Yesterday, Chris Kyker was honored at a memorial service celebrating her life. Paul Rotenberry, 326th District Court Judge officiated the memorial service at the University Church of Christ. Rotenberry noted that although Chris passed away at age 92 years, she actually gave 184 years of servant leadership and service to Abilene, Taylor County, the State of Texas, and the United States.
Chris’ son Ricky read Bible verses of special meaning to Chris: Isaiah 40:28-31 and Philippians 3:13-14.
Isaiah 40:28-31 – (28) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (29) He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (30) Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; (31) but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Philippians 3:13-14– (13) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Chris’ son Rob, recalled that his mom would remind her five children (and later her grandchildren) that “God gave us all talents as a gift and that the use of our talents is our gift back to God.”
Walter Graham, current speaker of the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) recalled Chris’ decades of service to TSHL. During Chris’ tenure, many bills and initiatives helping older adults were enacted such as the Silver Alert protocol that began in Texas under Chris’ leadership and has now expanded across the United States. Chris began the partnership with Abilene’s Pruett Gerontology Center to host the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature Town Hall Meeting in 2014 and 2016. Walter recited one of Chris’ mottos in life from Stephen Grellet:
I will pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.
Stentson Carpenter called to mind Chris’ emphasis on the power of gratitude in her work and family service. Carlos Higgins spoke about the synergy of Chris’ words and deeds and how “she would go out of her way to discover and solve problems” in the community.
Dr. Adam Hester, Director ACU’s Theater program recalled Chris’ mentoring with him and the wise advice and counsel she gave to him on many, many occasions. The scholarship named for Chris and her late husband Rex Kyker, continues to assist theater majors at ACU.
Stan Lambert, Texas State Representative District 71 brought greetings from U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions, District 32. Representative Lambert presented a flag flown over the Texas Capitol to Chris’ family. A flag flown over the U.S. Capitol is also on its way to the family. Both Representative Lambert and Dr. Jon Ashby recalled Chris’ extensive public service and servant leadership.
Pruett Gerontology Center was especially grateful to work with the ACU Library Special Collections on the acquisition of the TSHL Archives. Also, just last November, Chris was co-author of the research paper, Civic Participation, Public Sphere Pedagogy, and Blended Learning Produce an Intergenerational Town Hall Meeting. This paper reflected four generations of writers and was presented at the annual Global Learn conference in Washington, DC. https://www.learntechlib.org/d/174017
To be included with those who honor Chris’ life, donations may be made to the Rex and Chris Kyker Endowed Scholarship for the Arts at Abilene Christian University (http://www.acu.edu/giveonline or 800-588-1514.)
Please take a minute today to remember the great servant leadership of Chris Kyker, re-read the Bible verses she held dear and the motto that guided her life.