Jim Alfredson

My dad passed away today...

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My condolences to you and your family, Jim.

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Jim, I am deeply sorry to hear of your loss. I never had the pleasure of meeting your father, but have heard some wonderful stories from Randy. It sounds like he was a strong influence on your love of music and life. Your family will be in my thoughts.

Kurt

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I would also like to offer my condolences to you and your family, Jim.

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The service today was a meaningful one. Music included two of his recorded songs, along with our intro to Tenderly, which I had played on his guitar in the studio.

Jim read to us a very beautiful tribute that he had written for his father. Fit for a king! Literally not a dry eye in the house. One of Jim's sisters read a wonderfully affirmative entry from their father's blog (The Pilgrim Traveler); a fitting close.

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Jim,

So sorry to hear this. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

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The service today was a meaningful one. Music included two of his recorded songs, along with our intro to Tenderly, which I had played on his guitar in the studio.

Jim read to us a very beautiful tribute that he had written for his father. Fit for a king! Literally not a dry eye in the house. One of Jim's sisters read a wonderfully affirmative entry from their father's blog (The Pilgrim Traveler); a fitting close.

Can't add much more to that... Theo's service was blessed with a beautiful day and Jim's well delivered tribute was very moving and insightful for those in the chapel who didn't know Theo that well...

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I hope the website will remain:

http://www.thepilgrimtraveler.com/about.html

I just took a look and felt that a man of great wisdom and kindness was talking right to me. There's lot there to take in.

i particularly like the last phrase that was written on his last blog entry (May 9th): "(to be continued)". AMEN!!

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Here is the obituary that my second-youngest sister wrote:

James Theodore "Jim" Alfredson Jr.

Okemos, MI

Jim died unexpectedly at his home on May 9, 2008 at the age of 67. Born December 6, 1940, he graduated from Perry High School. He served in the U.S. Army before entering a career as a professional guitarist/musician and songwriter. As a young man, he traveled the country extensively playing music, but it was back home in Michigan that he met and married Verna Lou Cogswell. Together they raised seven children and during that time Jim composed the songs of Gabriel's Horn.

Being a father, his schedule as a musician no longer suited him. Jim began an apprenticeship learning how to tune and repair pianos. He quickly learned the trade and created his own business, Calliope Piano Service, which served the greater Lansing area for nearly 30 years. In 1997 Jim's wife of nearly three decades, Verna, died of cancer and he was grief-stricken for several years. It was during this time that Jim composed his dissertation, Under the Sun, which he considers his most important work.

Fortunately, God is great and Jim met another angel on Earth. His second wife, Venecia, loved and cherished him and revived his spirit. Remarried April 24, 2005, Jim spent his remaining years doing what he loved: being a father to his children and Papa to his grandchildren, playing guitar, reading theology and philosophy, writing his journals, managing his website and blog (www.thepilgrimtraveler.com), cooking, tending to his plants, listening to birds, and watching the sky.

His father, James Theodore Alfredson Sr. and his first wife Verna preceded Jim in death. He is survived by his mother, Doris Himebaugh of Mt. Pleasant; his wife, Venecia Burner-Alfredson of Okemos; his eight children: Jennifer Alfredson of Holt, Shelly (Matt) Jones of Owosso, Sarah (Steve) Case of White Lake, James (Alison) Alfredson III of Lansing, Justin Michael Alfredson of Lansing, Julianna (Shawn) Shaltry of East Lansing, Jessica (Eric) Alfredson of Lansing, Natalie Walsh of Lansing; and six grandchildren: Alexander, Kevin, Zora, Sophia, Lucy, and Stella. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91. Jim was a spiritual teacher who believed that simple faith is the foundation of inner peace and security, of the love needed to continue. His words, beliefs and teachings will forever stay with us in his absence. Jim will be deeply missed, and never forgotten, by all who knew and loved him.

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And here is my tribute to him that I read today at the service.

A tribute to James Theordore Alfredson Jr

First, let me speak for the family and extend our thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from everyone. I would especially like to thank those in attendance today. It would please Dad immensely to know how much he was admired and loved. For a man who proudly had an air of solitude around him, he had many people who loved him and he never failed to make a lasting impact on the people he met.

Just this past December, I attended the funeral of the patriarch of my wife’s family, her grandfather, Mr. LeRoy Henry. It was at this very funeral home, in this very room, in fact. As I sat in the audience watching the tears stream from the faces of LeRoy’s children, listening to them speak so proudly of their father, and sharing memories of his life and work, I could not help but contemplate my own father’s passing. I thought about how I would cope with his death, what I would say about the man and his life, and how large his presence loomed in my life and the life of our family.

I did not think I would have to face his death so soon.

My Dad was a good father. Above all else he loved his family and held a special, unconditional love in his heart for all his children. He guided us with a firm, but gentle hand. He did not burden us with expectations, other than that we love each other and be honest at all times. He did not force us into careers or shove us into churches or demand we attend higher education or use guilt to make us fulfill some dream of his that he never achieved. He instead let us become who we are, on our own terms and at our own pace, and he reveled in our differences. I remember him telling me over and over when I was a little boy that there was no one in the world like me, there would never be another person like me, that my mind was my own, and that I was unique. He let us think for ourselves and learn for ourselves and make mistakes for ourselves, always ready to answer any questions or help at any time us if we lost our step.

He was a strong-willed man. He was an extremely stubborn man. He lived his life on his own terms. He loathed poor workmanship and respected quality craftsmanship. He did not value money. He worked very hard and considered hard work a blessing. He loved to work with his hands. He liked boxes. He was a voracious reader and considered himself a philosopher. He loved nature and birds. He never did anything half-way. I remember back at the farm when he suddenly got into wind chimes. He brought home one set and the next thing we knew the entire porch was blocked by hundreds of hanging wind chimes, creating a wild, wind-powered chorus of atonal anarchy… which he thought was fantastic!

He loved writing words and writing music. He loved playing the guitar, but he always told me he was a frustrated organist. He was thrilled when I found the instrument on my own and he always supported my music. I owe my music to him.

I will be honest and admit we had some dark times. He had demons with which he fought, usually using the wrong means to combat them. He could be irritable, cranky, and sometimes downright mean, especially in the mornings. But I understand now that he was fighting with alcoholism, a disease which can turn a man against those he loves. He was not always himself, for a long time.

When Mom died, his grief was so great we all feared he would not make it. His demons seemed to be winning the battle a bit more everyday. He lost himself in the bottle. The pain of her death hit him so forcefully that it seemed impossible for us to console him, especially since we were all dealing with the sudden loss ourselves. For awhile, the family seemed irreparably fragmented.

But the strength of the family prevailed. The past few years of his life saw him happier and more peaceful than ever. I told my wife many times that he was like a changed man, but really I think he had uncovered and returned to his real self. That kind, gentle, funny, charismatic and handsome self that my mother fell in love with all those years ago. I place the credit for his transformation solely on Venecia and her immense love for him. Without her, he would never have lived to see his grandchildren. He would never have reconciled with his mother. He would never have achieved a life so happy and so content. With Venecia’s help, he finally faced his demons and he won. I thank you, Venecia, from the very bottom of my heart for what you gave to my father and to the family through your love and commitment. You gave us all a real second chance. You are and will always be an integral part of this family.

Now that he is gone, we siblings must trust in the knowledge that he gave us to guide us through the rest of our lives. We can’t pick up the phone and call him for advice. We can’t come over and sit with him in the office or on the back porch. He won’t be there, smiling as he answers the door. He won’t show up, unannounced, to have lunch and see the kids. He will no longer be at the table for Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas.

But I believe that he will always be with us and within us, if we take heed of his legacy:

Practice the simple faith.

Don’t worry about the small stuff.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Belief creates; doubt destroys.

Love overcomes all.

And all is as it should be.

I’d like to end with a few short quotes from Dad’s blog.

“I have always appreciated those of us who dare to take a chance, to follow their dreams, even though the rest of the world thought them crazy. I am such an individual, not nearly as successful as [others], in a worldly sense, but, in my own way, I am. My life has been full and varied, interesting, rewarding, and of great value to me. I enjoy being here, now. I take time to smell the roses, as it were, and love my life to the fullest. I hope you also take time to listen to the birds, smell the sweet breezes, feel the rain on you face: all is good and as it should be. Don’t waste your short life listening to the bummers: they are all on an elevator that is forever going down. Push the ‘up’ button and find ultimate beauty and meaning in what, who, and where you are.”

“Follow your dream and don’t let anyone relieve you of it: it’s yours and yours only. Never follow anybody else, don’t take what they offer, don’t believe their lies. Trust your inner being: you know more about yourself than anyone else in the universe.”

“Life is now and that’s all it is. Better get with it before it’s gone.”

May you rest in peace, Dad. We will always love you.

James Theordore Alfredson III

May 13, 2008

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Thank you to everyone for your posts. I really appreciate them. I will be taking a few days away from the computer to be with my family, to work on my house, and to internalize and digest this event the best I can.

Here's a picture of my dad that embodies him in so many ways.

post-2-1210737516_thumb.jpg

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thankyou, Jim, from the bottom of my heart for sharing this very special time with us. it is very generous of you and i know it is very much appreciated by all of us.

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thankyou, Jim, from the bottom of my heart for sharing this very special time with us. it is very generous of you and i know it is very much appreciated by all of us.

What she said, word by word, thanks.

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What you wrote was beautiful Jim....

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Jim,

My name is Jason Kennedy. Please let me express my heartfelt condolenses to you and your family. I was saddened to hear of your dad's passing. Your dad was my piano tuner over the last few years, and had also tuned the piano for my wife's family while it was in their possession for a period of time. I always enjoyed talking with him as he worked. He first told me about your band and how excited he was about your prospects, as well as the work you have done with Root Doctor. Only after hearing your debut played on The Jazz Spectrum did I truly come to understand that excitement, and I've been a fan of Organissimo ever since. I remember when he was telling me about the demo's you had made for your last album and how he thought the tracks Tenderly and Peaches en Regalia really stood out from the rest. I'll miss not getting his call this year for another tuning.

Your dad was proud of the work that you have done and I'm sure is happy knowing that you are have accomplished your dreams. Cherish the memories that you have, for he will always be with you as long as you keep his memory alive.

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I didn't see this thread. All my thoughts are with you, Jim. I am so sorry to hear your sad news.

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Jim, those tributes from you and your sister were very heartwarming. Thank you for sharing them. Your dad sounds like an extremely wise and inspirational man. I can only hope that I'm passing on that kind of legacy to my own son.

Thanks also to Larry for posting the link to Jim's dad's blog.

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Jim, sorry it has taken me so long to post here, a little bit of selfishness is involved, as the whole association of this thread is very painful for me - suffice for me to say that I feel for what you are going through, though I will say, and I hope it helps, that you are especially lucky for the fact that he got to know your kids. I think you'll find that, especially for them, the association will be quite lasting and meaningful; both of my parents died, let us just say, of "un-natural" causes and neither really knew my kids, and this has remained a deep and lasting regret. True to the old cliche, time does heal the wound significantly. And to grab another (probably un-helpful cliche) it is part of that inevitable cycle of life. I always try to put myself in the place of the deceased, and if you do this you ll probably see that he understood and appreciated you and would have wanted you to be at peace with both his life and your own -

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Thank you again to everyone who has chimed in. I really appreciate the support. I have felt my dad's presence quite strongly this week. I am extremely sad, but I am trying to remember the great relationship he and I shared.

I picked up some of his tools today. I have two jobs that were already on the books that I need to finish for him. I then need to write a letter to his clients and let them know I am continuing the business. I just hope I can do it as well as he did.

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Dear Jim,

My deepest, heartfelt condolences on the loss of your dad.

Marla Kleman

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Jim, and those who knew Theo, thank you for this glance into the life of a true individual. My sincerest condolences to everyone who knew Mr. Alfredson.

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I'm very late in posting to this thread (long story), but I also want to offer my heart-felt condolences.

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I picked up some of his tools today. I have two jobs that were already on the books that I need to finish for him. I then need to write a letter to his clients and let them know I am continuing the business. I just hope I can do it as well as he did.

Not to be maudlin or anything, but see, I know that money's been tight from just gigging, and now, here the man has left you with a gift, a craft, that you can use to better help provide for your family while at the same time kinda "walk with him" on every job.

I'm telling you man, love is a gift, a blessing. Treat it as such and the rewards never stop coming. And just think, now you've got the chance to "pass it on" to your family. That's a beautiful thing!

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I picked up some of his tools today. I have two jobs that were already on the books that I need to finish for him. I then need to write a letter to his clients and let them know I am continuing the business. I just hope I can do it as well as he did.

Not to be maudlin or anything, but see, I know that money's been tight from just gigging, and now, here the man has left you with a gift, a craft, that you can use to better help provide for your family while at the same time kinda "walk with him" on every job.

I'm telling you man, love is a gift, a blessing. Treat it as such and the rewards never stop coming. And just think, now you've got the chance to "pass it on" to your family. That's a beautiful thing!

definitely my thoughts as well. gave me goosebumps, in fact!! and your father's clients will be so very happy (and grateful) to welcome you, i'm sure.

Edited by ValerieB

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