A Eulogy for Ronald Jay Baynes (1959-2021)
Ronald Jay Baynes
May 27, 1959 - November 21, 2021
A Eulogy by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda
Offered at Sylvania Funeral Home of Savannah, Inc., Chapel on December 4, 2021
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)
“6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Today we are gathered in loving memory of Ronald Jay Baynes: a loving husband, brother, father, grandfather, friend, and more. Mr. Baynes passed away too young and too soon for our liking, but he did live a full and faithful life. Even as we grieve our loss of his presence, we can give thanks to God that he was a part of our lives.
I knew Ronald primarily through his brother Donald. The two of them have been members of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church for decades, since they were children. I have heard so many stories about the two of them serving together on the altar as acolytes under Fr. Caution and Fr. Nevels. They carried the crosses and the gospel books, they rang the bells during Holy Communion, and they got into their fair share of mischief with the other young people up front.
When they weren’t serving in church, or attending school, they could be found playing sports together. The two of them were stellar athletes. Ronald was especially well-known as a boxer, which is why I chose that passage from 2 Timothy that I read earlier. Ronald Baynes didn’t just fight his way to a golden glove. He “fought the good fight.” He spent his life caring for his family, raising children, serving his country, and earning an honest living, all while being kind and generous to all.
The last couple of years had been especially hard. Mr. Baynes never truly got over the death of his beloved wife, Patricia. He dealt with health problems stemming from a stroke he suffered earlier this year. Life isn’t easy. Everyone is dealing with a lot. But God never leaves or forsakes us. God remains faithful to us in good times and in bad ones. Our Lord Jesus is the Righteous Judge, and our Lord Jesus is loving, kind, and gracious.
Nobody leads a perfect life, but we can trust in Jesus to forgive and to heal our wounds, especially as we near the end. In the meantime, all we can do is keep running the race faithfully, keep trusting God to guide our steps and do the next faithful thing. For us, right now, that means honoring the life and legacy of Ronald Baynes, acknowledging our grief, pain, and even anger, and laying it all at the feet of Jesus. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, and he has a crown of righteousness prepared for all of us who wait faithfully for him.
Let us pray:
Father of all, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer, especially Ronald Jay Baynes: Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will. O Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with all of us who mourn; that, casting all our cares on you, we may know the consolation of your love; all this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
*** Final prayer adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, pp. 504-505.