Fred W. Hall was brought forth into this world on Dec. 7, 1923 in Marion. Our father left this world on May 24 at the ripe age of 101. My sister, Marilyn Holcomb of Virginia Beach, Virginia, my brother, Michael Hall of Asheboro and myself did our best in taking care of our parents. Michael assumed the greatest responsibility the last five years of Dad’s life in Asheboro.
We had a most celebratory service for Dad at First United Methodist Church on May 27. Our pastor, the Rev. Johnathan Jeffries, allowed people to be a witness for Dad. The first was a longtime friend who remembered Dad for always greeting everyone, and as someone who always had a smile on his face and laughter in his heart.
A cousin from Wilkesboro said Uncle Fred was a “cool” guy who always had a joke ready. My brother Michael told of Dad’s outgoing nature, relating a time that he ran into Edwin G. Robinson while on vacation in Hollywood and stopped to thank him for his movies.
Aunt Mary of Wilkesboro told us that our mother, Mary, cried every night on a trip the two took to Alaska because she missed Dad so much. He did not like to fly, so he did not go. They were married for 70 years.
My son, Scott, from Georgia, reminded us that his granddad was a good man, a survivor of the Great Depression who moved the family to Laurinburg in 1944 to work as an electrician at Maxton Air Base. He was always confident and comfortable in his own skin — it did not matter if he was in a crowd of rich or poor folk, Granddad was always comfortable and could always make interesting conversation.
Another cousin shared that Dad asked her to dance at her wedding. She took off her shoes to dance with him. After the dance, Dad hid her shoes for the fun of it. He eventually returned them to her, but it got a good laugh.
Dad raised chinchillas, thinking that would make him a fast dollar as the fur could be sold for coats. My sister would often open the doors of their cage to play with them and they sometimes escaped, sometimes turning on each other and biting each other until all their fur was gone. It was truly a venture gone awry … sorry Dad.
In Dad’s younger years, he lived in Rutherford College, where he and his two brothers carried rock from the Catawba River to help build Abernethy Memorial Methodist Church, which is still prospering to this day. Dad and Mom were members of the Woodmen of the World, and Dad was treasurer for many years.
Dad was proud of his age. He would always ask, “Can you guess how old I am?” He so enjoyed his last three birthday parties at Clapp’s Nursing Home in Asheboro.
When he could no longer walk, the last few months of his life, the still enjoyed reading the daily newspaper and kept up with stocks and sports. Twice a week, he enjoyed Bingo and winning quarters when luck would have it.
Dad came into the world in the year 1913, and was driven to the cemetery in a 1913 Model T Ford. He is now in his heavenly home with our Mom and greeting all the saints. Dad, I will miss giving you a Father’s Day card and a hug this year, but know that even though you are out of sight, you are never out of my mind and heart. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, in heaven.
Patricia Hall Stone-Butson is pastor of Gibson United Methodist Church.