An Appreciation: Father's faith, focus on education served family well

On February 12, 2009, an extremely amazing man left his family and this world due to complications resulting from a blood clot and subsequent stroke. He was my father, a person whom I loved, respected and cherished dearly. He was a family man, a person who greatly believed in education and most importantly a man of God. Rest in peace dad, I’ll continue to hope, aspire and act in a fashion that can result in me being at least half of the man that you were.
Louis L. Auguste (“Vilaire” to those that knew him, “Hilaire” to those who knew him well) was a man of extreme integrity, love, wisdom kindness and dignity. Born in Jeremie, Haiti to Simeon Auguste and Clairezilla Jean-Charles on June 30, 1927, he completed his primary education at Ecole Des Freres and later traveled to Anse-a-Veau to complete his secondary education. It was there that he developed a keen interest in carpentry and he would subsequently travel to Haiti’s capital of Port-Au-Prince and obtain a certificate in Carpentry from Damien.
You see before finding the Lord, and meeting the woman of his dreams, carpentry was his first love. After a variety of odd jobs working at different casket making companies, he began a 20 year career as a woodsman for The Department of Commerce in Haiti. Sounds like a pretty great life, however a couple of key things were missing.
While he did grow up in the church serving as an altar boy or enfant’d ceur at Eglise St. Louis, my dad didn’t personally accept Christ as his savior until the summer of 1963 at Temple Adventist after countless hours of debate with a great man by the name of Gaston Simon. Frere Simon was the one that got my dad to convert and become a Seventh- Day Adventist. From then on, he fully committed himself to the church and more specifically the work of personnel ministries (or Laiques).
This work would turn to serve him greatly for in 1966 he noticed a beautiful young lady taking part in the personnel ministries prayer groups. He obviously grew fond of her and asked her to join his prayer group. One afternoon while on their way to visit the sick, this woman took ill having suffered an asthma attack. He stayed back to care for her and as we say in the American culture, “the rest is history”.
Her name was Virginie Maumus (my mom). They would eventually fall in love and on April 9, 1970 they got married. Later on that month he left for the United States to begin the groundwork on being a stable provider for his household. He would spend nine lonely months in the states before she arrived, but it was worth it. He spent many nights sharing apartments with friends and moving from place to place. He even took English classes at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, he searched hard for a job and finally found one at The New England Casket Company where he saved enough for 1st and last month rent on an apartment and finally he was ready.
On January 1971 she arrived. Five years later Sadia, Richard and I joined the party. Life in the Auguste household was a rich and fruitful one. I don’t mean to say rich in terms of financial wealth but rather rich in philosophy and purpose. Dictated by my dad, there were two main purposes in life: God and education. He would constantly repeat throughout the years, “I may not leave you much, but I’m leaving you two things, God and education.”
He not only talked that talk, but he walked it as well. Not only was he an outstandingly formally educated man, but more importantly he understood education from a social standpoint as well. I’ll never forget those speeches in the car before we would visit someone. “Songe bien, le ou lans societe et kon sa pou agi…….pa pale fo kon sa….bese voi nous.” This meant you had to be on your best behavior. Although he would still find a way to let us be kids. And speaking of kids, there was no greater joy for my dad than spending time with his grandchildren.
How did he make sure Jesus was a part of our lives? Well, for starters, we woke up to the sound of his voice singing “Des Le Matin Seigneur” and we would all go to bed to singing “O ke ta men parternel eu” on a daily basis.
Saturdays were spent at Temple Salem, where he was one of the founding members 30 plus years ago. He had a great time serving God there. He was both a consecrated deacon and elder. But I think what he enjoyed the most was his work in the personnel ministries department. He loved getting out in the field and speaking with people about God visiting the sick and trying to bring people to the Adventist religion.
I can’t tell you how many of those trips he took me on. I can honestly say I don’t ever remember being too excited about going but I was always amazed at his ability to get people to see things a different way. And equally amazing was witnessing the number of folks that were baptized as a result of what he started. Thirty one years he spent in Boston raising his family and laying the building blocks for Temple Salem. I can honestly say today that he left it in great shape.
In 2002 he left Boston and moved to West Palm Beach with an opportunity to build his first home. It was time for him to get out of the cold and start working on his garden full time. Yeah, he was also a great gardener. Guided by the hands of my uncle Jean-Joseph LaPierre, gardening was something we did every summer growing up, and believe me there was no greater joy for my dad than to get to eat the very vegetables that he harvested. West Palm Beach not only offered him the chance to be closer to family, it gave him a chance to be in that garden every day if he wanted to.
My dad was a great man. His commitment to family, God, church and people was unparalleled. He loved everyone and everyone knew he did. Why was he so great? In my opinion one word can be used to describe him best. “Sagesse,” in other words, wisdom. No matter the circumstance, he would let it shine through. Even if he was upset, you’d sense it. He always thought that no matter the situation, you could appeal to someone’s reasoning. We would disagree on things from time to time but the conversation was very reasonable and in the end you could walk away with peace. That’s why loved him most, because he was a living example of kindness being a virtue. So thanks dad, thanks for the great times, the not so great times, the smiles, the tears, the concern. Thanks for it all. You were a Patriarch in the truest sense of the word. A “father Abraham” of sorts of your family, relatives, friends and church. I’m sure that I speak for the family, friends and everyone else here when I say that we hope to see you when the trumpet sounds.