Before I launch into Bret’s testimony, I need all of you to know the significance of this day. Five years ago, to the day, at about this time, I received the dreaded phone call that many of you received on November 13, 2011. My best friend, Tina Schultz’ husband, Michael, died of a sudden heart attack at the
on December 3, 2006. Along with the
Mersereau family, our three families grew up in church together, and we and our
children became best friends along the way.
This road we have traveled together just keeps getting longer, it
seems. Tehachapi Hospital
Shortly after Mike’s appointment with God, Bret and I talked about the verse in Psalms about how God becomes a father to the fatherless and a protector of the widow. I asked him if he would commit to this Biblical principal with me, and also the one in James 1:27, that states, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” My amazing husband took up the call. We did our best to walk this lonely road with Tina, Daniel, David, and Angela, and Bret lived out those verses in Psalms and James, by taking care of Tina and her kids, no matter what they needed. So the implication of this day is not lost on our Heavenly Father. He had already written our story before we were ever born, and all He ever asked us to do is to trust in Him and rely on Him for the strength to obey and honor Him.
Bret must have been born already knowing who he was. It has been truly endearing to hear all of you depict his “aura” in so many different ways. Here are the ones I actually remember: “genuine, ‘it,’ the real deal, example, model, special, fair, kind, loyal, unique, had ‘a presence.’” When we were dating in college, Bret was a bus route leader and bus driver in Chicago Heights, IL, and he would visit homes and pick up children and bus them back and forth to the enormous First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN. The associate pastor in charge of the bus ministry thirty years ago described Bret as being “distinguished.” However, I think my most favorite recent explanation for his uniqueness was that he had a “Troneness” about him. This description is very apropos, since he sort of “osmosised” it from his father, Douglas Mac Trone (Who was named after General Douglas MacArthur, by the way.).
Born and raised in Colorado and Wyoming, Bret spent a lot of time traveling over the Rockies, hunting, fishing, and camping with family and friends. It was on one of these Colorado trips with his parents and aunt and uncle that his family’s lives were forever changed. Bret and his brothers were traveling with his dad and mom over Slick Rock, and his Aunt Kathryn and Uncle James were following them in a Ford Mustang, with his four year old sister, Brenda. The brakes on the Mustang gave out, and their car went over a cliff. Bret’s aunt broke her neck, barely survived, and his sister died before they got her to the hospital. The anguish and grief of this event is what caused Bret’s dad and mom and aunt and uncle to receive Christ as their Savior, within weeks of each other. From that day on, they dedicated themselves to raising their families in a Godly manner and teaching them about the importance of salvation and Biblical values.
Bret’s dad was one of the original founders of the Wyoming Technical Institute in
and an amazing mechanic. He infused in
the boys a profound work ethic, and they all learned amazing skills from
him. Pretty much, Bret and his brothers
can fix and do anything! They all had
jobs working at the institute and around the town Laramie from a young
age. It was at Wyoming Tech that Bret
actually received Christ as his Savior.
He and his brothers did janitorial work and office work for his dad. Laramie, Wyoming
He told me about this experience when we were dating, and I asked him to share it with Jonathon and Deanna when they were growing up, on more than one occasion. One night, at the age of thirteen, he said he had one of the scariest moments of his life, while he was cleaning a room at Wyoming Tech. For some reason, his entire family and some friends were all there after hours. Anyway, Bret said it got very quiet, and he felt this ominous feeling, like something had happened. He started running all over the school calling out for his dad and mom, brothers, and friends, and NO ONE answered. He checked everywhere, and all the rooms were empty. After looking for them for what seemed forever, he became convinced that the rapture had occurred, and the Lord had come back to take His children to Heaven. Bret was sure he had been left behind! So he got down on his knees and asked Jesus to save him right then and there. Shortly after that, his missing family and friends showed up. I never did get the skinny on where they had been all that time!
Bret’s relationship with Christ, after receiving Him as Savior was what made him the man that he was. Without Christ, it would be impossible for Bret to be the kind of son, husband, dad, brother, family member, friend, Captain, boss, or employee you remember him to be. Yes, Bret was an amazing man, and the proof of that is in the wonderful outpouring of people who are here today for his memorial…but Christ is even more amazing. Bret knew this, and though he was somewhat quiet and reserved, his life spoke louder than words. So when you think of Bret moving forward, don’t forget to consider His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He would want you to know Him personally.