Last Monday evening, I spoke with my mom and found out that my dad’s already poor health was declining quickly. I threw some clothes in the car and headed over to their house. My dad left this world the morning of Wednesday, May 25.
I want to share a couple of things. First, I’ll share something I wrote to be read at his funeral, then I’ll include the obituary that my sister wrote for the newspaper.
The Oak Tree
There’s a red oak tree in my parents’ backyard. It’s grown tall and strong since Daddy planted it, much taller than what was expected. During the last few weeks of his life, when Daddy would get confused as to where he was, he could see that tree out the window and it would help him know he was still at home.
Though Daddy ended up working most of his days in a classroom, he was a man of the soil. He loved growing things. When he and Mother began to travel, it was hard for him to keep his garden up. Later years robbed him of his strength for working outside. But that tree continued to grow, far beyond what anyone had anticipated.
My father was a man who knew how to cultivate and grow. He has left behind a legacy as strong and growing as that oak tree. He led tens of thousands of young minds in understanding the intricacies of mathematics. He helped to shepherd this congregation for many years, both during the time when he was an elder, and even when he wasn’t. And, not least of all, he left behind the strong legacy of children and grandchildren who share his deep Christian faith.
Many will remember his humor. As children, we rolled our eyes when Daddy would repeat the same jokes over and over. When someone said, “Go ahead,” Daddy was sure to respond, “Don’t call me goat head.” The person hearing it for the first time would laugh. We would groan. And now I find myself torturing my children with many of the same jokes that Daddy always made.
I’ve been told that I walk like my dad. Others have said that I talk like my dad. I’ve been told that I look like him. I take each of those statements as a great compliment. My father wasn’t perfect, which doesn’t surprise anyone. But he was a man who knew how to cultivate and grow. There’s an oak tree that stands as a testimony to that. And there’s a family seated here that bears the same witness.
We’ll miss you, Daddy. But so much of you will continue on. In us.
Cass Louis Archer, faithful Christian, devoted husband and father, and dedicated college math professor, died Wednesday, May 25, at his home in San Angelo. He was 86.
Cass was born June 1, 1924, in Spearman, Texas, to Charles O. and Jessie (Karr) Archer. He had five brothers and two sisters. He married Irma Ruth Fulbright July 25, 1953, in McLean, Texas.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1943-46. After his service he studied at the University of Texas, earning bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in mathematics. He taught mathematics for 32 years, including serving as the head of the math department at Angelo State University from 1959-84. He also taught math in the Seminole public schools.
A long-time member of the Church of Christ, he served as a deacon and as an elder at Johnson Street Church of Christ. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association of educators, and a member of the Rotary Club for many years.
He was known for his dry wit and keen sense of humor. He loved traveling and gardening.
He is survived by his wife, Irma, of the home; a brother, Coleman Archer of North Richland Hills; children, Laura Wells and her husband, Cris, of Hurst; Deborah Pratt and her husband, Andrew, of Lawrenceville, N.J.; and Tim Archer and his wife, Carolina, of Abilene; seven grandchildren, Aaron Wells and his wife, Cecilia, Michael Wells, Philip Wells, Ben Pratt, Lauren Pratt, Daniel Archer, and Andrea Archer.
Visitation will be Friday, May 27, at Johnson’s Funeral Home with the family present from 5 to 7 p.m.
Services will be Saturday, May 28, at Johnson Street Church of Christ, with Tommy King, minister of the church, officiating. Burial will follow at Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens in San Angelo. Johnson’s Funeral Home is directing.
The family wishes to express its gratitude to the staff of Shannon Home Health Services and Hospice of San Angelo for the loving care given to our husband and father.
Memorial donations may be made to Herald of Truth Ministries in Abilene, Texas, or to Hospice of San Angelo.