In every church I’ve served, not long after I arrived, a dear and beloved member dies that I didn’t get the chance to know as well as I would have liked.  I would have loved to have known Bob Ingram better before he went to be with the Lord on Tuesday.  Mr. Ingram in on the front row middle of the picture to the right.

Mr. Ingram was a hero for his nation.  He served in World War II in the U. S. Army, 78th Infantry Division and was discharged in October 1945 with a Bronze Star Medal and a Combat Infantry Badge. He served with a unit that was awarded the Presidential Citation with five battle stars as a result of a 128 days of actual combat on German soil.  Thank you Mr. Ingram!

Mr. Ingram owned East Lake Auto Sales in Birmingham, Alabama from 1953 to 2008.  He was a unique man in the like new auto sales business.  He operated on the principal, “We sale to sale again.”  This means he didn’t cut corners on like new cars.  He took care of his customers with integrity.  He ran his business according to Christian principals… and God blessed him.  He had a stellar reputation all over Alabama and the nation for being the kind of like new car salesman that could be trusted.  He was a man that always showed class.  In fact, advised his children and grandchildren to “always show class”, work hard, and value education at every level.

But greater than those things, Mr. Ingram was a man of God.  He was one of those rare individuals who loved God… loved God’s people… worked to protect the unity of the congregation (In his case, Huffman Baptist Church)… and he loved every one of his pastors.  Understand that the last phrase is special to me because I was his pastor when he went to be with Jesus.

Mr. Ingram was a man who protected his pastors.  He was their friend.  He supported them.  He loved them.  He encouraged them.  He was on their side.  He was a buffer for them in difficult times.  Virutlally every Sunday he would find me… shake my hand… and say, “You’re doing a good job preacher!”  Those words meant a lot to a pastor just started out at a new church.  Mr. Ingram is one of those people who went to be with Jesus before I got to know him very well.  He’s one of those about whom I say, “I wish I had known him when…”  Bob Ingram will be missed by many.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 64 years, Catherine Godwin Ingram. He was a generous and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.  He is survived by his two daughters, Kay I. Worley (Tom) and Fay I. Shannon (Vince); son, Robert Ray Ingram, Jr. (Carla); seven grandchildren, John Clayton Shannon, Vincent Luke Shannon, Thomas Ingram Worley (Jennie), Lacie Ingram Luft (Daniel), Millicent Worley Ronnlund (Robby), Kaylee Rebecca Ingram, Robert Ray Ingram, III; and great granddaughter, Scarlett Marie Worley. He is also survived by his sisters, Stella Ingram Gamble (Billy T.), and Annie Ingram Tidwell (J.D.); and brothers, Mark B. Ingram (Eula), and Dave C. Ingram (Doris).