Joseph William ‘Joe Bill’ Freeze passed away at UT Health Center on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Athens, the last of the greatest generation in our family.
Bill was born Feb. 21, 1926, in Jean, Tx. He came from a large and wonderful family. He was the 10th in line of 11 children, five girls and six boys, and he inherited the best of each one of their amazing gifts of wit and humor.
All his siblings preceded him in death but were kept alive for all of us through his astounding memory and ability to tell a story as if it were yesterday.
Bill was a Navy veteran of WWII, a young man who enlisted at the ripe old age of 17 (three days before his 18th birthday).
He was first rejected because he was too skinny, so he went home, ate bananas and drank milk every day for 30 days, went back and was accepted. (He had gained 10 pounds).
He served aboard the U.S.S. San Juan and was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal.
He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946. Even at his young age, prior to joining the military, Bill worked for Consolidated Aircraft in Fort Worth as a Riveter.
The stories of Bill’s life could fill many volumes as he was a very colorful and interesting man with a lively sense of humor.
His talents were many and varied. He was a businessman and an entrepreneur and was an inspiration to those who worked with and for him.
His talents ranged from selling shoes at Neiman Marcus as a young man to owning a carpet store and carpet cleaning business to growing and selling herbs from his own herb farm, always working very hard. Along his way, he was also a student for 10 years, having attended NTSU (where he met Byron Nelson’s brother, Charles, who taught him how to play golf in 30 days) and then on to Pepperdine University and Theological Seminary in California but in Bill’s own words, “Having never earned a degree.”
He was preceded in death by his wife, La Frances ‘Skeeter’ Freeze; parents, Odie Alma and Bertie May Freeze; brothers, Elton Freeze, Henry Freeze, Welton Freeze, Earl Freeze, S. A. Freeze; and sisters, Odessa Whitsett, Merle Gardner, Tennilee Van Zandt, Fay Fleming and Helen Wright.
The most important things in Bill’s life were always family, friends and, of course, his beloved furry friends, Buddy, Sister, and Millie, who were of great company to him.
He is survived by his step-daughter, Leslie and Wayne Dysart, Canton; step-son, Jeff Dysart, Canton; grandson, Jacob Dysart-Scherzer and fiancé, Paige Wesley, Los Angeles, Calif.; granddaughter, Devin Dysart, Venus, Texas,, and a host of nieces and nephews who were like his own children to him and all of whom loved him very much.
Nieces are Carolyn Thomas, Anna Kay Brown, Judy Roberts, Jerri Nelson, Callie Braddock, Debbie Griffith, Mitzi Parkey, Betty Ann Howard, Frederica Hauger, Janice Rich, and Linda Kinsey.
Nephews are Roy Freeze, David Freeze and Stanton Alan Freeze.
Preceded are Joann Urban, Joy McCormack, Phylis Goodin, Angie Lowe, Tony Wright, H. D. Freeze.
Our favorite Uncle Bill is also survived by many great-nieces and nephews who always enjoyed being in his company.
One of these great-nieces, Nicole Riffitt, and her husband, Guy, provided loving care that they gave him in many ways throughout his life and especially his later years.
A Memorial Service will be held at St. Justin Episcopal Church, 977 W. Hwy. 243, Canton, at 10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, with Father Ron Studenny officiating. Burial services with Military Honors are to be held at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas at 2:15 p.m.
Uncle Bill’s passing will leave a large void in our physical presence but never in our minds, our hearts and certainly not in our memories.
We’re certain there was a great celebration in Heaven at his arrival, with all of the Freeze clan, as they and the angels sang and shouted, ‘Oh, the JOY to see you come! We’ve all been waiting for you!’