|Friend given a grand finale|
|Friday, November 22, 2013 9:18 PM|
BY STEPHANIE GROVES
After attending The Ohio State University, Jim worked in Washington D.C. In 2011, he was diagnosed with Lupus, which he learned to live with.
“This summer, Jim was working on a Habitat for Humanity house when he started experiencing a lot of back pain,” Annette explained. “Doctors found a large tumor on his spine, which was removed but then grew back even larger within a week of his surgery.”
Jim anticipated that he was not going to survive the cancer and approached Lance on granting his last wishes, which was for his ashes to be put into fireworks and scattered somewhere in the great state of Ohio.
“Jim said to me, ‘Just in case I don’t make it, you’re in charge of the funeral’,” Lance said.
During this year’s 4th of July holiday, Jim was in the hospital and that was where the Browns and all of Jim’s family and friends went to visit him.
“It was his time to wrap things up and say goodbye to everyone,” Lance stated.
A few weeks later, the Browns had the opportunity to see Jim one last time before his passing on July 31.
“He did not want people sitting around in a funeral home,” Lance said.
“He wanted people talking about and toasting his life,” Annette explained.
After some research, the Brown’s found the American Fireworks Company in Hudson, Ohio, who arranged everything including calling and scheduling the Fort Jennings Fire Department to be on hand during the pyrotechnic farewell.
“He was a multi-faceted man and liked all kinds of people,” Annette said. “When they (the fireworks company) asked me about colors, I said ‘use every color’.”
The Browns said that this past Saturday was the first time all of Jim’s family and friends could come together for the celebration of his life — they traveled from Texas, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia.
“Jim made sure we had great weather for the fireworks,” Lance smiled.
“Prior to setting off the fireworks, an employee from the company showed us the 12 shells containing Jim’s cremains,” the Browns explained. “We used Sharpies and wrote messages to Jim on the outside of the shells.”
The Browns said that the experience was awesome and much more than they had ever expected.
People could see the fireworks display — which lasted 11 minutes — from Landeck and Ft. Jennings and of course, off of US 30, where people pulled over to watch and/or sound their horns unknowingly participating in a very unique celebration of an incredible man’s life.