On November 16, 2006 I had lunch with Hank at Steak and Shake to share with him about a new church that five families were starting in Perry. Hank and his wife had been searching for a church to attend that would meet the needs of their family. I met Hank, Ginnyne and their kids previously at a dinner at Lake Ridge Church, where I use to pastor. We were introduced to each other by Randy Whitely who had know Hank since they were kids. Hank attended our first preview service on November 19th with thirty other people. Not long after Ginnyne and the children joined him and they began to attend faithfully. Soon Hank joined our worship band playing bass guitar and loved help being part of the team that leads worship at Bridge Church. He and Ginnyne were also involved in one of our BridgeGroups and opened their home to our student ministry meetings. Recently Hank and his son Henry participated in an outreach event handing out nine volt batteries to residents for replacement in their smoke detectors.
Hank was a man whose life was focused on God and his family. If you spent anytime with Hank you came to realize quickly that he loved the Lord and his family very, very much. Hank also coach baseball and had the opportunity to coach many young men in the game of life. His zeal for life was contagious and people loved to be around him. I have to be honest, Hank was not perfect and he would tell you that he wasn’t. He will be sorely missed in the months and years to come.
Hank and I hit it off immediately as we both are sports nuts. He loved the Buckeyes, the Browns and the Indians. This past year when OSU was playing Florida for the national championship, we were at Tom Lang’s house with several other guys. When Ted Ginn Jr. ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, I thought Hank would have a heart attack. He was so pumped up giving high fives to everybody. Last week on his way to Florida, he called me about 10:00 pm and left a message on my phone. When I retrieved the message it was Hank singing “Rocky Top”, Tennessee’s fight song – he had just rolled into Tennessee and thought to call me. I called him back immediately and asked him what that was about and he shared that he crossed the state line into the promised land and wanted to rub it in.
This loss has hit our church and the community very hard. The Patricy family was one of the few families that began attending our preview services in the fall of 2006. As a testimony of his influence, there were many people who knew Hank that attended our service yesterday morning, including many young men who Hank had coached. We moved our service to the gymnasium of the school we meet in as 232 people showed up for that service. At center court was Hank’s bass guitar, a reminder to all present that Hank will be missed, but never forgotten. To listen to this service go to www.thebridge4u.net and click the logo on the right hand side of the screen to listen to sermons.
Bridge Church has established a fund that will be administered by his wife Ginnyne to help pay funeral expenses and some temporary living expenses for the family. If you would like to donate, please make checks payable to The Hank Patricy Family Memorial Fund. If you are local in the Cleveland area, you may take your donation to any CHASE bank branch. Otherwise, mail to The Hank Patricy Fund, c/o Bridge Church, P.O. Box 527, Perry, OH 44081. Remember, it is very important that you make your check out to the fund or it will be returned.
I know that I will see my friend in heaven someday. I have this hope because Hank had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and so do I. In order to get to heaven, you need to stop trying to be God and turn your life over to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you of your sins. You see, being good will not get you to heaven. It will make you a person who does good things. According to God’s Son, Jesus, the only way to get to heaven is through faith in Him. Our good works will never be enough. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.