Monday, November 17, 2008

Bert Leonard

Many of you will have heard by now that Bert Leonard sadly passed away at 7.25am on Sunday 16th November. He had been ill with cancer for some months and spent his final few days in the Sue Ryder home in Nettlebed, where he apparently really perked up and loved the surroundings he was in.
Whilst feeling sad over Bert no longer being with us, it's impossible to think about him for long without smiling at the memories of the fun and mischief he brought into every situation. I think someone got it spot on when they said on Sunday morning he was the Arthur Askey of our church. Somebody else who knew Bert well wrote to me in an email this morning "He certainly was a great bloke. I don't believe that I ever heard him speak a negative word about anyone. He was always such a positive guy, always up, and we can learn a lot from his life". Bert will remain an inspiration to many of us, especially in the challenge to finish well in our Christian life - it was only earlier this year, at the age of 88, that Bert stopped greeting people at the door on Sunday mornings - what an example.
Let's be praying for Bert's family, and for those in our community who I know will be feeling the sadness of him no longer being with us. And let's be thanking God for a life well lived.
We'll let you know as soon as we have details of the funeral, which I know many of you will be very keen to attend.


Anonymous said...

my abiding memory of bert was when we had only been part of the church a few weeks...used to be letters pinned on notice board for folk...he saw me one day..looking ...and i mentioned that we didnt get letters and made a joke...No on loves us.!!...
the following week there was letter pinned to board for us
from...Bert....a man of great love
irene m

Ruthie said...

Both Bert & Jill Steyl left a lasting impact on me in terms of their relationship with Jesus and their outlook on life. They always had a smile and an encouraging word and were a pleasure to spend time with.

When I heard of both their deaths although there was deep sense of loss I couldn't help but smile knowing that they are both where they longed to home with Jesus.

I, along with countless others, will surely miss them for a long time to come but will remember them both with a smile on my face.

Anonymous said...

When I think of Bert there are only positive thoughts. Such was the passion of his Faith and his outlook on life I always left his presence with a positive frame of mind. I only had the privelage of being in the same life group as Bert for a short period of time, but it was enough time for me to discover that he did not just know the Bible, but he lived out the Christian Life in fulness of Joy. What a fantastic Legacy to leave behind.
Gareth Phillips

Anonymous said...

I have very fond memories and thoughts of Bert and his lovely wife Olive. On the very 1st Easter that Ray and I had become Christians we were asked to give our testimony. (1996) We felt it was a great honour to be sharing our tetimonies along with Bert and Olive sharing theirs. They were the long established couple we were the newbies. We will never be able to live up to their example but with God's Grace we will keep trying.

Anonymous said...

My visits to the dentist will never be the same! My dentist was near Bert and I always used to go for a coffee and a chat afterwards. After negotiating my way in without getting knocked over by a very friendly "Midge", we would sit and chat and talk about his life. He was surprisingly "modern", being able to use the computer efficiently and one day made me a delicious mug of Cappuccino, complete with chocolate sprinkled on top!

A gifted man, never miserable, always cheerful. He loved the Lord so much and this radiated from him whenever you were in his company.
Ann Dick

Anonymous said...

My abiding memory of Bert is having the privilege of taking himn to Lynwood Nursing Home in Sunninghill on occasions when he would entertain the residents (or "inmates" as Bert called them!). He would sing and recite monologues and poems and brought great joy to the folks there, some younger than himself! He had a great big heart for people.
Bill Dick

Anonymous said...

The following are comments made by members of T.M.T.L. that Bert and Olive founded.

Bert used to tell us about a special Christmas dinner that he will never forget. He was on board a troop ship out of Liverpool in a very rough Irish Sea. When the meal came it was tripe! Apparently there were few takers! – Roy Buck

After the monthly TMTL lunches, Bert used to put all the scraps into a basin for his dog Midge. He jokingly remarked: “When I get home I am going to put a nice potato topping on this and that will give me a meal for a couple of days!” Apparently some of the folk used to believe him!- Roy Buck

There was a funeral in Room K2 in the Kerith which Bert went to. It was rather dark and gloomy in there and Bert did not think much of it and complained to the Elders: “If they hold my funeral in that room, I am not turning up!” – Roy Buck

I was making my first visit to Bracknell Baptist Church in the old building and Bert and Olive were handing out the bulletins at the door. They were so friendly and introduced me to Ben. They were my first impression of the church and as I was on my own it made me feel so welcome. – Glenna Hillier

Bert (and Olive) were so supportive. Bert always saw the positive side to anything and never complained. He used to entertain the folks at Lynwood and show his funny side but there was another side to him – one of a deep faith and love of the Lord. – Joan Dunn

I thank Bert for his tremendous encouragement and he was always reluctant to ask for prayer for himself. – Maureen Currington

He was such a jolly person and had his own, unique, way of saying things. He always used to invite me to sit next to him and tell me so many things. – Margaret Matondo

When Sue and I joined TMTL we joined Bert’s “table”. We listened to the CDs and watched the DVDs and at the end there would be a discussion on what we had seen and heard. I would have got a small percentage out of it but Bert would open his mouth and a 5-gallon barrel of wisdom would come forth! After a few months Sue and I were asked to lead a table (such a privilege) but what I most missed was the wisdom flowing out of Bert whenever it came to discussion time. – Brendan Barrow

Always his wonderful Welcome at the door of the Kerith, even when he was only standing with the aid of a walking stick. – Elizabeth Sutton

I am sure he has been appointed Welcomer at the doors of Heaven! – Pat Wolken

I accompanied Bert to Lynwood once to take part in the entertainment and I always remember a rendition of an old George Formby song “Like the big pots do!”. It was so funny and Bert made it come alive. – Ruth Buck

Bert was such a tease! He used to come behind me when we were having our meal and say “Now then you; are you behaving?” in a strict voice. He would tell everybody that they had to keep an eye on me! He also used to call out “No running in Church!” when I could barely hobble along. He was just such a big tease and I loved him so much. – Gwen Wilson

He used to come up to me and make me dance with him and then burst into song. He knew all the words too! – Hana Smith

He came to Hilltop and he did a Sing-A-Long for the people there and they loved him. He got them up on the stage to help him sing and he had big sheets of words to help them. He always used to tell me about how his and Olive’s funeral was already paid for and recently he was telling me “I have made money on it now!” – Melita Cullis

I miss his cheeky face and big smile. – Elizabeth Parsons

When I was young, Bert and Olive lived round the corner from me in Hackbridge in Surrey and it is very probable that we passed each other many times to and from the shops. Whenever you spoke to Bert he always ended with “God Bless You”. What a wonderful man he was. – Miriam Barker

It has been a privilege to be counted as one of Bert’s many friends and to be in his company. I will greatly miss his cheerful reply to “How are you Bert?” – for years his reply “Terrible!” was given with a mischievous glint in his eye. Amazingly he fought cheerfully to the end and we are the poorer for his passing. – Dinah Savage

Anonymous said...

reading all the comments has made me smile inside and out....they sum up a man after Gods own heart...
irene m

Anonymous said...

Dear Bert and Olive took me through the Commitment Course (in the old church building!!) On one occasion Bert was on his own and was asked if he and Olive would help at a church function. Bert replied that of course they both would. When asked (in a joke) if he needed to check this out with Olive first, he replied that their marriage was strong enough that he knew they would be of the one mind when it came to serving the Lord. He also bought flowers for Olive every single week of their married lives together. What a wonderful example he was to us all. Sue Bateman

Anonymous said...

On Sunday when we sang after the announcement about Bert, I saw Bert in Heaven, smiling away, and everyone around him was smiling too! At first this made me cry, because it confirmed that this was it - the end - I would never see Bert in this life again. But then I looked again, and I realised he was laughing at me. How could I possibly be sad when he was so joyous and so well? And what a party they were having up there! I will miss him and his laugh and his smile. Mostly though, I hope I remember him, and the way he seemed to live life in the presence of God. Not in an 'oh so holy' way, but in the joy of the Lord, and I can only learn from that, and hope that one day people will say that about me too.

Anonymous said...

Bertie 'always made a thing of going sideways'. We were busy gardening at Peter and Carole's. Bertie was having trouble with his bad ankle going down the slope, so i suggested that he should go sideways, so ever afterwards, for years, thats what he did.
Even on the phone we would check and he would still be going sideways. He was the cheekiest man out (=

Wendy, Grant & Megan

Anonymous said...

One of my fondest memories of Bert, took place about eighteen months ago. TMTL took the morning meeting at church, and it was Bert's turn to go up on stage to give a recital about "the good old days." He started off with "my name is at this point he reached for his top pocket, opened up a piece of paper, and read Bert Leonard. The church erupted. He was full of mischief. In life he made me laugh, and in his passing he made me cry. I regarded him as my mentor.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I think of Bert, I can't help smiling. Simon asks us: do we take people up or down in our lift? Just seeing Bert in the room took me up.

Anonymous said...

I have always thought My Dad was the funniest person I knew. Like many others we also likened him to Arthur Askey but also to Dickie Henderson and Norman Wisdom, all of whom he could mimic to a tee.

He was always involved in shows, plays, sketches etc and was a well known MC at local dances when we first moved to Bracknell. Luckily his cheeky humour didn't desert him and we were laughing until the end just as we had with my Mum.

Never one to admit that he was in any pain we had to ask if he had any discomfort, this he would admit to but would then clarify it by saying "but not as bad as a bullet in the leg", quite how he would know this we weren't sure.

He would be thrilled to know that his eight year old Great Granddaughter Josie now uses this phrase at every opportunity.


Anonymous said...

Another 'daughter' memory of Bertie, especially when Olive was ill, and carried on for me when I broke my leg on a trip to England.

As one looked around, or started to shift position, Bertie's immediate instinctive response was "what do you want? I'll get it"

What a servant heart. What a man.

Anonymous said...

My memories of uncle Bert as a child will never leave me. He was such fun and always knew how to make me laugh.
Although the years passed without contact after nanny died, when we met again 3 years ago it was just the same.
We were in constant email contact, and yes, I have to take the blame for all the jokes he printed off and read to his friends!
As I sat with him a couple of days before he died he held my hand and still managed a smile and a squeeze.
Angela x

Unknown said...

Here i sit on the shores of the gulf sea.. with the fondest warmest memories of a very dear person Bert... the cause of our Joy..... .. no body could ever come across his path and not leave feeling better for the privelage of having spent even a short time with him.
'The blessings of the lord have made him rich and he adds no more sorrow to him" amen and again i say amen. eve. (one time member of Bracknell Baptist/Kerith Center.