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6/5/97 Jarrell, Texas, says goodbye to Larry, Joan Igo, family

GEORGETOWN, Texas (BP)–The five silver-gray caskets were lined end to end at the front of the auditorium of First Baptist Church, Georgetown, Texas.
John and Paul were on one end. The 15-year-old twins were so identical it was easy to mix them up. They sang in the choir at First Baptist Church, Jarrell, and played basketball, football and ran track at Jarrell High School. They would have been sophomores at JHS.
Next was Audrey, 17, a musician, a beautiful teenager. She was practicing to become church pianist and would have been a senior at nearby Jarrell High School next year. She was already planning to study music the University of North Texas.
Mother Joan Topham Igo, 45, was next. A teacher in Jarrell schools, she was active in church and community and had been the Acteen leader for the small church at the heart of town.
Larry Igo, 46, was at the head of his family, in death as in life. Deacon, Sunday school worker, music leader, do-anything worker, stalwart of the church.
More than 950 people came to the Georgetown church Saturday afternoon, May 31, to say goodbye to the Igos. They came from the many constituencies into which the Igos fit: school friends, fellow school teachers, church members, townspeople, family, classic Chevy enthusiasts.
“I do not know of a thing good in our community that this family wasn’t involved in,” said Max Johnson, pastor of First Baptist, Jarrell. “Joan was not only a leader in the church but a leader in the community, as well. Whenever something was moving in our town, she was usually pushing it.”
The Igos died together the afternoon of May 27, when a Force 5 tornado destroyed their home in the Double Creek Estates subdivision about a mile west and slightly south of Jarrell, a hamlet of 400 about 40 miles north of Austin on Interstate 35.
“This is a tough time, a tough time for all of us,” said James Haskell, pastor of the Georgetown congregation where Larry Igo’s mother and father are members.
“But we do not come today with the grief of those who do not have assurance in Christ Jesus. We come today with confidence. We come today with the joy and celebration … . We come today to remember … to affirm that which Larry and Joan and Audrey and John and Paul believed and stood for … that they lived out in their lives.
“We come today to find comfort from our Lord and to comfort one another with the comfort we receive from him,” Haskell said.
John Warden, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Salado, had served as a deacon in the Jarrell church with Igo. He led the singing during the memorial service, which featured the well-known hymns “Amazing Grace” and “Victory in Jesus.”
“Larry always used to gripe at me when I had a song service and we did not sing all of the verses,” Warden said. “Today, we will sing all of the verses.”
He added, “Larry and Joan and the kids would not want this (service) to stress so much a recognition of death as a celebration of life.”
After reading a brief biography of each Igo, Haskell said the “few brief sentences do not form the totality of the lives of those we have come to celebrate. (The Igos) transcended what they did at school and work, and in the community, and because they transcended what they did, their lives transcend death.”
He said at some point in time each of them was presented with the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. “Each of them not only accepted, each of them not only applied the faith that they had in the Lord Jesus Christ, but their lives were different because of it.”
Haskell said there are “a lot of questions being asked … and to be honest, I don’t know the answer to those questions. But I do know three things.”
In measured tones, Haskell said: “I do know that God did not do what you saw happen in Jarrell. God is not a God who would perform such an act. Could God have detoured that tornado? Certainly. Why didn’t he do it? I don’t know.
“But God is not the author of that kind of tragedy.”
The pastor said while “God didn’t do it, he was right there in the middle of it. In the last moments of their life on this earth, the Igos were not only together with each other, but they were there with God.”
The third thing that “I can tell you for sure is that God offers (each of) you the opportunity of comfort and rest in him.”
Johnson, pastor of the Jarrell church 17 years, called the Igos a “family of love” and said he has been asked how their deaths will affect the small church.
“It will affect the deacon leadership, the music leadership, Sunday school, the teaching, youth workers, youth group members, the quality of our solos, trios, quartets, quintets, the level of our volunteerism.
“This family represented Bible study leaders, Vacation Bible School, and the list goes on and on and on. Our church is small and we leaned on the Igos very heavily.”
Johnson said the event teaches that life is uncertain and very temporary and urged his listeners to “be prepared because… who knows when the storm will come.”
He told the mourners “at the place where the Igo home once stood, some kittens were found. The family recognized the kittens as part of the Igo house pets and caught them and nurtured them and are going to keep them.
“There is surviving after the storm. Keep faith. Trust in God and prepare for the day when the storm will come. There is only one way to prepare, and that is by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”

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  • Dan Martin