About stuff (including me and writing)

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I am sorry to any readers of this blob who may find this means of learning this news uncomfortable. But it is uncomfortable news. Since I found out on Monday, I have written many things. Writing is one of the ways I live. It is one of the un-numberable ways my dad and I connected, from the little notes and Bible verses he would put in my lunches in elementary school to the massive epistles we would exchange during my boarding in high school, to the poems he'd write for our birthdays, and the articles he'd write and send around to all the kids about whatever political, theological or popular cultural issue he was wrestling with at the time. He was one of the most faithful readers of this here blob thing, as it's been my main writing outlet in recent years (though he'd also ask to read my academic stuff, too; a couple of weeks ago he said, "You'll bring down a draft of your dissertation for us to read when you come for vacation in July, won't you?" Good one, Dad).

Talking about what to include in our public time of memorializing, my mom's been wondering about having a hat table. Anyone who ever met my dad would not be able to picture him without two things: a hat and a notebook. Mom wants to put on a table for visitors to see the box of notebooks that sat next to his "devotional" glider in his home office, full of the thousands of pages of notes he's written over the years. It was the most important thing, she said, that they had to get out with them when they had to leave Vietnam in a hurry with limited luggage in 1975. There are two little notebooks sitting next to my mom's recliner, my dad's last few weeks of thoughts, observations, learning. His handwriting is atrocious. So we will never be without new words from him as we spend the rest of our lives muddling through his writing.

How many times did I call him driving home from work, tell him about my day, and hear him say, "You should put that in your novel." I'm not writing a novel, which he never seemed to remember (or accept). But, I am going to write about my dad and the ways my family and I are experiencing the shock of losing him and the memories of his un-measurable life and love for us.

My dad died of a heart attack on Saturday morning at home with my mom. Four of their five children, including me, were out of the country. I'm with my mom in Texas now, as my oldest sister has been. The others return from China on Saturday. This is the obituary I wrote for the paper today.

Maxwell Elliott Cobbey, Feb. 20, 1924-June 28, 2008
Max Cobbey passed from this life and joined Jesus in eternal life on Saturday, June 28, 2008. A much loved and respected husband, father, grandfather, friend and neighbor, Max will be missed sorely. His devotion, generosity, and wisdom blessed everyone who knew him. Max served as a radar tech with a Marine bomber squadron in the Pacific at the end of World War II, taught high school, then spent over 40 years serving in Asia and Dallas with WBT/SIL. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Vurnell, five children and their spouses, four grandchildren: David, Kari, Timothy, Catherine, and Michael Eamma; Heidi Cobbey; Luther, Mónica, and Daniel Cobbey; Rini Cobbey; Nels Cobbey; and three cousins, Nancy Gentry, Eugenia Maxwell, and William Maxwell. A service to celebrate his life and homegoing will be held in the Activity Center at the International Linguistics Center, 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd, Dallas, on Wednesday, July 9, at 3:30.


Susan said...

I am so sorry. I had the honor of meeting your dad when he was with your mom, helping Luther work in his library at school. I adored his hat and his... serenity. He seemed like a very cool, wise and insightful man. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Unknown said...

Thank you R, for this tribute to your dad. You honor him by sharing these memories.


Sam Sloan said...

I met Max Cobbey during my visit to the offices in Dallas in Early 1981. He was tremendously helpful to me in my linguistic project. I was just now trying to look him up to ask him a question about his researches when I learned the sad news.

Sam Sloan