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Knot Just a Tie 👔: Gerald Wolfe Shares Heartwarming Memories of Mentor Dr. Charles Stanley at Legacy Service

Apr 26, 2023 0 comments

The world mourned the loss of beloved pastor and televangelist Charles Stanley on April 18, but during his moving memorial service on April 23, it was the words of Gerald Wolfe, a member of the Southern Gospel group Greater Vision, that touched many hearts.

No one would have been prouder of this moment than Dr. Stanley, who told the pianist to show his personality when he was a young man. 

Indeed, Wolfe rose to the occasion by delivering a heartfelt tribute that captured the essence of a life spent spreading the love of Jesus Christ. His words reminded everyone of the impact Dr. Stanley had on the world and the legacy he leaves behind.

Gerald Wolfe fought back tears as he shared personal stories and anecdotes about his dear friend, who passed away at the age of 90 on April 18, 2023. In a fitting tribute to Dr. Stanley's life and legacy, Wolfe's words captured the essence of a man who had dedicated his life to spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ.

A special bond

Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision (and former Cathedrals' pianist) recounted how he met Dr. Stanley when he was just 24 years old. 

And Wolfe said the two immediately hit it off. 

Before Wolfe spoke, it was revealed by another speaker that Dr. Stanley was a major fan of Southern Gospel Music and that Greater Vision was his favorite music group.

As he took the stage, Gerald Wolfe said he had a special bond with Charles Stanley.

"I don't know what it was, but we just connected," Wolfe said. "And he was always so kind to me and just unbelievable."

Where did you get that tie?

Wolfe shared a story about a funny encounter he had with Dr. Stanley in his dressing room before a service many years ago. Dr. Stanley was known for being picky about what his guests wore on television, and he immediately called out Wolfe's tie, saying, "Where did you get that tie?" Dr. Stanley asked Wolfe.

Wolfe was surprised as Dr. Stanley added: "That's a dead tie. It doesn't match your personality at all. You need color. You need more color in your ties. You are a colorful personality."

Years later, when Wolfe visited Dr. Stanley following his retirement, the famed pastor remembered their previous encounter and welcomed him with a joke. "Well, I see you finally found a place to get a nice tie," Dr. Stanley said.

Of course, Gerald Wolfe had taken great care to arrive with a "power tie."

Be joyful in everything

But as the conversation continued, Gerald Wolfe began to share a more serious conversation. Dr. Stanley knew Wolfe had a muscle condition that had taken away his ability to sing, and most days, he had trouble speaking. But, despite this, he was. Still, Wolfe said he remained in good spirits.

Then, Gerald Wolfe asked Dr. Stanley how he coped with not preaching since he had retired from the pulpit.

Wolfe shared that he had learned that we don't always get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose how we respond to them.

"We can be bitter, angry, blame somebody else, or we can choose to have joy that's available through the Lord," Wolfe said.

Dr. Stanley agreed, saying, "That's exactly right."

And Wolfe replied: "I know it is. Do you know where I heard that? You [Dr. Stanley] said it over and over."

Celebration for a life well lived

Wolfe expressed his gratitude for Dr. Stanley's life and his work spreading the gospel to millions of people around the world. "When Philip called me Tuesday morning, I tried to imagine, and I couldn't, the faces of the millions of people that he was seeing in heaven that were there because they heard him preach the gospel," Wolfe said. "So I'm going to miss him."

In the end, the memorial service for Dr. Charles Stanley was a beautiful celebration of a life lived fully and well. Through the stories and memories shared by those who knew him best, it was clear that Dr. Stanley lived a life marked by faith, hope, and charity.

As Gerald Wolfe remarked, the world is a better place because of the countless souls who were touched by Dr. Stanley's message of hope, salvation, and redemption.

Though he may be gone from this world, his sermons, books, and teachings live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him and those who were touched by his ministry, as evidenced by the remarkable words of Gerald Wolfe at Dr. Stanley's service.

Gerald Wolfe also picked a unique tie for the memorial service, where he offered the tribute to Dr. Stanley and posted it for everyone to see on Facebook.

Editor's note: May we all strive to emulate the kindness, humility, and grace that defined the life of Dr. Charles Stanley. 

To see more than 150 photos from the service for Dr. Charles Stanley, click here.

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