I love writing. It has been my refuge many a day. Lately though, I haven’t been able to bring myself to put pen to paper. Life hasn’t been pretty. My dad died. It wasn’t something that our family saw coming. He had been sick for a while but I never thought death was an option. I’m still mustering up the courage to share but for now I thought I would post the obituary I wrote to celebrate the life of my dad. I changed some of the details to give a little privacy to my family. I know there are so many others out there that have lost someone near and dear to them. I stand with you in the mourning and look forward to the days where the pain is not quite so real.
Much Love, B
Ever so often, the Lord takes a person to Heaven that makes you wonder if the folks on the other side needed a soul to bring laughter and funk to shake things up a bit. That is certainly the case with Fred R, a wonderful husband, loving father, son, brother, and friend who began enjoying his eternal reward July 28th, 2012. Fred passed away in the loving arms of his wife after a long battle with diabetes.
It’s hard not to smile when thinking about Fred, even during this time of immense sorrow. He was born February 24th, 1950, in Washington to M and Fred R, Sr. who died serving his country in the Korean War in 1951. M married Isaac in 1960, who was to become the father Fred always longed for. Fred was the oldest of three children and loved tormenting his sister D, with the help of his younger brother R.
The military family traveled to Germany in 1964 and Fred spent much of his time there honing his athletic skills. Fred was an amazing competitor and had more athletic ability than a lot of people realized. Fred was a star football and basketball player in high school. Later in life he enjoyed coaching little league baseball and basketball. Fred especially loved coaching and watching his son J play, even learning the ins and outs of ice hockey to support his son.
His passion for sports was only surpassed by his love for music. There was nothing quite like seeing Fred getting a crowd going at a gig. Fred developed a love of music at a young age. He started with the piano and would spend hours playing while at home. When he was about 14 his father bought him his first guitar. “Louie Louie” became the soundtrack of the Smith household much to the dismay of his mother. There was a time M came home from work to find Fred belting out “I can’t get no satisfaction” at the top of his lungs. Her reply was “I’m gonna give you some satisfaction if you don’t get up and do your chores!” Fred founded one of his first bands while attending Central Washington University. The Rubber Band, Beck Hall Band, Pam and the Train, The Earthworms String Band and Choir featuring the Wormettes and Slatz, were all soon to follow. Fred graduated from CWU with a BA in Sociology in 1973.
Fred met his soul mate, LP, in February of 1974, even though it wasn’t love at first sight they were destined to be. It all started with a simple introduction by Mark and it wasn’t long after that they became inseparable. They were married on November 4th, 1978. Fred’s love will live on through his children B and J. Fred was a dedicated father, even braving b -team volleyball games and marathon long ballet recitals to watch his daughter. For many years Fred took care of J and everyday was a new adventure. From hiding from traveling salesmen to playing t-ball in the back yard to jam sessions in the family room, their bond was undeniable.
Blessed with the ability to see the positive side of life, Fred had an incredible capacity to love people. He dedicated many years to working with the disabled and would always go above and beyond to help someone in need. Fred also loved coaching kids. Children and animals were drawn to him and you could always see joy on his face when he was teaching someone how to throw a ball or shoot a layup.
A long time resident of Washington, Fred worked for many years at Goodwill Industries providing training and rehabilitation for people with disabilities. His clients flourished under his care and Fred always went above and beyond to treat everyone equally. Music was a way of life for Fred. He was also a well-known local musician with over 50 of experience. He was a talented bass player whose passion for music spilled out of him so much so that he inspired others to play. Some of his proudest moments were watching his son follow in his musical foot steps.
Fred loved spending time with his family, having “jam” sessions with his friends, watching his Seahawks play, drinking a cold MGD, making ribs (and eating them), playing the penny slots, eating Twinkies, taking care of the pets, buying lotto tickets that he never turned in, watching All My Children, and last but not certainly not least, Fred loved cheeseburgers.
Fred lived a life worth living and loved greatly along the way. We were blessed to have had him as a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. We know he is jammin’ in Heaven now.