Bud and I had grown together over the years. I knew how he thought, and what he expected. His pastoral leadership style, and then his AACS leadership role, were definitely different than his college administrative style and responsibilities. Especially different was relating to the large staff of the college that was divided into many departments. His expectations for student workers and hourly staff workers caused frustration many times to him. I tried at times to get ahead of problems, but that didn’t always work when immature students and inexperienced workers fell short of his expectations.
I knew that Doc Weniger lived by his daily “to do” task list. The night before he would write out his tasks for the following day on a yellow legal pad, and he would pursue those tasks with a singular focus. It was not a good sign when he went out of his office, armed with his yellow pad, looking for a staff person. In time I made him aware of how people were sometimes intimidated and overwhelmed by his forceful personality and stern direction. Sometimes his forceful intervention and correction was warranted, and other times it was not – but the average staff worker just didn’t know how to respond.
After I called attention to him about this problem, to his credit, he called a meeting of all the staff and acknowledged that frustration and anger arose at times in his response to staff. I believe there was improvement after that, but it was a reality of his powerful ways. Many leaders do not realize how forceful they are in personality. Bud had grown into this persona over many years of carrying the load of leadership. He carried some heavy burdens that contributed, in my opinion, to the building of stress in his life. For years I considered him as the person most capable to handle stress. I’ve come to the opinion that maybe I was wrong about that all along. He was a gifted leader; but he was human, and he was susceptible to stress.
The pressures of caring for Marilyn for many years, plus the burdens of leading the institution – especially not being able to please all the constituencies – and the weight of budgets and financial realities took its toll on him. In his later life circumstances and decisions brought him heartache and disappointments. He ultimately slipped into dementia and my last contacts with him were phone calls where he was upbeat, but struggled to remember things and seemed to focus on some simple pleasures of life.
I prefer to remember him as the animated cheerleader at MBBC athletic events; and his engaging interaction with students, children, church members, college patrons and friends, and a host of God’s servants from across the country who knew him for his leadership contributions.
- He was a man of native intelligence. Smart and well trained, in addition to being capable of interacting with educational and political leaders, as well as construction workers and church members.
- He was a man who was consistently responsible. He was absolutely committed to his calling, family, job, ministry, and the tasks of the day.
- He was a man of incredible stamina. When we traveled together, and after we came home from a trip, I could not ever attain his energy and stamina. That used to bother me. Now, I realize it was his gift.
- He was a man of unfailing determination. His dedication to planning was legendary, and a dogged determination to complete the project or task marked his life.
Later in life I was influenced by my dear friend and colleague Frank Hamrick. Frank taught me to see the Scriptures through a God focused perspective. He emphasized that the Bible does not present to us great men, but a great God – albeit a God who gifts, empowers, and uses men to accomplish His work. My friend Bud was greatly used by a great God. For this we can be grateful.
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