Kels Lomison, our brother-in-law, was and is a giant not only in the lives of Rose and I, but in the lives of many others. What does one say at a time like this? The answer is: PLENTY!
He was bold, brassy, and booming, and at the same time, gentle loving, sensitive and fragile. The memories come in a flood. The problem is not what to say, but rather, where do you stop?
His passion and tireless work for charity and the public interest was unmatched. With help and support from my sister, Barb, as well as from family and friends, his accomplishments were the stuff of legends. Rose and I often wondered where Barb and Kels got their energy and boundless compassion for helping others.
With Kels, his family became your family and your family became his family. His Uncle Dave became our Uncle Dave, and our Aunt Nita became his Aunt Nita. This created a model for love and a super-sized family for all of us to cherish. With Kels it always was "the more the merrier." It was all about spreading warmth and security for all.
His efforts in the public/service sphere are a source of wonder; ask anyone he campaigned for about the political savvy and power of Kels Lomison. His support and work for candidates of both parties has helped to give us some of the leadership that continues to benefit us all. He knew hundreds and hundreds of people and remembered every single one of them by name! This alone was an invaluable talent and resource.
His love and devotion to his Orviston is a model for civic pride and community involvement.
As a child, I was always skeptical of everything, for example, Santa Claus. How could such a chubby guy fit down a narrow chimney? Despite my cynicism, Kels was able to convince me that the Easter Bunny lived in Orviston. He was a master of the folk art of telling tall tales.
Forty some years ago we often enjoyed the drive over the mountain from Marsh Creek to Orviston in his bread truck after delivering bread and goodies. It was always an adventure! At the funeral, we talked with many a bread truck "graduate." One never knew what to expect when on the bread truck!
Though fearless in many ways, he wasn't always brave. Once, a dear friend convinced him to get into an airplane with the promise that it would stay on the ground. His friends actually had other plans. The plane took off! Kels immediately grabbed the nearest hand in a vice-like grip and clamped his eyes shut. Neither the grip nor the eyes relaxed until the flight was over. Repeatedly, he asked "Are we on the ground yet? Are we on the ground yet?"
Of course, Kels was guilty of perpetrating many, many, practical jokes himself. His brother Zip, not a fancier of cats, would sometimes drive off only to discover a kitten hidden in his vehicle. Zip's son always wanted a cat.
One of the things I most admired about Kels was his treatment of children and babies. When around babies, he would frequently lapse into some kind of instantaneous seizure that caused him to erupt into unintelligible baby-talk babble and hugs.
Childhood experts would do well to study Kels' unique method of parental discipline. It was based on the way he and Barb's neighbor did it. His neighbor would issue ominous and frightful threats to his kids but with little to no follow through of any kind. Kels took this method one step further in an ingenious way. Kels would threaten to threaten; quite an advanced concept. "If you kids don't behave, I'll threaten you!" He and Barb surely did something right. Naturally, Rose and I are extremely proud of our family, including every single one of our beautiful Lomison nieces and nephews.
Kels also left us with a wonderful sense of the joy and just plain fun that music can bring. I, for one, continue to have a full life of musical enjoyment, thanks in large part, to his influence.
Kels and Barb are people of deep and abiding faith that gave them strength during life's many trials. I know that faith was with him at the end and faith will uphold Barb and the rest of the family as well.
Kels' legacy is spread across Pennsylvania from Orviston to Philadelphia and beyond. Like a mighty river, the life of Kels Lomison is an ever flowing Susquehanna of memories. He will be with us forever.
We now have an angelic ghost rider, a rather large fellow with a booming voice, riding herd over us all.
-With great love,
Dan and Rose Reeder