Eulogy for Charles Robert Webster
Former Crew-Member of the United States Submarine USS BUGARA (SS331)
We are gathered today at the Ever Rest Memorial Park Cemetery to remember a gallant man of noble character, a Cold War tested Submarine veteran, who heard his Maker's clarion call for final assembly, mustered on deck, and passed peacefully through the gateway of life from time to eternity. Besides his distinguished naval service and professional skills during his tour aboard the submarine BUGARA, there are many significant traits that could be cited that duly characterize our beloved "Bob". For one, his unique casual sense of humor. You could not be in Robert's presence long without chuckling over his subtle quips about the quirks of life that he encountered in civilian life and in the Navy. Certainly, his salient work ethic serving over thirty years with Bell Telephone and the ample sharing of his time and experience with his ex-military friends and church members are other notable marks of distinction.
But most of all we need to remember his profound love and enduring devotion for his wife, Ethelene and sons Brian and Timmy. His deceased and living members of his family meant much to him and when discussed obviously their memory was welded solidly in his heart. Robert took seriously the words of Jesus Christ "what God had put together let no man put asunder." As Genesis prescribed, he became one with Ethelene, a oneness that lasted until the Almighty God chose her for His garden; undoubtedly, in this age, a remarkable sign of esteemed loyalty, integrity and true masculinity.
Charlie is a sterling example of manhood in its truest meaning of the word. He is a quaint amalgam of a Beloved Husband, Devoted Father, Constant Companion, Faithful Lover, Honest Confidante, Earnest Friend, Skilled Worker, Loyal Employee, True Patriot, and last, but by no means least, a Service-tested Dedicated Submariner. And notice I used the present tense - IS - to denote his present status. Although, his body is deceased, we must not forget that his soul exists. Charles Robert Webster, like all human beings is imbued with the precious gift from God - an immortal soul. We need to go back to biblical history to understand the significance. Briefly, death entered the world by the indiscretion of Adam and Eve. Life conquered death by the sacrifice of the Word of God made man, Jesus Christ, the birth of Whom we celebrated last month. If you remember your Scripture, you will recall John, the Evangelist, saying that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him (certainly "Bob" believed in Him) should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16)."
What does that mean to us? It means, God willing, that some day we will be in the company of our beloved Charles. Do we grieve at our loss of a loved one? Most certainly! Christ did when He heard of the loss of the son of the widow in Nain. Do we become despondent and depressed? Most certainly not! Why? Because that disturbed state of mind would be an insult to the memory of Charles. Knowing Charles, he would expect his family and friends to give meaning to his dedication to the good life by drawing closer to each other, and keep doing what they do best until God calls them to His heavenly kingdom.
And so we say there is not an easy explanation for the loss of a dear One, least of all a loving husband, dedicated father and respected submarine shipmate like Charles. Witnessing the sustained heart ailment and gradual loss of vitality of a loved one or a close friend is frequently a cause of cynicism and hopelessness. For many people it builds a wall between them and God, preventing them from seeing God and his infinite love for man. They ask: why doesn’t Almighty God prevent such apparently needless suffering? Indeed, suffering is a mystery. Yet, through faith we can visualize the providential will of God who knows so much more and sees so much more than we mere mortals can ever imagine. Saint Paul tells us that "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him." This would include everything that seems to us deeply inexplicable or incomprehensible. Could it be that Charlie's illness and repose was for our benefit in some way that only God knows? Think about it.
And so dearest Bob, you can rest your oars. Your family, friends, and shipmates from the submarine USS BUGARA (SS331), in solemn esteem, hope and pray that:
"The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give
you peace (in His eternal presence!)"
Bellator Et Pater Et Amica Requiem Aeternam
CDR. Edward R. Ettner, U.S.Navy (Ret Ex-Commanding Officer,USS BUGARA(SS331)