Loving Memory of
My dear father and a man of God who taught Sunday School at Full Gospel Holiness Church in Canton, North Carolina went home to be with Jesus on May 5, 2005.
Andrew (‘Andy’) Shreve, my father, just went home to be with Jesus: Thursday, May 5th, 2005. He would have been eighty-one this coming September 8th. After struggling with lung cancer for about a year-and-a-half, his body finally succumbed to this devastating disease.
However, Andy Shreve did not die. He merely “passed from death unto life.” (Jn. 5:24) His soul left this world with “the promise of the Father” (the indwelling of God’s Spirit) and the “blessed hope” (the expectation of ultimate bodily resurrection). (Ac. 1:4, Ti. 2:13)
Let me tell you a little bit about his story. After graduating from Gonzaga (a Roman Catholic High School), he went on to serve in the U.S. Navy. He flew PB4Y2 Liberators for coastal reconnaissance, including service in the Hurricane Hunter Squadron (and flew a number of times into the eye of a hurricane to take weather measurements—yes, he had “the right stuff”). This was followed by several years of shipboard duty, culminating with the position of Commander of the USS Meredith, a destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet. His twenty-year career was brought to full circle with distinguished duty at the Pentagon. Then for over thirty years he became a successful small business consultant, specializing in tax matters. Through all of these stages of life, he was a devoted husband and father.
During his earthly sojourn, my father was a man of integrity. He was a man of compassion. He was a man of honor.
Most of all, he was a man of God. As an adult Sunday School teacher at Full Gospel Holiness Church in Canton, North Carolina, he loved to teach God’s Word—especially the book of Proverbs. But he didn’t just teach it; he lived it. He was honest in his dealings with others, full of wisdom and always ready to share his knowledge with others unselfishly. He left the legacy of a life well lived to his four offspring (two daughters, Winnie Jean and Betty, and two sons, Mike and Bob) and five grandchildren (Winnie Kay, Sam, Zoe, Seth and Destiny) who all love him dearly. He is also survived by others who were very dear to him: his son-in-law, Chuck Booker, and his daughters-in-law, Elizabeth Shreve (wife of Mike) and Darlene Cridlin (wife of Bob).
HIS UNIQUE ENCOUNTERS WITH GOD
Dad had a deep love for God, as far as I know, his entire life. He served as an altar boy and at one time even contemplated entering the priesthood (I and my siblings are quite ecstatic that he decided not to walk this road, but to live a married life instead). The spiritual experience that dramatically altered his life happened later in his life, in the early 80s.
After I was born again in 1970, I began fervently praying for my family (believing the promise, “You will be saved…and your household” Ac. 16:31). Soon after, my mother was born again and filled with the Spirit, but it was twelve years later before Dad had this kind of life-transforming encounter with God. And it happened in such a unique way!!!
Dad developed such a severe neck condition that for seven days his head was in a bowed position. He finally checked into Winter Park Hospital. Later on that night, he called me on the phone and said “Mike, you won’t believe what happened to me.” He then proceeded to explain his week-long dilemma, but he went on to tell how God had manifested Himself to him supernaturally. I was in awe as he detailed what had taken place.
He decided since his head was locked into a bowed position, and he was stuck in a hospital room with nothing to do, he might as well pray
(“Subtle hint from heaven, Dad”). So he proceeded to THANK God for every good thing God had done in his life, beginning from his earliest memories. It took him about two hours (I wonder how many people have ever done that). Then he told me, “Mike, I ran out of things to thank God for, so I decided just to PRAISE Him just because He is God!” I thought to myself, “Dad, you may not have known it, but you were exercising a Biblical principle. Psalm 100:4 commands that we “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.”
Dad then excitedly conveyed to me the divine visitation he received,
“While I was praising God, a golden light came the hospital room. Suddenly, the golden color turned into a crimson red—then
the face of Jesus Christ appeared in the light (battered, beaten, bloodied and crowned with thorns) and waves of red light began pouring over me.”
He continued, “I knew I was being bathed in the blood of Jesus and I knew I was being born
again.” For a month after this powerful visionary experience, Dad was often found weeping with gratitude.
Soon after that, he and Mom decided to renew their vows—since they were finally “one in the Spirit.” And guess who they chose to conduct the ceremony? (Yours truly, of course—and in the most unlikely place—a tent meeting I was conducting in Lake Placid, Florida.)
What a privilege it was to remarry my own parents! (I’ve definitely gotten a number of comments on this unique arrangement.)
During that same tent meeting God planned another divine manifestation for Dad. One night he was singing a song about the blood of Jesus. (As I remember, it was “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.”) Suddenly, he had his second vision of the Lord, lifted up on a cross. Three drops of blood fell from the nail-pierced hand of the Lord and struck him on the forehead. When the third drop fell he prayed, “Lord, fill me with Your Spirit” and he immediately began speaking in tongues as the Holy Spirit flowed through him in power. That was quite a night—an unforgettable experience indeed! Of course, this empowerment came to prepare him for ministry later on.
THE DIFFICULT TWO WEEKS
The last two weeks of April (2005)—Dad and Mom called all the children, urging us all to come quickly to Winter Park. He was bleeding profusely from the place where the feeding tube had been inserted (his only means of sustenance for about six months). He was in a lot of pain. He felt like God may call him home at any moment. For about 14 days his bed had been surrounded by those he loved, first in the hospital and then, back at the home on Fifeshire Drive in Winter Park. Some memorable things, even some remarkable things, happened that deserve to be told.
Andrew Shreve with his wife Winnie.
At the hospital, Dad was just overflowing with love toward everyone who came in the room. Several nurses even commented that they wished all of their patients were like him. He was so unafraid of what seemed imminent. (Of course, the Bible explains, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Ps. 23:4)
One day I asked Dad if he wanted me to read the Bible to him. He responded eagerly and said, “Turn to Proverbs 31. I love Proverbs 31.” I began reading this excellent chapter that celebrates “a virtuous woman” and declares “her price” to be “far above rubies.” Dad’s face just glowed. Every chance he got, he broke in with statements like, “That’s exactly like your mother. Or maybe, “I’ve been so blessed to married to someone like that.”
I continued reading, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (vss. 11-12) “Her children arise up, and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her…A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (vss. 28, 30) Then after he embellished the chapter with all kinds of references to Mom, he drifted off to sleep with a look of utter contentment and peace on his face. I was awed. I thought, “Almost anyone else would have asked for some chapter to be read about the heavenly hope waiting in the near future. Instead, he wanted to celebrate the wife of 62 years he was leaving behind.” What a unique man! And what a wonderful woman! And how blessed I am to have parents of such covenant commitment to each other!
THE LAST DAY
The last day of Dad’s life, he knew the time of his departure had come. He asked me with a somewhat distressed look on his face,
“Mike, am I dying?” I couldn’t bring myself to even use that word. I said,
“Dad, you are just beginning to live.” That seemed to be a sufficient answer for him. He fell asleep. Because of the weakness of his body, and the pain-killing drugs, he kept slipping in and out of consciousness. A number of times, things happened that made it clear God was getting him ready for the next world.
My lovable, sweet niece, Winnie Kay (daughter of my sister, Winnie Jean—yes, it is a family name passed down) was standing near his bed. Without warning he awoke out of sleep and startled her with the statement,
“I JUST SAW HIM…AND I TOUCHED THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT!” How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful to imagine what he must have witnessed! Several times he awoke saying,
“Death unto life. DEATH UNTO LIFE, DEATH UNTO LIFE!”
The very last few moments, though, were totally unique. We (Mom and all the children) were gathered around the hospital bed on the back porch where Dad was laying. We were singing along with a tape by Andy Griffith of Gospel hymns (Dad’s favorite tape). The Holy Spirit was so strong in the room. Then Dad’s blood pressure started dropping. His breathing was labored and we knew the time had come. We could hardly feel a heartbeat in his chest. Then the strangest thing happened! But if you are to understand the significance, I’ve got to back up a few years.
Back in the 90’s Mom had crippling arthritis. She was really in bad shape. She could hardly get out of bed. For a long time, she prayed that God would heal her and nothing seemed to change. But then one day, as she lay there, looking outside the bedroom window, a beautiful redbird softly lit on the windowsill. Immediately, the power of God fell on Mom and she was instantly healed. She’s never suffered with arthritis since. From that time forward, the redbird has always been a special sign to her of God’s care, His provision and His power to deliver. In her mind, the color red especially represents the precious blood of Jesus, the price paid for our healing: body, mind, soul and spirit.
Well, as Dad was drawing his last breaths, my sister Winnie gasped,
“Look! A redbird!” It had flown down and was perched in the orange tree in the back yard, just outside of the porch window, not too far from Dad’s bed. We all agreed that it was a sign from above. Then Dad took his last breath and his spirit went back to God. At the very same moment, the redbird took to flight. It was as if God was saying, “I’m taking him home, to a much better place! I am healing him of all his pain.” I have never experienced anything to compare with what I felt that day, especially that moment. Yes, it was terribly sad (as death always is), but it was wonderfully full of God’s personal involvement. What a unique way of testifying of the relationship Dad shared with the Almighty.
The Sign of the Redbird
The REDBIRD came
To take a son home—
The sign of the blood
That washes God’s own.
As he drew his last breath,
And his spirit took FLIGHT,
The cardinal took wing
And flew out of sight.
A spirit of weeping
Fell on those who remained,
A great sense of AWE
Filled the ones who were pained.
How could GOD in His greatness
Choose to speak in this way?
Because He’d done it before
On a notable day—
When arthritis departed
From the suffering wife
The redbird appeared
A SIGN of health and new life.
The connection was apparent
And understood by all.
This was GOD intervening,
And a heaven-sent CALL—
“Come, Andrew, My son
And rise to your rest;
No longer in pain
But eternally BLESSED!”
“You trusted My Word;
And your faith did not waver.
Now join Me in heaven
And live on FOREVER!”
The only way I can sum it up is to say—Dad, the former hurricane hunter, finally reached the eye of another kind of storm and found peace in God. For this we are thankful. But still we miss him deeply.,
“Dad, we plan on seeing you again one day—‘In the Sweet By and
By’. May God help us to live lives of integrity and honesty, just like you did, and be a praise to God in the earth!”
Memorial services will be held at Collison Family Funeral Homes, Howell Branch Chapel, 3806 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, FL 32792, (407) 678-4500 onMemorial Day, Monday, May 30th at 10:00 a.m. Reception will take place afterward at a location to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Central Florida Community Foundation. These donations will add to the endowment fund established there by Winnie Shreve in honor of her entire
family—The Shreve Family Memorial Fund, which will support charitable, religious and educational causes. Donations should be made payable and mailed to
“The Community Foundation of Central Florida,” P.O. Box 2071, Orlando, FL 32802, and include
“Shreve Family Memorial Fund” in the memo section of your check.
"The man made
of dust is the pattern of all men of dust, and the heavenly man is the pattern
of all THE HEAVENLY." (1 Corinthians 15:48 NEB)
Though we, the sons of God, are
still bound to Adam-dust, we can dare to refer to ourselves as the heavenly.
God has made us to "sit together in heavenly places," allowed us to
taste "of the heavenly gift," and daily preserves us unto "His
heavenly kingdom." (Ephesians 2:6, Hebrews 6:4, 2 Timothy 4:18)
"There is one
glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for
one star differs from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is
raised in incorruption.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is
raised in power.
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural
body, and there is a spiritual body.
And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being."
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the
heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the
image of the heavenly Man.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of
God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet
will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on
immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,"
Ephesians 1:3 (NKJ)
died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off
were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and
pilgrims on the earth.
For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God
is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for
Hebrews 11:13-16 (NKJ)
to the Top