believer that one of the greatest gifts that any father can give his children is to love their mother. And Gene loved Frances — no question about it. Married for 68 years, they hardly spent a night apart.

The other thing that I am most grateful for is what Gene invested in the hearts of his daughters. From the day Cindie and Cheryl were adopted to the day Gene died he did something of immeasurable value. He would take his girls by the hand, look them in the eye and tell them how much he loved them and how thankful he was that God had given them to him and Frances. He always believed they were meant to be a family. And he was right.

The greatest gifts that any father can give his kids and grandkids are the kind that moth and rust cannot destroy and that thieves cannot steal. For any child to know they are of immeasurable worth is a gift that can and will sustain them through whatever they encounter on their respective journeys through life. I am also grateful for the words Gene spoke to me when I visited with him at Thanksgiving. “I’m glad you came to see me,” he said. “I sure have missed you. I love and appreciate you.” Thanks, Gene, for loving and encouraging us all. We will miss you.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss Omar, Cheryl and family. May our Lord make His comforting presence felt in the days ahead.

  2. I’m sorry for your family’s loss. Sounds like Cheryl and her sister were chosen by wonderful parents.

    • Thanks, Kim. Blessed to be a part of Cheryl’s family.

  3. So sorry hear this, Omar. Gene sounds like a wonderful man. Glad to hear how he blessed both you and Cheryl. You guys are in our thoughts and prayers.

    • Thanks, Jay. And thanks for your prayers for our family.

  4. Wow. Great words for a great man. May God bless you all as you walk this difficult road. I have walked a similar path.

  5. Omar, we are praying for all of the family. I have some very special memories of Cheryl’s testimony at one of the ladies retreats…she spoke so fondly of her parents~ Please hug her for me.

    • Thanks, Celia. We love you and Steve and are grateful for your friendship and prayers.

  6. My condolences to all of you for the lost of such a great man. And happy for him because he already saw His face and glory.

  7. Very touching words and a lesson to us! Praying for you and Cheryl. May you know the comfort of the Holy Spirit during this time.

    • Thanks, Pastor Robert. We appreciate your prayers. Please give my regards to Rose and the wonderful people at Miracle Center. Hope to see you again in Uganda.

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