12 January 2018

"goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to they rest."

David Meggs Pipes
27 November 1948 - 3 January 2018
David Meggs Pipes was the eldest child of Charles David Pipes and Betty Meggs Pipes. He was born November 27, 1948, in Fort Worth, Texas. The family would grow to include two sisters Mary Nel, Melinda Beth, and a brother, Bryan Charles.  Charles Pipes was recalled to active duty for the Korean War and the family moved frequently with U.S. Air Force Duty assignments. David said that home was wherever his parents were and the church was their extended family in San Antonio, New Mexico, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, California, the Philippines, and Abilene.

David started school in Roswell, New Mexico where he chased lizards and became an avid reader. Young David dreamt much of sailing ships and heroic naval battles with the historical Admiral Horatio Nelson and the fictional Captain Horatio Hornblower. While in Puerto Rico the family enjoyed a cruise culminating in a passage through the Panama Canal and, to his dismay, David suffered sea sickness. Always able to make the best of a bad situation, he spent his days in the library where an older gentleman taught him to play chess. Later in high school, the chess club became a fun diversion and David formed life-long friendships with his fellow club members. Many years later, he won the competitions to represent Rice University at the NCAA chess tournament.

Upon leaving Puerto Rico, the family was stationed back in California where David was baptized into Christ Jesus and learned leadership skills for public speaking from a dedicated Christian mentor whom David emulated as he mentored young men in his church. David graduated from Ramona High School in Riverside in 1966, as a National Merit Scholar. Immediately afterward the family was stationed in the Philippines and Charles was flying into Viet Nam.

In September 1966, David arrived in Houston to attend Rice University. He started as a "Hanszen gentleman" and was among the upperclassman who volunteered to move to the new college where he was a member of Lovett's constitutional committee. During these college years David joined the Rice Players as a stage hand and had roles in Hamlet and School for Scandal. He often assisted Andrea Castles (later Engle) in Brown College theater productions including The Second Shepherd's Pageant. He earned pocket money as a Physics grader and tutored Rice Basketball players. A gifted teacher, David  tutored a host of friends at Rice and many young people through the decades. David played a lot of bridge both on campus and duplicate on Friday nights with his regular bridge partner, Keith McGregor.  While in graduate school, he was in Army R.O.T.C. serving as Executive Officer.

David began attending the Central Church of Christ in 1966 and was an active member of their college group.  Except for the three years he spent in the U.S. Army, David lived in Houston and worshiped with this church for 50 years, half of the 100 years we will celebrate this coming weekend.

 In September 1967, David met K Cummings at Central’s college welcome party in the home of Terry and Beverly Koonce. It took him a couple of weeks to persuade K to go to a football game with him but almost from that moment they were a couple. They ate both lunch and dinner together most days and attended various campus events together. When David’s parents came to visit at Lovett College, they were told “he spends all of his time over at Brown with K Cummings.” David and K fell in love working with the children at Central's Drew Street Mission, at college devotionals in the home of R.L. and Jean Sanders, and at the Sunday night spaghetti dinners served to college students in Central’s fellowship hall which is now The Black Lab restaurant. Eating at the site of so many happy memories remained a special treat.

David earned three degrees from Rice University: Bachelor of Arts in 1970, Master of Chemical Engineering in 1971, and Master Science (Environmental Science and Engineering) in 1974. His was one of the first environmental degrees issued. David and K continued to be actively involved at Rice and are members of The Owl Club and Friends of Fondren.

David and K were married on September 4, 1971. When David completed his graduate work, he served his country in the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency. During that time, he developed many standards for water treatment, including the famous “Pipes sniff test” as the first indicator of a well-run plant. He would sometimes introduce himself, “Pipes the name; sewers the game.”  While stationed in Maryland, David and K worshiped and taught children and David chaired the benevolence committee at Aberdeen Church of Christ.  Not long ago, the elders of that church thanked him for his influence in Men’s Business Meetings, creating an atmosphere of peace and forgiveness. David’s stories of the Central Church in Houston had been “instrumental in teaching what a good eldership might be. Remarkable wisdom in a young man.”

Having completed his military service, David and K returned to Houston in 1976 to enjoy the benefits of being close to Rice and to take up again the work of teaching a generation and a half of children of Southwest Central Church, where he served as a Deacon and then an Elder.

As a graduate student, David had worked on a consulting project for S& B Engineers and Constructors. Upon learning that David was job interviewing in Houston, Dr. Bill Brookshire offered him a position and in 1976 David began his career with S&B Engineers and Constructors where he would become a Principal Process Engineer in a department that is ably led by his brother and best friend, Bryan. David loved engineering and mentored many young engineers. He was honored to be awarded the company's S.A.B.E.R.--Safety, Attitude, Best Practices, Excellence, Reliability. 

During a recent interview with a doctor about his goals for treatment, David listed three things: “be at home with K, worship with my church, and get back to work at S&B so I can be with my friends.”
David, age 69, died Wednesday, January 3, 2018, while a patient at M. D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he was cared for with great kindness by the nursing staff.

David is survived by his wife of 46 years, K Cummings Pipes, who held his hand through this life’s journey, by his dear mother, Betty, by his brother Bryan and his wife Dee, by his sisters, Beth Cook and Mary Nel McLane and her husband Charles, by nieces, nephews, God children, extended family, and a host of friends.

Honorary pallbearers:  his nephews, Josh Gregory and his son Tilson, Kendall Cummings II, Bryan McLane, James McLane, Carl Sinkule, Damon Easter, Joseph Niles, and David’s namesake, David Michelletti.

 Do not “mourn as others do who have no hope.”  
1 Thessalonians 4:13—Weymouth New Testament

A memorial service was officiated by Steve Sargent, 8 January 2018, at Southwest Central Church of Christ, 4011 W. Bellfort, Houston, TX.

{The sounds of weeping and wailing are not from me or his family. Our church is culturally diverse and David, as a shepherd of the flock, was much loved and is deeply mourned my his extended church family.}

At his memorial service, his brother-in-law, Jack Gregory,  offered these words:

"On behalf of the Pipes family, “Thank you!”  Thank you for the overwhelming support offered to K through the past difficult months.  “Thank you” for your attendance here at David’s memorial service today.  And “Thank you” for helping us honor God as we honor David.
Just a couple of days ago I read a short blog about prayer that has impacted my thinking and, I hope, will impact my prayers in the future.  It’s amazing how one simple word can radically change my prayer life.
For those of us that live life on this side of heaven, our prayers are so often centered on “us” – on the needs and wants that we face in our daily lives and not so often on the eternal.  Without a doubt, many of you have joined me in praying for David’s healing through this “battle” that he has been fighting for the past year especially.  We have all prayed in earnest and with a great deal of hope and faith that David would be healed physically – that he and his situation would become “better” . . .
And here is that one little word . . . that one little change in my prayer: 
Instead of praying “Lord, make this BETTER” maybe I need to pray . . .
“Lord, make this COUNT!”
God, David is dying.  Make the leukemia go away if possible.  BUT don’t just make it better, make it COUNT!  Make this time be about YOU and YOUR kingdom.
That is exactly what David knew was important – exactly what he understood when he read (or when he asked K to read to him) Psalm 130.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; 
2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 
5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, yes, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 

On New Year’s Eve, K heard David, in his sleep, say “I’m dying.  No unanswered prayers!” 
He wanted us to know that our prayers for healing WERE NOT unanswered prayer just because he died.  Just the opposite is true . . .
He knew that, IT COUNTED!  He had full faith that “because of his life, he knew his death would COUNT for God’s kingdom here on earth”.  He knew it would count for his precious church family here in this building.  He trusted that lives . . . OUR lives would be eternally affected and affirmed in the promise of eternity with God.
I thank God for hearing our prayers and answering each of them fully.

I love the phrase “In the Fullness of Time”. . .
For David, it IS BETTER!  And for each of us . . . Now – in the fullness of time – IT COUNTS!
Prayer . . .