Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great-Grandpa Freeman

Louisiana trip, 2006 - my favorite picture I have of him...
his hat, his suspenders, his wave, his hand holding with Grandma.

Mike's dear grandpa, Thomas Leslie Freeman, passed away this week.
I want to be sure that our children are able to know a little bit more about the kind, loving and wonderful man their Great-Grandpa Freeman was during his life on earth.
(and it is written to them, so Dad=Mike, etc).
Since I only knew him and grew to love him over the past 7 years, I gathered up some of my favorite things that others have said about him, along with our pictures.

I remember meeting Grandpa for the first time and thinking he was just the cutest little man I ever saw - just what you would imagine a sweet grandpa to look like if you could design your own. I remember his cute hats. I remember finding out that he loved Pepsi and immediately knowing I fit in with this Freeman family :-); I'd been raised among Pepsi drinkers. I loved his voice and I especially loved watching him and Grandma Freeman together. I am thankful that he was able to meet each of you children and I'm especially thankful for the chance that Dad, Ella and I had to travel with him, Grandma, Meema, Papa and Chloe to Louisiana. To be shown around the state they grew to love on their missions and to get to have that time to get to know them better. I am glad that Dad will be able to travel to CA to be at his funeral and join in with the many, many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that loved him as they celebrate the life of such a remarkable man.

Some of Dad's thoughts:
Grandpa was the first person I've know intimately that has ever passed away. I feel reminiscent, nostalgic; I don't feel sad. I loved staying at his house in the mountains of Oakhurst and catching fish, ducks, frogs and snakes with my cousins. I loved Grandpa's pancakes in the morning. I loved that he stopped the ice-cream man. I loved going to New Orleans and visiting the people he served on his mission. I love that he always had Pepsi. I love that he came with us to the first A's game ever in Houston. I love that I have not one bad memory of Grandpa. Honestly. Grandpa was a great man.

4 generations of Freemans
I loved this picture when Papa posted it on his blog over the summer...Great-Grandpa walking away with his Pepsi in hand :-).
Meema gave a little of history with her memories of him:
"Tom and Lois fell in love over 61 years ago. She wouldn't marry him unless he was a member of her faith, so he decided to investigate it. Soon after, he was baptized a member of the LDS church and they married in the Temple. Together, they built a very happy life. Materially, they were comfortable, but if a man's wealth is measured in friends, loved ones and laughter, they were rich as kings.
Tom had the one thing I admire more than anything else in a person, true integrity. A man of his word, he did whatever he committed to do. He was an exemplary family patriarch over 5 children, 16 grandchildren, and 17 great grandchildren. He and Lois were exceptional parents, who produced an exceptional family; and each one of us dearly loves them.
Some of my favorite things about him are:
His laughter
His faith
He honored is wife and taught his sons how to treat their wives.
His love for his country and service in the US Air Force in WWII
He honored his priesthood.
He and Lois served 2 missions for the LDS Church, both in Louisiana
He and Lois were always there for the important events in our life.
He would invite us over and cook his special pancakes
Tom was rarely seen without a Pepsi in hand. Whenever he visited us, he would enlist the help of anyone who could drive to take him down to Tigermart for a Pepsi. From his hospital bed, he sent out for Pepsi. I just can't help but picture him in Heaven, holding a Pepsi."

A friend of the family, sent this note to Dad's cousin in CA:
"I am so sorry to hear of your grandfather's passing. He was and is a great patriarch and example for your family and a faithful member of the Church who truly endured to the end. He was one of the best missionaries in the Fresno Stake.
My dad and I had the opportunity to visit him last Saturday. It was such a sweet experience for me to see my dad holding his hand as he talked with him. Tom was alert and both Tom and my dad were able to express their love for each other. I will never forget the experience."

Great Aunt Jennifer wrote to Meema:
"Tom gave you a gift. He married a good woman, Lois, and raised a wonderful, righteous son that you would fall in love with and who treats you like a queen. That son has been a wonderful husband and father in your own family, and is the best brother-in-law I could ask for. Steve is the man he is, in many ways because of the man Tom taught him to be. What a wonderful gift Tom has given you, and all of us!"

Aunt Chrissy wrote of the wonderful legacy he is leaving behind:
"I am so proud of my heritage... my Grandma picked a good man.
Here's how I know:
...I know that each and every uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, nephew, brother, and sister
I have loves me, thinks of me, prays for me, and supports me.
I could not ask for a better family.
And I would not have any of it if it weren't for my Grandpa Freeman.
I love you Grandpa. Thank you for everything you gave us.
I will miss you terribly."

Dad's cousin Michele wrote beautifully about the time she was able to spend with him in the hospital. I think it is the perfect conclusion:
"I imagine he was telling me that he loved me and that he was proud of me (hopefully) and maybe giving me some advice to carry with me. Or maybe he was just asking for a kiss:) I could see in his eyes that he knew the message was lost. I promised to come back tomorrow and then kissed his forehead.
His spirit is not broken, just his body.
Stephanie pointed out that the feeling in his room is a very peaceful one. You know you are in the presence of a great man and the spirit is very strong where he is. There are many here who do not want to see him go, and many there who are anxiously awaiting his arrival.
So very loved is my Grandpa."


Brittany said...

Another beautiful tribute, thanks for posting this :)

Amy said...

What a nice tribute you wrote! He seemed like a great man. Sorry for your loss.

Diane said...

Thank you Marci, for another lovely perspective on our dear grandpa Freeman. So nice to have this for your children. I just wish they could have known him better...but that will have to wait awhile.We will miss you in California, take care of our babies :)

Cheryl Joy said...

You all have such big hearts.

I'm glad your children will have this to look back on. I'm sure they'll cherish it.

Christina Bambina said...

Ok I'm crying now......what touching thoughts.