Dan Lockwood and I met in Dallas, Texas in the mid 1970’s. He was embroiled in his doctoral studies and I was immersed in my masters studies. We had a mutual friend that gave Dan an excuse to invite me to his apartment for a meal. It was a new beginning that would blossom into a professional connection for decades. That’s the way Dan was. Splendidly welcoming and hospitable.
That first meeting set the mood for every conversation that followed. Dan always had a reason to smile and chuckle over something that was germane to our bantering or not. It brought a kind of cheer when others might just erode into a dour melancholy. I liked that about him. That’s the way Dan was.
Years later he contacted me in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was the new Dean at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. We talked about life, chuckled about studies and then he offered me a teaching post at the seminary. He was willing to take a risk on me! That’s the way Dan was. He saw the best in others.
For a decade I thrived under his leadership. First, he was my Dean. Second, he became my president. Both were honored positions for me under his direction and vision.
His cheer never left. Thoughtfully and Biblically he measured his decisions. I marveled at his skillful leadership and ability to move among the generations and personalities that funneled through the Multnomah campus. That’s the way Dan was. He liked people and people liked him.
He let me teach, shepherd and engage our students with great freedom. Building into their lives with creativity and adding extended ministry beyond campus were always smiled upon by Dr. Dan. I loved my stint at Multnomah under Dan’s leadership.
Then, for a decade he and I were colleagues as fellow presidents in theological education. We laughed together, spoke somberly together with understanding and had a quiet moment or two that only presidents can understand. It was fun cheering each other on in His goodness and grace. That’s the way Dan was. Generous in encouragement.
During his last years in his leadership role we happened to find a moment together in San Francisco. We had our normal cheery banter and reflection over God’s blessings. Then, he spoke about his hardest year ever while in the Lord’s service. That was the closest he got to complaining. No one would have ever heard a tone of regret, fussing or grumpiness in his voice. There were no names or actions of others that were maligned. That is the way Dan was. Superior in graciousness.
Dan is now with the Savior forever. He left this earth with an impact on so many lives. Each of us will spread the cheer and joy that he deposited into us. That’s the way Dan was.
photo credit: Multnomah University photo