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Remembering Colonel Henry Gariepy

by Bob Docter –

The Army lost its chief “wordsmith”—its most creative and prolific writer—with the promotion to Glory of Colonel Henry Gariepy the other day. He never missed a deadline, including this last one. God, the great publisher in the sky, called him home. As usual, he grabbed the assignment. We’ve all lost a giant who lived among us and shared much with us.

Most people simply called him “Hank”—he was so approachable, so ready to listen, his eyes flashing interest in whatever someone had to say. He was open and friendly—and he always had ideas. None of them ever laid fallow for very long. He was always a couple of projects ahead, each of them designed to encourage readers, students, soldiers, officers of any and all ranks. He was more than generous with his praise, remarkably unassuming in his willingness to help, highly supportive of “the ministry of publishing” and an inspirational speaker and teacher.

He loved God, the Army, his family, writing and people in general. He dedicated his single volume international history of The Salvation Army to his wife, Marjorie, his “companion in life’s journey, ‘the wind beneath my wings,’ partner and editor par excellence of this and all my writing.”

Family was significant to him. He and his wife had four children, a dozen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. He stayed in touch with each of them with regular emails titled “Words to Live By.” In No. 284, he wrote about prayer and work with the advice:

Pray, as if everything depends on God;
Work, as if everything depends on you.

He concluded with the words: “This axiom has been my lifelong motto. Adopt it as your own, for every decision, every challenge and for every project. It will serve you well.”

Prolific writer
In 2007, General Shaw Clifton admitted Gariepy into the Order of the Founder. He cited Gariepy’s “devotion to his sacred calling and his notable, tireless ministry of writing that has inspired and blessed countless others around the world. With more book titles to his name than any other writer in the Army’s history, he has humbly continued though the years of both active and retired service to teach, mentor and influence others for Christ.”

Worldwide, Gariepy is best known for his books. He authored 29 of them including such important works as Mobilized for God, the history of The Salvation Army from 1977-1994; 100 Portraits of Christ; biographies of General Eva Burrows and National Commanders Commissioners Andrew Miller and Israel Gaither. In 2009, he published two important books, Christianity in Action: The International History of The Salvation Army, and Hallmarks, a tribute to Burrows, written as a “festschrift” along with Major (Dr.) Stephen Court.

Powerful friend
He touched countless people—unknown millions with his writing and thousands with the power of his personality.

Major Linda Manhardt, training principle in the Philippines, wrote: “I sit here in tears at the loss of a man whom God used to change my life. My sister and I were two little children from the ghetto of Buffalo when a neighbor took us to a summer camp at the corps where we met the Gariepys. Soon, we were involved with everything and at the corps all the time. During one Sunday Holiness meeting when I was seven, the Gariepy’s daughter and I went to the altar together. I knelt on the wrong side of the altar, and as I knelt the weight of my sins hit me and I was once and for all truly saved. Colonel Gariepy has been my quiet mentor throughout my life. It’s because of his faithfulness that I am in God’s service today.”

Major Stephen Bradley, program secretary in the Southern California Division, wrote: “Working with Colonel Gariepy as National Publications Editor in Chief was a great lesson in disciplined, focused passion. In my four years at NHQ under his leadership, I daily observed the Colonel’s abandonment of himself to the Spirit that impassioned him to excellence, most notably in his writing for The Salvation Army and God’s glory. While he was the most disciplined man I ever met, he was also a great visionary, a brilliant strategist, and yet he always lived’ in the moment.’ He had an open door and a listening ear for people, and was especially encouraging to young people. His love for the Lord, the Scriptures, his family and for the outdoors was inspiring. He had a vast working knowledge of world affairs at every level—political, environmental, economic, spiritual, technological, athletic—which he applied with great aplomb in both his conversation and writing. His drive and passion for writing will be sorely missed.”

Commissioner Jim Knaggs, who will assume the role of territorial commander in the West this June, wrote: “After a lifetime of service to his risen Lord, Colonel Henry Gariepy was promoted to Glory on a beautiful Australia Easter morning. I’ve known the Colonel my entire life and have always known him as a sterling role model and intellectual giant. His wife and family all rise to call him blessed.

Mighty soldier
Gariepy was promoted to Glory on April 3, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Colonel Marjorie Gariepy, his four children—Stephen Gariepy, Priscilla Burgmayer, Kathryn Aber, and Elizabeth Garrett—12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

As Major Diane Boush, retired officers representative in the Eastern Territory, wrote: “Colonel Gariepy was God’s mighty soldier of the cross, saintly disciple of Jesus Christ, follower of William Booth, devoted student and teacher of the Bible, true author in the art of letters, compassionate lover for souls, gentle caregiver of the poor, lonely and sick, friend of friends throughout the world, above all, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”

Photoshopped faith

Photoshopped faith

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To overcome evil with good

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