Lola Mae Deckard, 67, of Vine Grove peacefully transitioned to heaven on April 22, 2021 while at home with her husband and daughter. Her passing culminated a five year challenge with colon cancer.
She was a faithful and devoted keeper of the home and homeschooled her children. Her greatest passions in life were serving her God, loving her grandchildren, and tending her garden along with outdoor adventure pursuits.
Her greatest joy was knowing Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. She made Him known while co-leading Voice of the Wilderness Christian camping expeditions alongside her husband. She also led Bible studies at the annual Army ROTC Cadet Summer Training conducted at Fort Knox.
Spiritually investing in the lives of her six grandchildren was her delight. Lola also enjoyed growing and sharing produce from her garden, along with backpacking, mountain biking, and whitewater canoeing.
Lola was preceded in death by her parents, Herman and Elizabeth Andres; father-in-law, James Deckard; brother-in-law, Terry King; and niece, Christie Stanton.
She is survived by her husband, Robert Deckard of 41 years, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired); two children, Brian (Jennifer) Deckard of Cumming, Georgia and Janell Deckard of Vine Grove; six grandchildren, Elsie, Jonathan, Alaina, Brandon, Katelyn, and Clara of Cumming, Georgia; her brother, Dr. John (Carolyn) Andres and sister Kay Andres all of Hiawatha, Kansas; plus her mother-in-law, four sisters-in-law, three brothers-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at the Fort Knox Pritchard Chapel from 5:00- 8:00 pm on Friday, April 30 and 12:30-1:00 pm on Saturday, May 1 followed by a Celebration of Life Service. Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Erik Gramling will be officiating. Graveside service will follow at the Fort Knox Post Cemetery officiated by Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Ralph Bieganek. Interment will be in the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central in Radcliff.
Flowers can be received by 2:00 pm on Friday, April 30 to Newcomer Funeral Home, 10304 Dixie Hwy, Louisville, KY 40272 which will be delivered to Prichard Chapel. Memorials may be given to these ministries which spiritually mentor ROTC Cadets:
Officers’ Christian Fellowship, 3784 S. Inca St., Englewood, CO 80110. Check memo: Lola Deckard Memorial Fund/ROTC Ministry. 1-800-424-1984 give.ministrylinq.com/app/giving/ocfusagive
The Navigators, PO Box 6079, Albert Lea, NM 56007. Check memo: Lola Deckard Memorial Fund/117630. 1-866-568-7827 navigators.org/project/117630-2
Valor/Cru, PO Box 628222, Orlando, FL 32862-8222. Check memo: Lola Deckard/Memorial Fund /1066334 MIL ROTC. 1-888-278-7233 give.cru.org/search-results.html?q=1066334 Go to Give a Gift. Special Handling Instructions for Processing this Gift. In memory of Lola Deckard.
-Lola Deckard’s Personal Testimony-
After a year of business college, I had a good job, a new car, my own apartment, etc. Then I tried out for another job, was hired, and at the age of 19 was supervisor over three other employees (two of them had college degrees). I had everything I had always wanted except a husband; but dates were plentiful, and I was working on that, too.
The only problem was that my peers were constantly pressing me to abandon my high morals and join in their fun. They all considered me to be a very religious person, and I guess I considered myself to be the same. By religious, I mean that I attended church regularly, taught Sunday School classes when requested to do so, and tried to lead a good life. I thought that these things made me a Christian. I felt no closeness to God as a result of my involvement in these activities, but I didn't know that such a feeling was possible. I had concluded that some parts of the Bible were not meant to be taken literally and much of it was not relevant to the present.
I had never bothered to study the Bible on my own. The sum of all I knew I had picked up on Sunday mornings--here a verse, there a verse. I didn't like to think about death much; but I had determined that if hell existed, a God of love would not send anyone there and, even if He did, He had some sort of system worked out like "grading on the curve" in school. I didn't know what the division point was between good and bad, but I felt pretty safe because I had led a good life and there were lots of people around worse than I.
The only thing that kept me "straight" was knowing how disappointed my parents would be if I changed. It was this love for my parents that moved me to give the Bible a chance to show me some solid reasons why I should not change from the way I was living. If the Bible failed to do so, I felt I could tell my parents that I had given religion a serious try, but it just did not hold any answers for me.
It was then that God's promise in Jeremiah 29:13 was fulfilled in my life: "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Through an amazing weave of events and people, I ended up in an Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Bible study on campus.
What an experience! It was there that I realized how much I didn't know about God's love for me as an individual because these students were talking about Him as if He were their personal friend and not a "being who lived way up there" like my God. They had more than the religion I did; they had a relationship with a living God who had a part in all their daily activities. Another thing which really impressed me that night was that these people were all sharp in both their minds and their looks. They weren't a bunch of misfits who couldn't make it in the world and used their religion as a crutch.
Afterwards I asked if I could get in a more basic Bible study because I knew I needed to go back to the beginning--somewhere along the way I had obviously missed out. My new neighbor, Nancy, offered to meet with me in a basic Bible study beginning the very next night. I accepted!
It was over three weeks later before I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. What I learned in those three weeks shattered all my old beliefs.
I learned that I was a sinner. Romans 3:23 states: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "All" included me. I had always considered myself a good person. There were plenty of people around me whom I considered to be sinners, but certainly not myself. According to this verse, however, there might be some distinction between men in the types of sin they commit, but there is no difference in the fact that each has sinned. My gossiping and coveting left me short of God's standards of holiness just as the actions of a thief or murderer, and it took the same grace to forgive me as it took to forgive them. A rather hard fact to accept for one who felt so self-righteous in her religion and good works.
I was also confronted for the first time with the fact that this God of love is also a God of holiness and justness; and because of His holiness, He could not allow sin in His presence. Perhaps the clearest illustration to me was in 1 John 1:5, where it stated that "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." When you turn on a light switch, darkness is forced to leave. So I could see that just as darkness is dispelled by light, so I, a sinner, was banished from God's presence. God could not have fellowship with me until my sin was removed. That blew my theory about God "grading on the curve," didn't it?
Any further doubts I had about the penalty for rebelling against God were removed by Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death." God could not ignore my sins. So, it was in His justice that the penalty of death was pronounced against them.
Nancy was quick to show me that in His measureless love, God paid the death penalty for my sins by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in my place. 1 Peter 3:18 states: "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God...." Then as proof that Christ's sacrifice had been effective for the removal of sin and that He was satisfied, God raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to His own right hand.
It was over three weeks after I began to study the Bible that I became a Christian, because I did not believe "in Jesus" and the Bible says you must believe "in Jesus" to be saved. To believe "in Jesus" is not simply to accept what He says as true; it is to commit your life into His hands and into His direction.
I could know about Jesus and not be a Christian, just as I could know about Buddha and not be a Buddhist. In fact, James 2:19 states that: "Even the demons believe--and shudder." Their knowledge did not save them any more than my knowledge would save me. I knew that the faith that receives Jesus must be accompanied by the repentance which rejects sin. I had to be willing to turn my back on everything in my past which I knew to be wrong. I must also be willing to let His Word be the authority for my life, to yield my will to His, and to be willing to confess Him before men--even if that might mean that I no longer "fit in" with my old friends. It was a high cost that I did not know if I was ready to pay.
Well, Jesus is a gentleman. In Revelation 3:20, He says: "Behold, I stand at the door (that's the door of your heart) and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus did not force Himself into my life. He patiently waited for me to ask Him to come in.
What finally prompted me to ask was love--Jesus' unconditional love for me. I just could no longer deny it. I saw it over and over again every time I studied my Bible, no matter what book I was in. Then I read a pamphlet which described the suffering that Jesus went through for me.
It became obvious that the pictures of the crucifixion that I had seen all my life were not realistic. The Bible said Jesus was scourged. To accomplish this, the Romans used whips of leather thongs which had small pieces of metal or bone tied to them. They were meant to rip the skin, and they did. Jesus' persecutors showed Him no mercy. His body would have been covered with cuts, and his face marred and swollen.
The mockery, the beatings, the scourging, and the pain of having nails driven into His hands and feet--these things all happened and they all happened because Jesus loved me--because He loved you. I could not get over the fact that He endured all this voluntarily. He GAVE His life. John 10:18 says that no one had the power to take His life, He laid it down of His own accord. In the face of this love, I knew there would never be a cost too high to pay to follow Jesus.
On October 15, 1974, the same night that I read this pamphlet, I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I did not hear any trumpets blow or any angels sing. I merely felt a sense of peace. My struggle was finally over. I knew I'd made the right choice and that never again would there be another struggle I would have to face alone.
Even though I didn't experience anything dramatic, I knew based on the authority of God's Word that five things happened to me the moment I said that prayer:
1) The Holy Spirit came into my life.
2) My sins were forgiven.
3) I became a child of God.
4) I received eternal life.
5) My life gained meaning.
Did my life change? Did it ever! I began to enjoy going to church. I could understand my Bible when I read it. I served people because I had love to share and not because I felt obligated to do so. My goals in life changed. The list could go on and on.
-Lola Deckard’s Eulogy by Bob Deckard May 1, 2021-
Lola has truly been the love of my life as my best friend, battle buddy, and beloved companion for over 41 years. She was a faithful and devoted keeper of our home and cheerfully homeschooled our two children Brian and Janell.
First, I’d like to share with you how we met in 1979 in the most unlikely place -- Army ROTC Advanced Camp at Fort Riley, KS. She was working as a secretary at the Third ROTC Region Headquarters. Lola thought it would be a “safe ministry” to assist the ROTC Advanced Camp Chaplain with cadet Bible studies.
After all, she was 26 years old and she would tell you that she wasn’t too concerned about the likelihood of experiencing a “crush” with a 20-year-old cadet having zits. Needless to say, she was definitely not expecting to meet this older 26-year-old cadet. However, this older cadet was ecstatic to say the least when he first met Lola.
Little did I know that in 1974 my prayers for finding a godly wife would be ultimately fulfilled beyond my wildest expectations five years later. Proverbs 18:22 says that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. And Psalms 84:11 promises that “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had truly found a good thing!
Lola was indeed a gift from God well worth the wait. She was much better than I ever deserved and definitely a keeper for life. This five year delay enabled me to remain focused in preparing for my mission in life to “Know Him and to Make Him Known” while completing my Army enlistment, attending Columbia Bible College, and returning to Indiana State University. Along the journey I had learned that I could patiently trust God to provide me with His very best as He is never late, seldom early, and always on time.
Now I get to share with you about the three “Gs” in her life. Lola’s greatest passion in life was serving her God, loving her Grandchildren, and tending her Garden along with enjoying numerous outdoor adventures.
Her ultimate joy was serving her God. She authentically shared her faith with teens, college students, and families while co-leading Voice of the Wilderness Christian backpacking, rock climbing, and cave exploring expeditions with me in the Texas Hill Country and the San Juan National Forest - Weminuche Wilderness of Southwest Colorado.
The highlight of Lola’s life for the past seven summers was to lead Bible studies at the annual Army ROTC Cadet Summer Training conducted at Fort Knox. Countless lives of our nation’s future warrior leaders were eternally changed. Lola was instrumental in equipping our next generation of future US Army leaders to become salt and light for Jesus Christ on a global basis.
Spiritually investing in the lives of her six grandchildren was Lola’s ultimate delight and fulfillment. Proverbs 17:6 states that “Grandchildren are the crown of grandparents, and parents are the glory of their children.” Her name Lola even means Grandma in Filipino. She found great pleasure in writing a biblically based character letter of inspiration and exhortation for her grandchildren on their birthdays.
She encouraged them to memorize Bible verses and gladly rewarded them for doing so. Lola and I have faithfully supported and encouraged our son Brian and his wife Jennifer in raising-up godly generations as arrows in the hands of a mighty man in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Lola also enjoyed growing and sharing garden produce with her friends and neighbors as she freely gave of our first fruits.
She enjoyed other outdoor pursuits such as hiking, mountain biking, along with whitewater canoeing and kayaking. I can still recall our numerous memorable family whitewater canoeing expeditions on Sugar Creek in West Central Indiana. As a family we thoroughly enjoyed riding our mountain bikes together in St. Joe State Park, Southeast Missouri.
My fondest memories occurred during our first year of marriage as we learned how to perform an Eskimo Roll with the Kayak and Canoeing Club at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in preparation for whitewater kayaking on the Nantahala River in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
Lastly, during our 40th wedding anniversary we enjoyed trekking the Red River Gorge Geological Area in Southeast Kentucky enjoying multiple unique formations of natural arches. We culminated our celebration exploring God’s spectacular waterfalls in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
“Let us climb the hill together” was sung during our wedding. We marvel at the multitude of mountain top memories that we’ve enjoyed together. As I have often told my precious little sweetie, “If I had to do it all over again I’d do it with you . . .”
Lola has truly "fought the good fight, she has finished her race, and she has kept the faith." She has heard her Lord say: "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys I have prepared for those who love me."
Lola and I echo the hymn writer that “It will be worth it all when we see Christ.” Rest assured that she is now more alive than she has ever been. She is finally cancer free and her vision is fully restored. Lola is now joyfully leaping and praising God as she jubilantly casts her crowns at the feet of Jesus.
I will close with Lola’s greatest heart felt desire and admonition that each of you “Meet Me There” as prayerfully exhorted in the hymn by Fanny Crosby printed on Lola’s memorial flyer. She looks forward to seeing each of you again in Heaven.
-Memories Of My Mom by Brian Deckard-
Growing up in a military family, we moved 7 times and lived in 5 states by the time I started college. My mom grew up in one state, her favorite, the Sunflower state of Kansas, where my dad would joke when we drove there “nothing, but nothing, but nothing...” and she would reply “ain’t it great!”
My mom was a radiant sunflower who bloomed wherever she was planted. Surprisingly she would recount stories to my sister and I of being shy in her younger years, but God had so transformed this aspect of her personality over time that this seemed almost unbelievable to us. The mom we knew worried little about what others might think or say negatively about her, but cared much about how she might help or encourage others. She found true security and belonging in her relationship with Christ.
Finding and making new friends every few years in a new location wasn’t always easy, but it gave us greater sensitivity and appreciation for being outsiders in a new situation. My mom was always an easy and engaging person to talk to, and she taught us that conversations were like playing catch. When someone didn’t toss the ball back, try to come up with a meaningful question to keep the conversation going.
Usually we would stay 3-5 years in a place, but one move in particular stood out. It was an unplanned surprise, as we had only been in our house about 8 months. We were just enjoying settling in when we got notice from our landlord that he would be unable to extend the lease past 1 year and we would need to find another place to stay.
As disheartening as that was, I remember my mom encouraging us at the time to gather round and pray to the Lord, giving thanks in this difficult situation. It wasn’t easy to give thanks and trust God, but it was incredibly faith building to watch God work. Over the next month we went from around 26th on the list down to first for the historic 1890’s military housing at Ft. Lawton overlooking a former parade field now part of Discovery Park. What an amazing opportunity we would have missed out on if God had not moved us. Our front balcony looked out on the Olympic Mountains across the Puget Sound and we got to watch the sunset move across the mountains as the seasons changed for the remainder of our time in Seattle. More importantly we had seen God provide for our need in a miraculous way beyond what we could ever ask or think.
In addition to giving thanks, my mom was someone who faithfully guided others to a saving relationship with the Lord. At the age of 5 she helped me to recognize that my disobedience to her was disobedience to God — Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right — and that I needed not only her forgiveness but God’s as well. That night with her and my dad, I prayed and asked Jesus to be my Savior.
My mom truly cared about the eternal destiny of others and God used her involvement in Bible studies to point many to trust in Christ and what He had already done on the cross for them, rather than what they could ever do to somehow attempt to earn salvation.
Others could see her relationship with God was real, and what she had was more than mere religion.
Beyond giving thanks, and guiding others to Christ, my mom was someone who was gladly giving. She loved the acronym for joy — Jesus, Others, You. And it brought her genuine joy to thoughtfully serve and meet the needs of those around her.
Coming back to the home she shared with my dad and sister is hard without her physically there. But so much about that home reflects who she was and how she lived. When creating the layout she designed the lower level to be a comfortable place for Jenny and I to be able to stay and bring her grandchildren to visit.
Even back then she was preparing a place for us in the same way that the Savior she loved has been preparing a mansion for her in heaven. We thank God for giving us such a loving mother and grandmother.
-Remembering Mom by Janell Deckard-
All of you are here because you care about my Mom. Please know she truly loved ALL of you! During her last month, “I Love You” was the most frequent thing she said. She said it repeatedly to her immediate family. Mom also wanted me to make sure that EVERYONE else knew she loved them!
Mom was so grateful for people’s faithful prayers since her first cancer surgery over 5 years ago. Prayer really made a difference! God gave her 5 active years. Mom was truly thankful for her surgeon, primary care doctor, oncologist, all the hospital staff, Home Health and Hosparus nurses, and others involved in her care.
On May 1st, 2020, Mom had her 4th cancer surgery. This time, cancer had spread into her hip bone. Removing all the cancer would have left Mom unable to walk and needing a wheelchair. Mom’s surgeon knew how much Mom enjoyed tending her garden. Her surgeon did her best to remove as much cancer as possible, but still enable Mom to walk.
Right after surgery, I was told Mom would probably only live a few months IF she did radiation, and without radiation she might have even less time. Knowing all that, it is truly a miracle that Mom’s Celebration of Life service is May 1st, 2021. We felt other options were better for Mom than radiation. God answered prayer by giving almost a full year!
Mom and I were especially close. In addition to being my Mom, she was
• my only school teacher from kindergarten thru high school,
• my nurse when I was wheelchair bound during my late teens and early twenties,
• my co-instructor at “Create a Holiday Treasure” card classes for Wounded Warriors,
• and my VERY BEST helper with every Chapel ministry I was involved in!
I kept Mom busy! Truly she was my best earthly friend!
1045 Sunday morning Service at Main Post Chapel was a highlight of Mom’s week! Mom wholeheartedly supported my Dad and I as we led ministries.
• Mom took pictures each Sunday so I could use them for the Chapel website.
• Even though she didn’t play an instrument, Mom gave useful input about the orchestra music I arranged.
• During Operation Christmas Child season, Mom did signup each Sunday for shoeboxes.
• Whenever we did a directory, my Mom signed up people, proofed the roster with me, took pictures for people who couldn’t come, and was always willing to look at my computer to discuss the best design layout.
While walking in the neighborhood, Mom would start a conversation with ANYONE she met! Her 2 mile walk often lasted over an hour because of everyone she greeted! Something very neat is that, Mom was able to do the 5 mile hike to nearby Buttermilk and Emmert Falls with Dad and I last October!
One of the saddest things to Mom was not having strength to attend Sunday morning service during her last few months. Once I arrived home from Chapel service, Mom was always interested to know WHO came! She would specifically ask about those who regularly attended and wanted to know who was NEW that Sunday. Mom kept a booklet in her Bible with a list of every visitor’s name. She did her best to call people by name the next time they came to Chapel service! If they continued coming, Mom would sign people up to receive the Chapel email updates I send.
Shortly after my 4th birthday, we moved to Chanute Air Force Base. One day that summer turned out to be lifechanging for me! Mom drove my brother and I and other children to an off-post Backyard Bible Club. During the week, my friend became a Christian. I thought we were both pretty good girls. So if she needed to become a Christian, maybe I did, too. Being a very shy girl, I waited till we got back home to talk to Mom alone. Dad was on TDY to Fort Knox. Mom asked me questions to make sure I understood, then she helped me pray to become a Christian. Very special that my Mom gave me physical and spiritual life!
“Giving Thanks” was one of the most lasting lessons my Mom taught me. When I was 15, I had a foot injury that didn’t heal correctly. Anesthesia from reconstructive surgery triggered Fibromyalgia and other health issues. By age 17, I was wheelchair bound, could not lift my violin bow (which really is not heavy), took all day to sign my name, and sometimes didn’t have strength to turn on a light, dial a phone number, or even turn pages in my Bible. Recovery took many years.
Each time I had an allergic reaction to something or a setback, Mom would start her prayer with something like this. “Father, we love you and want to be obedient. Scriptures says to give thanks in all things. By faith, we thank you and trust you to use this for good as you promised.” Having a grateful heart made us different, regardless of whether circumstances changed.
We learned a lot about heaven during Mom’s last few weeks. She saw glimpses of heaven many times. Mom wanted the bulletin to include one of those times.
Something funny is that in mid-April, Mom asked me, “Is heaven a friendly place?” I said “Momma…Yes! Heaven is a friendly place. But if it wasn’t, YOU would make it a friendly place! You will probably be on the welcoming committee!”
The easiest way to find my Mom in a crowd was by listening for her laugh! Mom made everything more fun!
Smiling was very important to Mom. Growing up, my brother and I were taught that “Smiles are free! They don’t cost anything. You should give them away. People should not have to earn a smile.”
My Mom always had a ready smile. Right after the first time she almost went to heaven, Mom started opening her mouth really big for a HUGE smile. When I asked what she was doing, Mom’s amazing reply was, "I'm practicing my smile. I'll need a bigger smile when I see Jesus!"