It was on June 23, 1898, that John Lafayette Girardeau entered Paradise. He had recently suffered a stroke, but his passing was peaceful. After a life spent as a husband, father, pastor, theologian, professor, chaplain, philosopher and poet, including many years of service to the black community, he completed his task on earth and went on to receive his heavenly reward.
After his death, an anonymous poem was published in the July 14, 1898 issue of The Southern Presbyterian, a tribute to the man who wrote his own poems on "Life" and "Death."
ON THE DEATH OF A BELOVED MINISTER.
Affectionaly dedicated to the family of Rev. J.L. Girardeau.
Brother, all thy toils are ended;
All thine earthly warfare's done;
To thy long-sought rest ascended,
Thou has won thy starry crown!
There the welcome plaudit met thee;
Well-done Servant of thy Lord,
Faithful toiler in My vineyard,
Enter on thy full reward!
Thou was faithful with the talents
I committed to thy care,
And each burden laid upon thee,
Gladly for Me thou didst bear.
Now beside the 'living waters,'
In my greenest pastures rest;
And forget thine early sorrows,
Leaning on My loving breast!
Oh! methinks the holy angels
Never had a dearer care,
Than that ransomed soul to glory,
On their shining wings to bear!
Hark! the golden harps of Heaven,
Quiver with a richer strain,
As that voice with holy rapture
Blendeth in the glad refrain!
While on earth, Redemption's story,
Ever dwelt upon his tongue.
And to him the 'Songs of Jesus'
Were the sweetest ever sung.
Now the loved ones led to Heaven,
By his earnest pleadings here,
Join with him to praise the Saviour,
Who redeemed and brought them there.