A Boy’s Tribute To His Dad

My dad, Raymond A. DeVries, was born on May 14, 1932. He went home to heaven on October 26, 1982. He was 50 years old when he died. I was 17 – a senior in high school.

Today I’ve spent some time reflecting on his life and I can honestly say that I am the man that I am because of the influence that he had on my life. Over the past 28 years I’ve missed him so much. I’ve wished that he could have met my wife – I know he would have loved her and embraced her as his daughter.

And oh how I wish he could know my kids and to have hugged them, and showered them with warmth and love. He would be so proud of them – and believed in them.

He had such an incredible way of doing that – believing in people. He helped me to see that I could pursue my dreams. And in that same way, I’ve tried to help my kids to see that they could pursue their dreams!

On the day of his funeral, I wanted to share a poem called “A Boy’s Tribute To His Dad.” I always regretted that nobody asked me if I wanted to say anything about my dad that day. I wish that I had just volunteered. Looking back on that week now, it is all such a blur. I would have wanted to tell all of the over one thousand people who came that day that my dad was amazing!

There may be other great dads in this world – I’m not going to argue with you about that. However, from my perspective, there’s not a greater dad than mine. I miss him so much!

As a pastor I’ve done many funerals. I always ask the family if anyone would like to say anything during the service. I also offer to read any comments that they might want to share, but can’t. I think it’s my way of making sure they don’t miss out on the opportunity and leave something unsaid.

So today, I’ve decided to let go of my regrets from that day and to share with you this poem that I wanted to read in honor of my dad. I don’t know who wrote it – but I think he says what I’d like to say about my dad.

A Boy’s Tribute To His Dad

Somehow a fellow can’t express

The feelings he has had

The many years he walked and talked

And laughed and played with Dad.


He cannot put in words and love –

The pride that wells within,

The admiration in his heart

Whenever dad looks at him.


Dad is the hero of his dreams

And king upon the throne,

The pattern for that ideal life

Which he would make his own.


He knows that Dad well understands

The conflicts deep within,

And knows the problems he must face

In battles against sin.


The pressure of Dad’s strong hand

The look deep in his eyes,

Speak volumes to a fellow’s heart

When cares of life arise.


And when he kneels with Dad to pray

Before the throne of Grace,

The glory of the unseen world

Illumines all the place.


How could a fellow go astray

Who with his Dad has stood,

Within the secret place of prayer

Before a Holy God.


And this my steady prayer will be

That until life is done,

My conduct here shall honor him

Who proudly calls me “son.”

_ _ _

Thanks for reading the poem and my tribute. I can honestly say that my dad’s prayers with me and for me have marked my life. He was truly a man of God. If I can be like him, and then pass on to my kids my dad’s passion for people, for Jesus, for the church, and for the Bible — they will be truly blessed.

If you are reading this and knew my dad – please take a moment to add your tribute in the comments…


Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
7 replies
  1. Elaine Pollock Culpepper
    Elaine Pollock Culpepper says:

    I remember that day very well. I remember spending that afternoon at your house spending time with Mary and you were on the couch you had been crying you looked like you were in shock. I wanted to say something to you so badly to comfort you but I didn't know what to say. I loved your Dad's smile he was always so warm and kind. And yes I agree he was truly a man of God and he would be so proud of the man you became. I too lost my Mom too early and I will never stop missing her or needing her. But I am so greatful for the godly legacy she left me. I remember your Dad's funeral and I even went to the grave site burial with your family so I could be a friend there for Mary. I remember… that is one of the most profound things I can say. I remember your Dad, I remember the loss, and I remember the grieving and I remember the impact his funeral had for Jesus. I look forward to seeing him again some day along with Mary and my Mom and many other. Praise God we have the promise of eternity with Jesus. I thank God that Ray's life shone so brightly and clearly for Jesus.

  2. Jane Stroebel Gregg
    Jane Stroebel Gregg says:

    Dave, thank you for posting this. I too remember that day like it was yesterday. Such a shock. The thing I remember about your dad was the incredible positive glow that seemed to surround him. I heard at that time that his last words were "What a beautiful day!" or somethign like that…which for me encapsulates the kind of person he was. I do think about him still. He is a great loss but he lives on through you and Tom and all of those whose lives he touched. Thanks!

  3. Kelly Clark
    Kelly Clark says:

    Dave: I remember that LAB didn't tell you about your dad until the end of the day. Have you released that anger too? I remember when Doug turned 17 and thought about you when you were his age and the affect it must of had on your life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your dad. You bring a tear to my eye. Ya know I love all my DeVries!

  4. DaveDV
    DaveDV says:

    Elaine – I was in shock. So glad that you could be there with Mary. I do look forward to seeing them all in heaven.

    Jane – he was definitely a positive person and influence on so many!

    Kelly – I did let that anger go, but not for several years. We love you too!

  5. Carl McArthy
    Carl McArthy says:

    Dave – I remeber that time too. Having just lost my dad too – I remeber the pain you felt and could relate to so much of it. I am glad the Lord has allowed our paths to cross again after so many years. I still hear the pain in your words – but I also hear the healing – of the One who came to heal the brokenhearted. I know that someday – you will see you dad again and embrace him. You will also get to embrace your Lord as well. I cannot wait for that day. I love you brother and thank God that He has used you in the lives of so many. Your dad would be SO very proud of you! Thanks for being vulnerable to post what you did. Carl McArthy

  6. Tom De Vries
    Tom De Vries says:

    Dave –
    Thanks for sharing your heart on this! Certainly share some of those same thoughts and feelings. Many years have come and gone since then, and the foundation of our lives is built on the strength of Dad's character, his faith, and his love for us. Love you too! Tom

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