Thursday, December 27, 2012
Carlisle remembered as entrepreneur, role model
By SUE WATSON
A long-time Holly Springs grocery man was laid to rest Wednesday, Dec. 19, among rightful praises and accolades for his life as a Christian witness.
Dennis Carlisle Sr. crossed the bar Monday, Dec. 17. He was buried at the foot of the hill beside a tree in Hill Crest Cemetery following a final pass through the parking lot at Carlisle’s Big Star. The procession paused for a moment in front of the store as workers and shoppers wiped away tears and some waved goodbye.
At funeral services at First United Methodist Church, Carlisle’s contributions to community and family life were remembered, his casket flanked with wreaths and a brightly lit Christmas tree. A veteran of World War II service in the U.S. Navy, his coffin was covered with the American Flag as a tribute to his contributions to his country.
Music became the backdrop to the service with “Faith of Our Fathers,” “Amazing Grace,” “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Nearer My God to Thee,” and “It is Well With My Soul,” some of the many meaningful songs played and sung – a testament to Carlisle’s life.
A grocery man since high school graduation, Carlisle worked in various Kroger stores serving ultimately as a manager, before he and his wife took the plunge and purchased the Big Star in Holly Springs in 1963, which was then located in the present Family Dollar facility. The new store under the hill on West College Avenue was built in 1974. Carlisle retired in 2001 and his children took over the operation of the store.
Bro. Milton Whatley, in a fitting eulogy, said, “We are here to celebrate the Christian witness of Dennis Carlisle Sr. There are a lot of folks here who love him so much and will always love him.”
Reading from Psalms 23, Whatley said the Scripture was fitting words for Dennis Carlisle Sr.
“The Lord is the great comforter,” Whatley said, saying that King David lived a committed life but died as a man as well.
Two of Carlisle’s grandsons, Thomas and Coleman, shared some happy stories that made their family laugh over the years.
Coleman said the outpouring of love from the community “showed what a great man our grandfather was.”
He was a man who wore many hats – a husband, father, soldier, boss – a role model.
In high school at Okolona, Carlisle earned his title as prankster by leading a mule to the third floor library. He was given the task of backing the mule all way down to ground level.
As an entrepreneur, Carlisle put in an 80-hour work week and knew the value of a dollar earned from hard work. He also loved to work in his yard – was entitled to a sense of pride in it – and kept the pool ready for back-yard family gatherings, his grandsons said.
He told his children war stories – was a man of country and principle. He bought his grandsons their first dress suits, wanting them to look nicely.
He kept the letters his wife wrote to him each day while in the service. And he told his grandsons to “always tell your wife ‘I love you’ and kiss her often.” He was proud of his grandsons and they were proud of him.
Whatley quoted the words of Jesus from Scripture, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Ye believe in God. Believe also in me. For in my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to a prepare a place for you. And if I go, I will return again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”
And, “I am the way, the truth and the light. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
Psalms 116:5, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,” was a verse Whatley said kept coming to his mind while preparing for the service.
He said Carlisle was a man who continually worked to come closer to God.
Carlisle had heart surgery about six months before his death, causing him to not be at church as often. He attended services Sunday before his death.
“He was back where he needed to be, a place where his soul was fed, and came back to church Sunday,” Whatley said.
Whatley said Carlisle exhibited the traits of a saint – led a Christ-directed family with his sweetheart, Martha, of 63 years; was a role model for his children and grandchildren; cared about people and served his country; did what he could to make the community a better place.
“God grieves with the family who sees the loss so deeply, but now He can reward the way He only can,” Whatley said. “Saints catch glimpses of God’s goodness, but when a saint gets home, God blesses them more fully. He is rewarded now, the gift of regeneration, rest, vitality is back, and he is reunited with all those who have gone before him.
“The life of a faithful witness goes on beyond them. Their presence lives on in the way they handled sorrows, successes, failures, forgiveness. How he lives. The imprint of his life continues to live on.”
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
—Alfred Lord Tennyson
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