Lisa C. Pemberton 1964-2011

Lisa C. Pemberton

On Wednesday November 23rd, 2011 at 2:27 pm, at Brooklyn Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, 
Lisa Christine Pemberton entered into the presence of the Lord.
Lisa was born August 5th, 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, to the late Reuben and Bertie, the third of their four children, and only daughter.   She graduated from South Shore High School in 1981, and went on to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, graduating in 1985.
Lisa joined the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney’s Office in 1986, rising to a supervisory paralegal position, and was employed there until her passing.
Lisa loved to laugh and make jokes, and it was always a joyous occasion when she was around. She was also a gifted singer with a beautiful voice. She sang throughout her life, in various choirs and ensembles, often as a soloist.
Lisa was born again and was baptized into the fellowship of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, as a child. She remained a member of that fellowship for decades, serving in many capacities including as a Trustee, Sunday School teacher, Church Treasurer, and Worship Leader. In later years, she worshiped at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan and The Repairer's Fellowship.
She worked at Sunshine Acres Camp as a young adult, and remained a strong supporter of that ministry for the rest of her life.
Throughout her life, Lisa had a great and ever growing faith and love for God, which was clear to everyone who knew her.
Lisa leaves to cherish her loving memory her daughter Nicole, her brothers, Reuben (Buddy), Patrick, and Paul, sisters in law Christine and Mary, nephew PJ, aunts Constance and Madeline, uncle Cyril, first cousins Sharon, Laura, Tod, Camille, Craig, best friends Maria, Elsie, and Veronica (aka the Fresca Squad), her church family, wonderful and always supportive DA’s Office Colleagues, loving relatives and a host of friends too numerous to mention.
Smile, you know who you are…
Psalm 139 (HCSB)
LORD, You have searched me and known me.   You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.  You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, LORD. 

 You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. 

This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.   Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.  If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. 
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night.”  Even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.

 For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.  My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. 

 God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me to comprehend; how vast their sum is! 
 If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; when I wake up, I am still with You.  

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. 

The following is the text of the eulogy for my cousin Lisa as I had originally prepared to deliver it . At the service, it was about 90% verbatim from the following text:

Like many of you, I am standing here with a weight in my chest, and a tear in my eye.  Part of me really did not want to do this, in fact when Buddy first asked me, I offered up an excuse… But then Lisa made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, better yet, she gave me instructions… and here I am.

Why do I say that? Well on Sunday October 30th, Lisa called everyone together and announced that she was ready to go home. 

She was not afraid, nor was she ‘resigned’ to her fate, 

She was at peace, quite clear about it, and quite ready. She said to me, (in the midst of giving me her instructions) ‘I want to just close my eyes, and go to sleep, and wake up in the arms of Jesus’. 
Last Wednesday, she got her desire. Glory to God.

For those of us who are believers, we live at times like this in the paradox of grief and joy.  We have Joy in the knowledge and assurance that we will see our loved one again and the fact that they are with the Father is a comfort even amidst the pain of immediate loss.

In this we see the truth of the word of God, in that we do not grieve as them that have no hope for indeed because of Christ we will see our loved ones who have died in Him again. The truth of Psalm 116:15 is my comfort today...Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

However without Christ we will never see them again. Ever…
When it comes to death, there is no if, there is only when, and there is never ‘too soon’. There is not a moment too soon. The Bible is clear on that. As we just heard it read, and we read the words ourselves:

I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.  My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

 So, the number is already written, The onus is then on us to control what we can.
What can we control? The quality of our days, the way that they are lived, what we do with our days, how our time is spent, and with whom…

How we Live, How we Love, these are the things that are within our control, and they are the true measure of who we are as people.
We used to sing a song as kids, ‘We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord’ Remember that? It is a song taken from Jesus’ statement to his disciples, as recorded in the gospel of John. He said to them  

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  
This is the mark, this is what identifies us as Christ’s disciples.
Our ability to LOVE one another.

In an age and culture that seeks to define Christians and Christianity by a vast number of criteria: from doctrine to denomination, to dogma: From practices and public pronouncements, even to political affiliation,  we need to see how Jesus defines us.  Simply, Our ability to LOVE one  another.

But this is a two way enterprise. One of the things that we do not seem to realize beloved, is that the ability to RECEIVE LOVE is as important as the ability to GIVE love. You cannot LOVE on your own terms. You cannot set the parameters and acceptability of Love. 
You cannot love only when and whom you find it advantageous to…

That said, You cannot truly love others until you Love yourself, and you cannot love yourself, until you Love God, and you cannot Love God until you are born again, and He places that ability and desire within you, by replacing your heart of stone with a heart of flesh…
You cannot be born again until you understand the cross, and..
 You never really understand the cross until the truth of it takes your breath away and it becomes the most important thing in your life,
and even then, you’re at a loss…

Your sin, for His Mercy …
Your depravity and wickedness, for His Love and forgiveness…
Your brokenness, and pain for His Peace and reconciliation…
Such an uneven exchange…

It is only when you come to understand this,  that His Grace truly becomes ‘Amazing’

There are those of you in this room tonight, who believe  and announce that you are Christians, but when it comes to your relationship with the Lord, you do not participate fully, as though your life in Christ is a coat, a garment to be shed when the weather changes, and not the core of your very existence. It is that same shallow self-serving religion that I knew so well… That I practiced so well…
But God is not a convenience; your brothers and sisters are not a convenience.

God is all, and your brethren are priority.  When asked quite directly what was the greatest commandment, Jesus was succinct. He said that it is that we should Love The Lord Our God with ALL Heart, Soul, mind, and strength
That is an all encompassing Love. Physical, Emotional and Spiritual.
It is complete. 
You can't love partially. It is not Love. If your words and your actions don't match, if your actions are loving, but your heart isn't in it, If your words are loving, but your actions aren't... It's incomplete. It's not Love...

But that was not all, He commanded that we love our neighbor as ourselves…

Yes, Sometimes it is messy, and sometimes it hurts (like right now). Sometimes it is scary, it is rarely easy, and sometimes, (like right now) it is not fun at all…
But it is not a suggestion, it is a command, that you should love the Lord your God with All your heart, Your mind, your soul and strength, and Love your neighbor as yourself…
This is how we must live. This is what we must understand.

This is what we MUST do.
When we live this way, when we LOVE this way, there are no regrets, no ‘what if’s’, no ‘shoulda-woulda-couldas’, no ‘if onlys’ , because you do all you can, and then you DO ALL YOU CAN.
You do all you can, and then you DO ALL YOU CAN.

To the family,  MY family. I offer only this: REACH OUT, and HOLD ON
In this room right now are sources of support and comfort for you, as you navigate the coming days... As we continue adjusting to the realities of life without Lisa...
There are some of you here who are able to remember such a time. I cannot, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had my cousin Lisa. But I take comfort tonight, even in the midst of the tears that because of Jesus Christ, our time of separation will be relatively short, when measured against the fact that we will be together in Glory for the rest of God’s Life... 
We will be together in Glory for the rest of God’s Life... 
Glory to His name!
So I say to you first, REACH OUT, do not be embarrassed. Do not be ashamed. Do not think that you have to ‘Be strong’, or ‘Handle it’, or worst of all, ‘suffer in silence’.

This is a stupid, unrealistic, destructive, unbiblical and unwise mindset to have.
We are social beings, created in the image of a social being. It is by design that we reach out to one another. Indeed we must in order to survive.
So make use of those whom you can trust, be vulnerable with, share your heart.
If there is no one, perhaps it is time for a change in the way that you are thinking, and in the way that you are living...

Scripture says that you have an enemy who goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but as everyone knows, hunters seek out those that have become separated from the herd. They are the easiest prey... So stay close, because there are those of us who can and will be strong for you when you are weak. So REACH OUT!

Second, and finally, I say HOLD ON
Hold On to the rich collection of memories and experiences, Hold on to Lisa’s smile, her laugh, her wit, her strength, her courage, her LOVE.
The time for regret is past, what’s done is done, and cannot be undone. The time for reconciliation and healing is now... Let us use our energies not to dwell on the past, but to apply to making right now all that it can be.
Family,  HOLD ON to one another.
I say this especially to the Pemberton men...
You three who I love and admire so much, for the wonderful things that I see in you, and the rich contributions that each of you have made in my life...
Hold on to the good memories, let go of the bad ones, Hold on to one another, and HOLD ON to the LORD.  You will be better for it, and so will your wives and your children.
…and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.    Amen...

 In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made toward the education of Lisa’s daughter, Nicole, payable to ‘The Lisa C. Pemberton Trust’ and sent c/o Taylor, 36 Park Place, Brooklyn NY 11217.


I worked with Lisa in 2000 and am so sad to hear of her passing. I remember having lunch with her and being completely amazed at her faith and strength. I still have the bible she bought me and have a picture of her and Nicole. I don't think Nicole will remember me, but please tell her Holly said hello.
Thank You Holly. I will indeed

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