"I believe the word eulogy in the context of the death of a loved one is just that – words that describe and honor– and I would like to share a few of those “ good words” with you that I saw in Dad’s life, not only to serve as remembrance but as encouragement as well.
The word competitive by itself is somewhat understated when it comes
to Dad and sports. Well, for that matter, anything he did took on some
level of challenge. But he was most competitive within himself. We
heard stories of him growing up, throwing rocks on the pond or at
anything that moved. He became very accurate and strong enough to
break the leg of some poor farm animal. He became one of the area’s
most outstanding baseball pitchers, and many of you have said you
remember either playing with him or against him on the ball diamond.
He loved hockey too, learning to skate on the pond at home, shooting
and shooting, dodging around and through imaginary opponents,
raising his hands in triumph when the winning goal of the imaginary
game was scored. After his playing days, he continued to play in
recreation functions. At one fund raiser for the new rink in Mossbank
he became dubbed as “Frisky Fred”. That nickname stuck with him even
into his eighties while skating with the “old pucksters”. For those of you
still skating with that group, I would ask that you ring the old disk for
him one more time when the rink opens next season. He curled, played
badminton and loved boxing. At around 40 he became enthralled with
the game of golf. I remember him practicing and practicing, in order to
improve himself. Someone once said golf is 18 little games, and that is
how he approached it…striving to achieve par whenever possible and if
he won a dime now or then from Bill, Harold, Harvey or Al Solberg, that
was a bonus!
The word compassionate is not often used when describing a man, but
Freddy certainly had a compassionate heart. He was always on the
lookout for the underdog – whether that be in the sports arena or in
life. Some would say that because of his soft heart it caused him and
others some serious grief.
While we can’t deny that there were times of trouble, it was his
compassion and rekindled love for Doreen that took some of us in our
family by surprise. Dad always knew about God, but we never
considered him a “religious man”. However, sometime just prior to
mom suffering her memory loss and the down turn in her health he
came into a personal relationship with Jesus. He never said a lot about
it but we noticed a change in him. He hardly left her side during those
last years, and when she died he was truly sorrowful. While spending a
lot of time at Providence Place Dad met Ada McBride.
to mom even when mom didn’t seem to know anyone was with her.
Her and Dad would have coffee together and just talk about their life
journey. After mom died their relationship grew into one of close
companionship and love.
An entrepreneur his entire life, Dad loved new ideas, challenges and
innovation. Being in business for himself was stimulating and
rewarding. It was never about how much money he could amass but
rather about the excitement of the sale. He started farming with his
brothers, but before long he was looking into the newest farm idea or
invention. He purchased the Massey Harris dealership in Mazenod in
the early 1950’s and never looked back. His was one of the first
dealerships to sell the Sund Rake Pickups. Even after selling the
business in Mazenod he kept his hand in the machinery business,
selling Morris Rod Weeders, Noble Blades, and later Smith Roles short
line equipment from the farm. He owned a tire shop, sold cars for
Lakeside Chrysler as a satellite dealer and eventually got his own
dealership for General Motors.
After selling the shop in Mossbank, he turned to other business
ventures – Mr. Mike’s Steak House and then in 1980, purchased
Western Producer looking for that new venture or business opportunity
to try. We often said it wasn’t the business itself that drove him but the
challenge and excitement of something new. And if ever someone said
it couldn’t be done, it was like throwing down the gantlet, and it was
Dad was tenacious. Once he started something he worked and worked
on it. As kids we sat many an hour waiting for him to finish getting a
hitch on a car or to pack the luggage just right so we could head out to
a new car, you better hope that you chose to stay a home take day,
because once started he would work on that poor salesman dickering
over the price or the options or something else. When the tables
turned and he was the salesman he was always ready to try to close the
deal. Later in his career, he became a salesman with Co-op Implements.
I remember him saying to me that he enjoyed traveling, he was making
a really good income and they were paying into a pension plan for him
– all for something that was FUN to do.
The last word I want to share with you is Dad was affirming. Grant put
it best when he said you could always depend on Dad to be your
strongest cheerleader. He supported every endeavor we entered into.
We could do no wrong. And to each of his grandchildren I would say the
same thing. He was your greatest fan. You may not have seen him at all
your functions or may have thought he was unaware of what it was
that you were doing, but he knew and kept track of how things were
going in your lives.
He loved to hear about the latest farming technology or the latest
business venture. He loved to assist when he could help in the search
for a new vehicle, to follow you in your sports endeavors and proudly
attended your weddings. He became overwhelmed with a sense of
pride with each new great grandchild – 25 and one on the way! He
treasured birthdays shared on the same day as his, and visits with
cookies of your own making. He watched as you travel abroad, became
carpenters, machinists, accountants, professionals, business men and
women, and excelled in music and voice. He loved each of you from
Julie to Zak and the 13 in between. Throughout your lives and now the
lives of your children he was Grandpa Fred. At his annual birthday party
he would sit amazed to think he was so truly blessed by such a large
and diverse family.
Dad was certainly not a perfect man and during these last few weeks
expressed to us that he lived with some serious regrets. As I mentioned
earlier though, he came to a realization and understanding of just how
much God truly loves His children – even when we fail. It was that
understanding of how Christ carries us during the trials we encounter
that got him through these last few weeks of his life on earth. We saw
and heard the evidence of this, as we watched in amazement, the love
provided to Dad. On May 17 at 3:06 am with Ada Ada
on one side of him and Jane on the other, both singing songs of praise
to the Lord, Dad left this earthly life, freed from his regrets. He took the
hand of Jesus and was then made perfect in the image of Christ, going
to heaven to worship God for eternity with loved ones already there."
- written by Gregg Nagel