My father died on September 17, 2021.
I’m not really the type of person who shares a lot of personal information. If you would like to read his obituary, here is the link: Billy Freeze Obituary.
After someone dies, I have often thought it interesting that we usually learn something about the person we never knew before. During the visitation, this proved true as friends and acquaintances shared stories about Dad that reached back nearly 70 years. Some were funny; all were touching.
I knew my dad was a generous man. He came from very humble circumstances. He was born at home when doctors made house calls. He picked corn, cotton, and beans and often felt the wrath of his father when the chores were not completed - usually because he and his older brother decided to do anything but the work - if his father was around to notice.
He once told me he and his mother picked beans and hauled them to town so he could buy a pair of shoes. I have old black and white pictures of him and his eight siblings barefoot and wearing overalls or simple dresses with no one smiling - as far as I can tell.
An older friend and mentor encouraged my father to attend college which was in many ways unprecedented and unlikely in his family. After much hard work to pay his way and pass his classes, he graduated and began his professional career. A year after I was born he was hired by a large insurance company where he spent the next 53 years enjoying his work.
He was generally successful at business. He was a leader in the community, in the church, and in our home. But he never forgot the blessings he had been given and his innate responsibility to be both a good steward and a good servant.
One of the last stories he shared with me dealt with his concern that money was being spent locally on cosmetic appearances when there were missionaries and people in other countries who struggled with affording the essentials.
Many stories at the funeral service centered on how he had helped families and children by providing them money, rides to somewhere, or by spending time with someone who needed a friend.
When I retired from the FBI, I regularly questioned my decision. Why was I retiring at an early age and giving up a job I enjoyed? Why was I not seeking a position with a large company who would undoubtedly benefit from my professional experience and pay me accordingly?
I realize now it was because of my father’s focus on serving others.
He never questioned my decision to follow my passion to retire. He still shared stories with friends of how proud he was of the work I had done at the FBI.
He also supported my current work and wanted to hear how it was going. I think it was because he knew that in my own way I was trying to help families and children who were in need - the type of people he tried to help; the type of help he and his siblings needed when he was young.
We all make decisions. Sometimes those decisions are choices between good things. Sometimes those decisions are trying to choose between nothing but bad options.
Regardless of the choices you have made in life which brought you to where you are today, I hope you will either continue or start choosing to ensure you are helping people who desperately need help; follow my father’s example.
You never know how your life may impact others!
** The picture of my father was made on August 7, 2021. It is now one of my most cherished pictures.