A tribute to my brother

As I write this, it is still Hunter’s birthday, October 7. We have a few hours left. I have resisted returning to the family eulogy from Hunter’s memorial service, but it seems appropriate to post it today. You’ll find my notes below. I have added the few extemporaneous comments that were not in my original draft.


11:00 a.m. on September 6, 2019

Introduction

I really don’t want to be doing this today. Who wants to give a eulogy for a 26-year-old? What does one say in times like these? I am here because it is my duty and because the family voted me most likely to string a few thoughts together given the circumstances. 

Please allow me to begin by saying that we should not skip over the tragedy of this scene too quickly. Mark, Betsy, Tricia, Brett, Marylynn, and the whole family loved Hunter. We all had different and special connections with him. Since the accident, we can say with the psalmist that our tears have been our food. 

It is right and good that we should deeply grieve losing Hunter. Hunter was something of a late bloomer, so it seems even more tragic that he should be taken from us at the age of 26. 

Death is the great and last enemy. Cold cynicism seems like an antidote to the pain that we are experiencing, but cynicism is an admission that death has won and that we’re just running out the clock in this life.  

No. Even on this side of his return, God can use death for good. For example, Betsy, Tricia, and I wouldn’t be here today, and we wouldn’t have spent 20 years with Hunter but for the tragic and untimely death of Mark’s wife and Hunter’s mom, Melissa. As one man said, “the Almighty has his own purposes.”

Please allow me to say a few words about Hunter’s life, and I will close with a statement about our only comfort and assurance in this sad world. Much of this will be review for most of you, but repetition is a memory aid. 

Early Life

Hunter Edward Boss was born to Mark and Melissa Boss. He was the hoped for and treasured son. Mark always said that he wanted to name his boy Wolfgang, but Hunter stuck. Edward was a family name, going back to Hunter’s great-grandfather.

In a few short years, that family unit would face its own tragedy. 

Mark and Hunter endured Melissa’s illness and death together. That was an experience that would change the course of their lives. From the start, Hunter’s path would not be the normal one. Hunter loved his mother Melissa, and I know that he thought of her often. He kept pictures of her and mementos to keep her presence near to himself. 

Though I remember seeing Hunter riding my bus to West Side Christian School, I didn’t really know Hunter until Mark and Betsy started dating. I can tell you that it wasn’t love at first sight for the kids. 

I would often babysit Hunter. Tricia, Hunter, and I would ride Razor scooters and play roller hockey in our unfinished basement while our parents met off-site to evaluate a family merger. Tricia may have locked herself in a bathroom or two in protest.

Hunter was a sweet boy who, believe it or not, enjoyed being the center of attention. He had an outgoing personality, poofy hair, a memorable smile, and a cute, high-pitched voice. 

Hunter, Mark, and I enjoyed playing a Nascar video game. Mark and I had to wait to win a race until after Hunter went to bed. Hunter also won every family mini-golf outing. Like a certain North Korean dictator, Hunter would declare that many of his strokes didn’t count; thus achieving impossibly low scores. He never grew tired of the winning. 

At an early age, Hunter developed strong interests in boyish activities and enjoyed all that Camp Roger had to offer.

WSCS – GRCHS

Hunter had a mixed relationship with West Side Christian. He loved some teachers at West Side, and he had some, let’s call it, incompatibility issues with others. Hunter had a special relationship with science teacher Brian Dyk. 

Even at a young age, Hunter was his own person. He didn’t play sports or engage in other activities just to fit in. 

We rode dirt bikes together. Hunter was notoriously careful and painfully deliberate when riding in the backyard, on the trails, and at the track. 

As Hunter grew older, he became Mark’s mini-me. On family vacations, Hunter and Mark would sport the same safari hats, survival kits, and pocket knives, which would occasionally get them into trouble. Once Hunter purchased a pocket knife on a cruise excursion, which resulted in an awkward reboarding of the ship. Mark and Hunter also shared a similar palate. Family dinners often had the Mark and Hunter approved ultra bland options. 

Hunter had a rag-tag group of friends in high school. Hunter would keep a small, close circle of friends throughout his life. 

I can’t remember the exact number, but Hunter scored a 30 or higher on the ACT, which was easily the highest score of the family. Hunter was also admitted to the most prestigious school, Kettering University, to study mechanical engineering. 

College

Hunter met good friends at Kettering University, but he didn’t have many positive things to say about the rest of it. I enjoyed reading Jake’s memory of Hunter on the lifestory website, which included a comment about how Hunter and Jake played video games in the back of the room during their humanities class. That sounds right. I was never able to win Hunter over to the humanities. I also remember hearing stories of Hunter’s co-op experience at Autocam, which went very well. Hunter was always industriously fixing machines and keeping things running.

I really appreciated hearing the memories that were shared earlier by Hunter’s friends. I am so glad that Hunter had good friends.

Hunter would eventually graduate from Davenport University. I know his graduation day was a proud moment for everyone in the family. Right mom? I will always cherish the picture of us celebrating Hunter’s achievement at six-one-six.

As the older brother, I struggle with the guilt that Hunter likely celebrated my achievements more than I celebrated his.

If Hunter enjoyed a hobby, he went in at 11. Whether it was remote controlled airplanes, sport shooting, or photography, Hunter embraced his passions. Lately, he had taken up building classic Game Boys from parts and designing flashlights. He embodied the adage if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  

Career

Hunter hit his stride and really grew into the shipping role at Professional Metal Finishers. Hunter was supremely analytical and careful. These traits are well-suited to a job that involves painting and moving all manner of heavy, metal objects. 

Mark and Betsy have told me stories of customers, vendor reps, and drivers stopping into PMF to mourn the loss of Hunter. He leaves big shoes to fill at work. 

Hunter was the go-to-guy for so many things: tough jobs at PMF, picking up dogs in shady places for his sister, delivering furniture for his furniture addict sister-in-law behind his brother’s back, setting up the cottage, helping with home renovation or car repairs, cutting open the stubborn packaging at Christmas, taking beautiful photographs, and driving cool motorcycles. 

Marylynn and I last saw Hunter alive when we had the family out to our cottage in Newaygo on August 3. Hunter of course drove his new Suzuki motorcycle up to the cottage. He proudly showed the bike to me, along with all of his latest safety gear and helmet. When it was time for Hunter to leave that evening, I walked to the back of the garage with him. I gave him a hug, and I begged him to be careful. He smiled and said, “of course.” He made it home safely that night. 

We should remember that Hunter was just doing his duty on the morning of the accident. He was simply driving to work. As far as we know, he did everything right. Life is fleeting, and our bodies are fragile. Please be careful. 

Only Comfort

As one observer put it, “happiness leads us into paganism, but suffering leads us to Christ.” 

Our only comfort in moments like this is that Hunter belonged to God in life and belongs to God in death.

The promises that Jesus makes in John 6 are true today. 

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” 

“I should lose nothing of all that he has given me.” 

“[E]veryone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Our blessed assurance is not so much that Jesus is ours, but that we are his. Jesus is our perfect savior, the author and finisher of our faith. And our belief in Christ is enabled by God the Holy Spirit to his glory. Christ’s resurrection is the first fruit of our resurrection. 

Now we have sorrow, but we will see Hunter again.

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