Saturday, January 19, 2008

Czar Rudy CTM Missionary, A Personal Remembrance of His Untimely Death

It has been many years since the passing of Czar Rudy. His was one of the few death's that reminded me of my own mortality. When you are young you don't really think about death as being personal or a possibility. Czar Rudy's death was a reminder of just how fragile life can really be. When we were missionaries in CTM I remember being at a meeting with Czar where our president, Russell Ballard snapped his fingers and told us that was how quick our lives could be over and that we needed to do something while we were here. I still can see Czar's and the other missionaries who nodded their heads in agreement that day. Czar loved President Ballard deeply and tried to never disappoint him. Even though Czar loved to play hard he loved the Lord and down deep was a pretty straight arrow. I never saw him break the mission rules.

One of the most influential CTM missionaries for me that I remember from my mission was Czar Rudy. He wasn't a flashy missionary like some of the assistants. He was just a genuinely likable guy. He always had a twinkle in his eye. He was a fun loving guy who loved his fellow missionaries. I remember playing Frisbee with him one P-Day in a Park. He didn't play cut throat like other missionaries. One of my first memories of him was playing basketball with three missionaries and some of the members. They loved the guy. He was thin as a rail. When he played basketball he didn't slam his elbows in to your face or chest like other guys. He was a finesse player. He would find an opening and shoot. He seldom fought under the basket for a shot like a few of the other guys.

He knew when to make a point which he seldom had to do so when he spoke you listened to him. It was hard to dislike the guy. He didn't even let leadership positions go to his head like some of the other missionaries I served with. Just being around Elder Rudy brightened up even the dreary days of winter in Canada. I can still see his smiling face. I remember his in his white shirt and tie do the Lord's work bringing an upbeat attitude to all his encountered.

He was pretty conscientious in the work. I remember a time or two going on a split with him. He had good poise and didn't anger easily or voice his frustrations like many missionaries I served with. He was glad to be on a mission and enjoyed himself since missionary service was a joy for him. People at the door were nice to him. I remember him from the time of his being a junior up to zone leader. His ease as a missionary made him a natural leader. I do remember he liked to wear sweater vests with his light colored suit.

After his mission I saw him around the Provo area when I attended BYU. I talked to him a few times in the Cougar Eat. I occasionally ran in to him with his wingman David Hardy who was his inseparable buddy. I knew Czar and Dave had an obsession with skiing. I think Czar worked up at a ski resort. He would tell me about the excitement of skiing on white powder and what a rush he would get. I asked him how he could afford to go skiing several times a week. His job at one the ski resorts gave him a deep discount. Sometimes he skied for free. He invited me to come but I wasn't overly interested in skiing and SLC was too far away for me. I heard about a few of his dates from some BYU coeds. I never could understand it since he and Harding weren't that good looking and debonair but they got more dates than I did. I guess the skiing appealed to the women. Czar had a tan even in the dead of winter and his boyish features gave him a clean cut look that Mormon girls liked.

Czar died in a car crash while traveling back from a skiing outing with his close friend David Harding. Apparently the car flipped over ejecting them. Dave miraculously recovered though the road to recovery was long and painful. It added years to Dave's looks as he went prematurely bald. Czar was not so fortunate being taken home to his Heavenly Father. It was a real shock to my mortality. I only knew one other person when I was in my twenties who had passed on. It took me a while to accept the passing of Czar. I really missed him because I expected great things from him similar to Elder Harding. I still think of him whenever we have our fall mission reunions. I wonder how his life would have turned out if he would have ended up a mission president or bishop or stake president. I wonder sometimes what he is doing in the Spirit World I am sure he is a great missionary. I look forward to running in to him in the the next life.

One of his nieces has a blog Derek& Cammie but they haven't really mentioned him except for his passing. I recently learned of the passing of Czar's mother Micheline Germanangue Rudy. I remember her serenity and warmth when she spoke at Czar's funeral. She had a deep spiritual nature that made his passing bearable. I was really shook up by his untimely death. It was one of the few times that I believed that someone had been called home because they were needed on the other side. I remember her saying something like Czar wasn't perfect since he had a fun loving streak but he was faithful and good son. I actually thought at the time that he a pretty righteous dude and had kept his nose fairly clean. Even Joseph Smith liked to pull sticks and wrestle. Skiing was Czar's release. I remember M. Russell Ballard coming to speak. Most of the CTM missionaries who were anywhere nearby came. There had to have been close to fifty. We all stood around and shared fond memories of a man that was loved by most CTM missionaries.

When I remember Czar Rudy I will always remember that young missionary in a green park with the sun shining, a smile on his face, and his laughter of joy being in the company of fellow missionaries who will always remember him as a friend. I know that Czar Rudy made a difference for many investigators and missionaries in his short time here both in the Canada Toronto Mission and his home ward. I know Elder Ballard was proud to be his mission president as I was to have served with Czar.

I hope that other CTM missionaries and friends will share memories and photographs of Czar. I looked through my stuff but I couldn't find one. I really wanted others to know him and additional comments would be greatly appreciated. This is the best I can do after more than twenty years.

1 comment:

maggie said...

thank you for all your kind words about my brother Czar. i am his little sister. i am doing research in preparing for my trip to visit my mothers family in france and i came across your posing about my brother. you described him very close. we were very close and i miss his peaceful kind loving soul with an outstanding smile. however, i do believe that czar never left me. he has been with me throughout my life. his smile is often seen on my sons faces. like my sons my newphews also have carried on his peacefulness, kindness and spirit. i live at the base of the mountains he so loved and near the canyon he lost his life. we spent a lot of time together at snowbird where he taught his beautiful style of skiing. today i will be skiing snowbird and remembering how it felt skiing behind him... it was like watching an eagle fly down the white fields of snow.
thanks again for remembering my brother... he is special