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My Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We created it in August 2012 to keep family and friends updated on Carl's cancer journey. Carl lost his battle with cancer and went to his heavenly home on January 23, 2013. We appreciate your words of love here on the Guestbook. Click on Read My Story below for additional info. Thank you. - Marilyn, Greg, Lynée, Matthew, Braden, Camden, Justina, & Brandt

Carl had a melanoma cancer spot removed on his arm, along with the sentinel lymph nodes, in 2009. The lymph nodes were checked and cleared of all possible melanoma. As we've now learned, melanoma microbes can go undetected, skip lymph nodes, or remain dormant for years, lying in wait to metastasize...

Fast forward three years to July and August 2012. A kidney stone scan revealed nearby swollen lymph nodes, and a biopsy was recommended. The biopsy results showed a mass of melanoma in those lymph nodes. Carl's oncologist immediately ordered MRI and PET scans. Both showed 3 melanoma cancer tumors in his brain (2 large, 1 small). The PET scan showed lymph node areas affected by melanoma in the torso area. Surgery to extract the 2 large brain tumors occured on 8/21/2012, and Stereotactic RadioSurgery (a one-time pin-point radiation) for the smaller tumor on 9/12/2012.  Additional brain tumors found by MRI were radiated 10/24/2012. At the CU Anschutz Cancer Center Melanoma Clinic, Carl underwent three months of IV systemic immunodrug therapy as the only treatment option given, as standard chemo and radiation have not medically proven to be successful at this stage.

“'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His word;

Just to rest upon His promise;

Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,

How I've proved Him o'er and o'er,

Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more.

”Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for His own ends." - Carl's life verse

My Dad was born on October 27, 1940, in Meade, Kansas, to a Mennonite pastor and school teachers, Jacob and Mary, who were also farmers. Dad is proud of his farm roots! He has two older sisters, Gerry and Pauline. After moving to various states, the family settled in Reedley, CA, near Fresno. That's when he met my mom...they were 12!

Dad spent two years studying music at Biola University in S.CA (my alma mater), and the last two at Tabor College in KS. He and my mom were married on August 11, 1961, between their jr and sr years of college. They both graduated from Tabor and went on to graduate school, my dad for music and my mom for elem ed. They ended up in Baltimore, MD, in 1966 where my Dad received his Doctorate in Music degree at Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins Univ. While he was studying there, he was Director of Admissions, Opera Director, and Voice Prof, along with singing opera and oratorio roles with many different companies.

I was born in 1969 and Greg in 1977 in Baltimore. In 1979, we moved to Louisville, KY, where Dad began the Sacred Music Drama program at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was there that he had inspiration to write and publish his book "Sacred Music Drama: The Producer's Guide." In 1983, we moved to Greeley, CO, where Dad took over as Director of Opera Theater, Voice Prof, and Graduate Student Advisor at the University of Northern Colorado. He retired from UNC in 2004. He also was the Conductor of the Greeley Chorale for 20 years, a 100-voice community choir that has taken many international tours.

He has been both a Visiting Fellow and Scholar at Cambridge Univ. England, and in 2010 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Opera Association. Dad has done many other things, from guest directing and conducting to recently teaching voice in La Paz, Mexico, at their music academy. They have always loved the southern Baja region, and since having a home there in 1999, they have made every effort to spend as much time as possible vacationing in that beautiful area. The past 3 years in La Paz has especially taken them on a new journey of involvement in their local English church, mission ministries, and the La Paz music academy.

They are thoroughly enjoying retirement, which for my parents has never meant being a couch potato! My parents have also spent countless hours at Work out West in Greeley doing exactly that...working out! My Dad has always been in incredibly fit shape, playing college sports and running many miles a week. He is the strongest and most hard-working person I know.

We are thankful for all the vacations we've shared together over the years (we affectionately call those our "Gatherings"), with the most recent in June to the East Coast and Mexico over the holidays, and for all the blessings that have come from those.

Celebrating their 50th anniversary August 2011 with 161 guests in their home was a party never to be forgotten!!

DAD, WE LOVE YOU!  You were healed in HEAVEN on January 23, 2013.

  - Lynee Gerbrandt Graves

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Travs Kornegay signed Carl's Guestbook.

Beautifully written please continue to share... I will continue to read.  God Bless You!  Much love.. Read more

Barbara Spencer signed Carl's Guestbook.

Hola Marilyn, Lynee and Matt, and Greg, It was sure great to see all of you again and to spend Christmas day with you at Casa Buena and after, at your Pineda home. I felt ... Read more

Kathy signed Carl's Guestbook.

Love you dear friend.  How beautifully you express how you have pursued LIFE after Carl using your faith, your joy, and your love to overcome the sadness.  You are an ... Read more

Babs Steinmetz signed Carl's Guestbook.

Thank you for the update on you and your family. You all remain in my heart and prayers. Looking forward to seeing you again, Marilyn! Hugs and love to all Read more

Duane & Marie Franzen signed Carl's Guestbook.

Hi Marilyn,Thanks so much & I'm (Dueno) so appreciative of your "very elegant" update.  I was just thinking of you this morning upon reading some of Greg's great ... Read more

Marlene Fast signed Carl's Guestbook.

Hello Marilyn,Sounds like you have had a busy year - best way to survive grief.  I am so glad you have a supporting family.It is amazing that it has almost been a year ... Read more

Marilyn Gerbrandt added a new photo.

Carolyn Gage signed Carl's Guestbook.

Well, it's past the 9 month mark. What birth have you seen in the light of a dearly loved one's death? For me, I see the Spirit moving in your family to journey on. I see ... Read more

Connie Long signed Carl's Guestbook.

Dearest Marilyn, Lynee and Matt, Gregory;Well, it has been six months since Carl left you and ALL of us.  I had intended to send cards to each of you to arrive ... Read more

carol brickley signed Carl's Guestbook.

Your messages are eloquent and healing.  Thanks so much for haring a part of your souls.Carol Brickley Read more

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