A friend died recently. His name was Carl Pendlebury and he was a strong presence in my life. He would be surprised to hear that, as I am surprised to realize the gift I have lost.

Many other people in Lewiston and Auburn were touched by Carl. For years, he was a familiar sight, riding his bike in town and on the road to Turner, in all kinds of weather.

He loved freedom, above all things.

Many who recognize his name will be health care and welfare professionals who struggled to help him maintain his independence.

I met him through work in health care and that relationship became a friendship that continued for more than 20 years.

Carl was part of our church family at Calvary United Methodist Church. When able, he would ride his bike to church.

For many years, he was a grateful recipient of our Thanksgiving Day baskets. When his health improved, he was at church, helping to prepare meals for others. He was a cheerful presence, with a smile that would warm any heart.

He loved country music and had a deep faith in God which, in his world, complemented each other.

As the years passed, he became more dependent on the “system,” as we tried to keep him safe. His independent spirit made it difficult at times, but always that gentle, loving spirit would shine through his demeanor and remind us why we loved him.

I learned a lot about grace and courage from Carl.

Penny Goodwin, Lewiston

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