Today marks one year later. By God’s grace, peace, and strength, my family and I have made it through the first four seasons without my father. We visited Dad both yesterday and today, reflecting and reminiscing stories of my father.
Sherman Koon Ling Hui, son of Hung-Ying Hui and Yuet Pang, was born on September 10, 1950 in Baoan County, Guangdong Province, China. At the age of four, he immigrated with his family to Hong Kong. He was the oldest of five children. After graduating from the College of Education, he taught at Kei Wah Christian Primary School.
In 1976, Sherman came to the United States and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University. He married his high school schoolmate Josephine in January 1980 in Hong Kong. Later they had two children, Lawrence in 1985 and Laurel in 1989.
Upon graduating with an MBA from Florida State University in 1981, Sherman and Josephine moved to Houston, Texas. There he worked as a Certified Public Accountant. Both Sherman and Josephine came to know the Lord and were baptized on September 8, 1985.
As a born again Christian, Sherman was devout in his faith. Whether in Texas, or after moving to California in 1986, Sherman always found ways to serve the church body. He actively pursued a life that reflected his gratitude for salvation, and his roles in church included serving as a Sunday school teacher, church accountant, and deacon board member. A scholar by nature, he earned a Master of Divinity from Western Seminary in 2001.
Sherman loved sports, music, singing, food, and traveling. He picked up martial arts at a later point in his life and found great enjoyment. An educator at heart, he was infectious in his love to teach others. He was passionate about many things, but at the top of his list was his fervent dedication to God and his family. He was always a steady force to his family through the uncertainties of life.
In November 2007, Sherman was diagnosed with liver cancer. He underwent a series of chemotherapy and radiation for more than two years. The overflow of support from family, brothers and sisters in Christ during these times provided Sherman with much comfort. He continued to testify of God’s unfailing love and proclaim his trust in God’s unerring provision. His faith gave him the strength to live a life that would not be dictated by physical limitations.
On October 31, 2010, Sherman passed away peacefully in the presence of Josephine, Lawrence, and Laurel and is united with the Lord. He now rests in the arms of his Savior and in communion forever with the Creator. Praise the Lord.
In the last month of my father’s life, he wrote a song called “Climbing Mountains”.
My brother’s words about my father:
Christ once told a story in the gospel of Matthew about two men building homes. These homes can represent their lives, it’s particularly relevant because my father loved remodeling homes. In good seasons of life, when the sun shines and the clouds are nowhere to be seen, all homes can look great. When things are going well, it is easier to be a good person. When times are good, it is easier to be a benevolent and caring person. It is easier to be a good husband and father. But when the storm comes and the river floods, that is when you find out what a house is truly made of.
I remember one time when I had oral surgery to remove my wisdom teeth. The surgery went late into the night around 8-9 pm and all the pharmacies near by were closed so he ended up driving around for an hour to find an open pharmacy so I could have pain killers that night when the anesthesia wore off.
I remember during one of the toughest stretches during his seminary years, my father planned a trip through western Europe. We were at thrilled to be at the Vatican city. We forgot that there was a rule that men have to wear long pants when visiting. It was really hot and my father and I were stopped at the entrance by the Vatican guards because we only had shorts that day. Possibly seeing the look of disappointment on my face, my father would not be stopped. He pulled out a rain jacket out of his backpack and slipped on one sleeve as one pant leg and the other sleeve. And with the hood dangling between his legs, he walked straight up to the guard and was let in. It was so embarrassing, but I ran in right after him. As we both looked at the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, I realized the sacrifice my father had just made so that I could see inside. In those seemingly trivial times, my father’s true nature was magnified. I have so many memories and stories of my father. Through the good times and the trying times, it became more and more evident to me that my father’s house was built on something unshakable.
If there was any doubt where my father had built his house, it would be most evident in the last few years of his life. Of the many storms in his life, cancer may have been his biggest…the rains came pouring and the wind roared, the earth shook, and the hurricane swept against my father’s house. I am so proud to have seen that his life was built on solid rock.
and on that solid rock, my family and I will carry on.
If you have made it this far and would like to read my brother’s reflections one year later, check out: http://kreptonic.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/me-my-dad-and-the-movies.