A Last Top of the Morning to You…. Remembering a Friend

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Just a short note today to share something that is probably more important than most things that I write because it deals with loving people, remembering friends, and appreciating those people who we are blessed to have in our lives.

We lost a member of our Staff College family yesterday, Mike LeBarge. Mike was a devoted husband and father, a dear friend to many, a beloved co-worker, and a huge New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fan. Mike was a man who brought much joy to everyone who knew him. Over the past three and a half years I had come to love and appreciate him. He would greet me with “Top of the morning to you!” and the reply of course would be “and the rest of the day to you!” If I saw him first it would be reversed. He was that way with everyone. I always appreciated his visits to me in my office or just running into him in the building. We were almost the same age, he was just a little bit older than me, but you wouldn’t have known it to look at him. Last week he told me that I was going to have him around for a long time as he had just been given a clean bill of health. I felt like I knew vicariously knew his son and family through the photo albums he would bring to show them off. We talked sports, politics, religion, and life. He always had a joke, some about the clergy and the church, which if you know me at all, you know that I appreciate more than almost anything as all too often the clergy and the church are a joke.

Mike was our locksmith at the Staff College. He was a career civil servant, a man who like many career Civil Servants loved his job and was committed to excellence. He could have retired a number of years ago but he loved his job.

I had just talked to him Wednesday afternoon, our usual banter, as well as him getting a big cart to help me move my vast number of books from my office. I had just moved the first four containers of books to my car on it yesterday afternoon, passing his office. I got the message of his death when I was on the way to drop them off at my new office where I will transfer in about 20 days. I turned from that mission to get back to the college and begin to work with our staff to take care of them, and his family. I’ll be doing more of that this morning.

I know that I am kind of rambling, but what I want to say to all of my here is I appreciate you, and please tell those around you that you love and appreciate them. Life is too short not to.

Have a good weekend,


Padre Steve+


Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, shipmates and veterans

4 responses to “A Last Top of the Morning to You…. Remembering a Friend

  1. Kath

    Dear Padre ~~ Today must seem surreal as you help his family and friends while you struggle with the same loss especially having the little nugget he shared tucked away in your mind. . You were sharing your feeling of shock which isn’t rambling at all and we have all surely been there, or will be. If sending hugs through this little box worked then there would be a loving and empathetic one for you to pluck out of here. And incidentally, this is the one year anniversary of my (Navy, WWII) father’s death which I am trying to process. Isn’t that what life is — dealing with what we are given each day the best we can, hopefully with kindness and compassion to others as well as ourselves, some days being easier than others. Today seems to be In the tougher category and wishing you strength received back from those you are helping. (As your blog has helped me.)
    Sending condolences for your special buddy…

  2. Padre,

    It is so tough to lose our friends. All my prayers to Mike’s family and to all of his friends and co-workers. Thank you for sharing a small part of his life with the world so that his memory can live on. I can’t help but think that your time was extended by God so that you could be there to comfort Mike’s family and to your co-workers. You are the right man in the right place doing the right work and I pray for you as you do what you can to make their lives better.

    Top of the morning to you Sir!


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