East Rochester United Methodist Church

East Rochester United Methodist Church

Eulogy for Lee “Buck” Franklin Gilhart

Todd GoddardComment

September 3, 1933 – April 11, 2018

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

East Rochester United Methodist Church

April 16, 2018




Buck, you fought the good fight

And now the victory is yours.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Rest peacefully, dear friend.


Today, we gather

To remember Buck,

To ease our grief,

To survey our path forward,

To say “thank you” to God for sharing Buck with us.


Buck was born precipitously,

So quickly, he was instantly coined “Little Buckshot.”

Boom! The rest is history.


Buck was a child of East Rochester,

Meeting Margot in the third grade,

Graduating from High School in 1952.

He attended our parish as a child and youth.

He answered our nation’s call to duty,

Honorably serving in the Air Force.

Thank you for your service.


Marriage and family blessed Buck’s life.

A 35-year career with R.G.&E. enabled a good life;

A cottage on the lake,

A motorcycle and sidecar,

Water skiing, campfires, and special projects in the shop or kitchen.


Buck lived by his core values:

Honesty, dependability, strict adherence to the rules.

Being a stickler to rules probably saved his life more than once,

And the lives of his co-workers,

Both in the Air Force and

High up in the bucket fixing high power lines.


“Buck was rough and tough and hard to bluff,”

Margot recently told me,

“But, underneath it all, he was soft.”

Indeed, making Margot breakfast,

Doing the dishes,

Melting in the midst of an expanded family, or

Simply watering the gardens outside the church front door on hot summer days,

All gave evidence to Buck’s softness,

His love,

His heart.


“How are you doing?” I’d often ask when I’d stop in to visit.

“Oh, I’m getting by,” he’d reply. “Day to day.”

I knew the pain he was in and the suffocating nature of his heart disease,

Which just about killed me.


A few days ago I asked Buck to look me straight in the eyes.

I suggested to him that instead of living one day at a time,

That perhaps this was the time to start thinking about living by faith;

Drawing deeply from the stockpile of faith

Upon which he had built his life.

“Hum,” he responded. “I’ll have to think about that.”


Indeed, Buck made the spiritual development of living day by day

To living by faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ;

His promise of forgiveness,

His promise of resurrection and eternal life.

Today, the Lord has taken Buck by the hand and welcomed him home.

This is a gift,

We call it grace, and

Grace is the perfected destination of our spiritual journey to God.


It’s a gift that Buck’s sins have been forgiven.

“We’re all good,” our heavenly Father grants at the pardon.

Jesus paid his penalty;

Paying it forward,

For Buck, and every disciple of Christ.

It’s a gift that Buck’s burdens, pain, sickness, and temptation are now ended.

It’s a gift that Buck has been resurrected into eternal glory,

Forever abiding with God.


Today, we thank God for these enormous, generous gifts,

That has now brought Buck home.

Gratitude facilitates our healing,

Eases our mourning, and

Deepens our faith.


Say “thank you” to God

For the gift of his son, Jesus Christ, and

For the gift of Buck, his life, his love, his family, his friends, his church.

Say “thank you” to God

That Buck was able to spiritually grow throughout his life;

From living day by day,

To living by faith, and now

Being redeemed and resurrected into eternal life by God’s grace.


Thank you, God.

Thank you.