31 Dec Sermon Snap Shot December 30, 2018
One of my role models for what a good life looks like is Joe Lesesne. If you know Frank and Amy Lesesne here locally – they own and operate the Anchorage Inn – Frank and Joe are cousins. Frank’s grandfather and Joe’s father were brothers.
Joe Lesesne was President of my alma mater, Wofford College, during my time there. Given the student body size and my involvement with some leadership roles on campus, I got to know Joe quite well. He was as kind and down to earth as you can be as a college president.
Born in 1937, Joe graduated from Erskine College in 1959, where his dad was president. While at Erskine Joe was a star student-athlete as well. He went on to USC where he completed his Masters in History a few years later. After a couple of years teaching and coaching in high school, Joe was hired as an assistant professor of History at Wofford. Within another year he would complete his PhD from USC and would hold a series of other positions within the College – assistant Dean of the College, Director of Development and eventually Dean of the College, similar to a Provost at other schools.
Finally, in 1972 Joe was named President of Wofford, a role that he would fill for the next 28 years until the year 2000. Now by this time, Joe was 63 years old. He had given the best years of his life – 36 years total – to Wofford. It would have made perfect sense for Joe to ride off into the sunset, to enjoy his retirement in a beautiful place like Hilton Head or Beaufort. But what did Joe decide to do?
He went to Wofford’s football coach, Mike Ayers, and asked him for a job. And he was hired. For three years, he served as tight ends coach before taking over as Director of Football Operations. He served in this role for another twelve years before finally transitioning into the role of Advisor to Ayers and other coaches. Fifty-six years later, he continues to play a meaningful role at Wofford and in the Spartanburg community at large.
You remember the saying, “I wanna be like Mike!” Well, as I grow older I wanna be like Joe who, like Simeon and Anna, embodied hope by believing that God could still use them…even in their old age.
From Sunday, December 30 message based on Luke 2:21-40, “The Hope of Simeon and Anna”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC