(From the Service on) July 6, 2003


Thank you all for coming today. We are here to pay homage and tribute to William Erskine Ogden, husband, father, and friend. 

Grandpa, uncle. Teacher, stamp collector, storyteller. Loved by us all.

Most of us knew his nickname, Snick. He was called "Snicklefritz" when he was a boy, after a pudgy little blonde cartoon character, and the name stuck. He was called "Snick" as a nickname his entire life. 

Many of his friends called him “Bill,” but if anyone called on the phone and asked for William, we knew it was a telemarketer.

Snick was born in Jacksonville in 1923, and moved to Long Island New York with his family about age 6. They returned to Jacksonville when Snick was about 17, just in time for him to get acquainted with a young ingénue named Grace Campbell Megran, and to graduate from Robert E. Lee High School.

Right after high school, he went to the University of Florida, where he spent 2 years--until he was drafted.

While he was in the service, he lost touch with Grace Megran. Besides, Grace had other interests. She went off to college in Tallahassee.

Snick spent 4 years in the Army, serving in the U.S. and in the Philippines. He decided the Army wasn’t the career for him, so he got out when WWII was over.

He returned to work in his father’s office machinery business in Jacksonville. As luck would have it, a sweet young thing named Grace Megran was also working in Jacksonville, at a photography studio. Snick found out about it and looked her up.

Snick and Grace got married in 1948.

However, they were betrothed at birth! Here's that story.

Their Moms were close friends before they were born. They played bridge together every week. Jane Ogden had a baby boy, and Grace Megran said “You had a little boy? Wonderful! I’ll have the little girl and they can get married when they grow up.” They never told Snick and Grace until their wedding day.

Snick always wanted to be a teacher, so he and Grace moved to Gainesville in 1952, where Snick finished his degree, majoring in speech and drama. He did so well he was inducted into Florida Blue Key (the UF equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa) and the University of Florida Acting Hall of Fame for his work in drama.

Snick and Grace moved into special temporary housing, built for WWII veterans coming back to school. Bill came along in April of 1952, and suddenly it was no longer “the two of us.” They were a family.

Jan arrived in 1954, while Snick was working part-time as a milkman and attending school. Jan still remembers riding to nursery school with him in the milk truck, sitting on a crate of coooold milk bottles.

The family moved from Gainesville to Fort Lauderdale in 1958, where they bought a house in Melrose Park. Yes, the same one as now, but 45 years ago.

Snick was always the consummate storyteller. Son Bill remembers going on camping trips as a Boy Scout, with Dad along as a scout leader. Snick was famous among the boys and the leaders as telling riveting stories around the campfire. Usually after one of Snick’s stories, the leaders didn’t have to worry about the boys wandering around in the woods at night.

Snick taught in the public school system for 23 years. He taught English and was involved in drama and many other activities.

As anyone who knew Snick is aware, he was a stamp collector his entire life.  After retiring from teaching, he made stamp collecting into his full time avocation.

He vastly enjoyed his work with stamps, and loved the friends he made and enjoyed the stamp shows he went to through this occupation.

We are all going to miss him terribly.

This is a time of joy and celebration as well as sadness and mourning. Thank you all for your prayers in this time.

First, we should offer prayers of joy and thankfulness that Snick is received into the arms of our Lord. Thankfulness that we had the joy and honor of knowing him as family and friend. Thanks also for the happiness he gave and experienced during his eighty years here on this earth.

Also, let us pray for reassurance and comfort for Grace, for Jan, for Bill, and for all of us who knew and loved him.

Finally, let us pray for courage.

Courage for all of us who face mortality: our own and that of our loved ones. Courage to be confident in salvation, in the life eternal we shall know when this life is done.

Courage enough to share with others in their times of need.

It's an odd contradiction, this time of joy and bereavement. No matter how much you prepare, no matter how much you know it's coming some day, it's always a shock. You’re never truly ready.

Thank you all for your prayers, your concern, and especially for your love.  It is heartwarming to have such as you in our lives. 

Thank you for being here today.