By Debbie Hall
Lynn Shouse was a fixture in The Enterprise office years before my employment began.
His death last week was a shock not only in our office, but throughout his family, extended family, friends and the community he so loved.
Lynn will be remembered for his dedication to his family, his community, his work, and most importantly, his ability to love – and the transformative power it had on his whole being.
He had the heart of a public servant and spent 20 years with CCDF Fire and Rescue. His dedication seemed to have no bounds. He simply enjoyed helping – however and whenever he could.
The pandemic did not sway that determination. Although saying that Lynn wasn’t fond of the masks and other protective gear would be an understatement, he used everything required to continue doing what he loved.
Not long ago, he confided that he held the distinction of being the senior driver with us.
“None of the other drivers have been with the company longer than me,” he said proudly.
And that was another of Lynn’s trademarks. He took great pride in his work – whether as a volunteer or in the office.
Most Wednesdays, he resembled an image of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve — digging into the white, plastic mail sacks filled with newspapers, adding a few here or taking out a few there. He then loaded the properly prepared sacks into his vehicle, along with single bundles that were stacked just so, in order of his stops.
Even from his hospital bed, he was concerned about his route.
“You got the keys for the coin tubes,” he asked in a text, and added, “I guess this will put me in retirement.”
A kind man with a heart of gold, Lynn seemed to instinctively know when a smile or a laugh was in order. And he always made it a point to deliver.
In fact, the last text I received from him – only a few hours before his death – was that of a smiley face.
Another staff member shared a funny cartoon he sent her – again shortly before he died.
Lynn loved and enjoyed animals. Whether the wildlife which often frequented his yard to his own pets, which included the addition of a new lively kitten, or pet-sitting while family members vacationed – all were a source of joy.
I heard him question his ability to care for family members’ pets only once when pet-sitting took on a new meaning.
“I know, but rats,” he asked incredulously, and laughed. Then, shrugging his shoulders and chuckling, he said “I guess rats gotta eat too.” he added matter-of-factly.
Whether we were chatting in the office or in his vehicle during cold or inclement weather, it was evident that his love for his family was by far the most important thing in his life.
Conversations often began with “my daughter” this, “my son or son-in-law” that, or “the grandkids came to visit,” before sharing their latest adventure. “That son of mine,” or “my grandson,” or “those grandbabies” also marked the beginning of many entertaining exchanges.
While he loved all his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family, a special place was reserved for his wife, Pat. When he talked about her, the years faded, and it seemed that he was transported back to the beginning of their relationship. He radiated light and beamed with joy, pride, and yes, love — if indeed I have ever witnessed it.
Lynn assuredly was one-of-a-kind and one in a million. He touched so many people and impacted more lives than even he likely realized. We miss him. We also celebrate and treasure the memories, even as we grieve for him and for his family and extended family, knowing that they must face painful new adjustments each day.
Our sincerest condolences to his family and his extended family at the CCDF. You are in our thoughts and prayers.