Fred passed away last night. He went peacefully with family surrounding him. He went out on his own terms, the way he felt was right.
I didn’t know him all that well, but what I knew I respected. Fred lived 140 miles away and we didn’t have occasion to see each other all that often. He wasn’t a man to show up at the holiday table. My wife joked that he was comfortable in a group of two, with him being one of the two. It is my loss for not getting to know him better.
Fred was a salt-of-the-earth type of person. He did what had to be done to survive and provide for his family, taking or creating work where he could. He was good with his hands and was a skilled mechanic and carpenter. He built the house my wife grew up in. A friend of his was calling him just last week for help on a well pump. He was a smart man and would always be there to lend a hand to a friend.
I have a feeling my best chance of getting to know him would have been to work side by side building something. I know he could have taught me plenty, not just about building, but what it meant to him to be a man.
He was a strong man in body and in character. He lived his life doing what he felt was right. I will be hearing more stories about Fred in the coming days, many from friends who can’t believe that he is gone. I have a feeling he had more of an effect on people than he knew. He will be missed.