Eulogy for Fred McGuire
Alfred Uel McGuire Jr., who, like his father, was always known as Fred, was born in Porterville, California, on March 28, 1932, and completed his life on Earth on January 31, 2008. He was the first born child of Fred Sr. and Rosa Ellen Wilhoit McGuire. His birth was greatly anticipated and warmly welcomed by his parents who had married when they were 32 and 40 years old. Fred’s sister Patricia was born when Fred was seventeen months, and Caroline came along when he was five. Their family life was centered around the Church of Christ, of which Fred and Rosa were founding members.
Growing up, Fred was active in Boy Scouts. He graduated from Strathmore High School in 1950, where he lettered in football, basketball and track for four years and played trombone in the band. He held several valley-wide track records well into the 1970’s. Summers he was a firefighter for the U.S. Park Service in Sequoia. He ran track at California Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo and at Abilene Christian College, Abilene, Texas, for one year each before joining the U.S. Navy in 1953. He was on the Navy track team, running the marathon and other distance events. He received the National Service Defense Medal.
Following military service, he returned to Abilene Christian in 1955, where he met and shortly thereafter married Jann Claire Hale, having swept her off her feet. They were married on February 17, 1956, and continued their schooling. After Fred received his Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Husbandry in 1957, he received a scholarship to study for a Master of Vocational Education at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, Texas, which he completed in 1958.
Fred brought Jann and their precious baby daughter Suzanne back home to California in 1959, where he taught at and was later principal of Martin Memorial School, on the grounds of Springville County Hospital. Fred and Jann built their dream house on La Paloma drive in Springville. After the hospital population declined, Fred taught science at Porterville High School and was head of the Agriculture Department at Porterville College for two years. Sons Scott (1961) Patrick (1964) and Barry (1965) were born in these wonderful, happy years. During the summers of 1960 through 1965, Fred was the fire guard for the U.S. Forest Service in Mineral King, which allowed him to hike, fish and swap stories with campers all summer long.
Fred was an adventurer, and in 1968, he and Jann ventured to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where they taught and Fred was principal of the American Cooperative School. They returned to the U.S. in 1970, and joined the family religious of Cultural Affairs. During the next five and a half years, they were assigned to San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, teaching adult seminars and doing community development work.
In 1976, they returned to California to be near Fred’s aging parents. Fred and Jann started teaching for Lindsay Unified School District. Fred taught science and social studies at Steve Garvey Junior High, Lindsay High School and Grove High School. As a teacher, he was memorable and was loved by many students, who never failed to greet him warmly in his later years. His face lit up during his final hospital stay when one of the nurses remembered having been in his class. Fred worked for the job corps during the summers, leading young people in doing housing rehab and other community service.
Fred and Jann continued to volunteer for the Institute of Cultural Affairs for many years. They worked in Richgrove for the community development project that brought a dependable water and sewer system to that town for the first time. In 1979, Fred and son Patrick, aged fifteen, delivered a donated car to a village project in Guatamala. In 1980, he participated in a Global Research Assembly in Nairobi, Africa, and worked in a village there to build terraces for better crop production.
In 1987, Fred and Jann acquired almost twenty acres near the top of Blue
Ridge, elevation 5000 feet. After his retirement from teaching in 1990, he
spent much time happily working on projects there. Fred and Jann were active members of the Lindsay United Methodist Church
from 1977 to the mid-90’s, when they began the study and practice of Native American Spirituality at the Sequoia Center for Holistic Studies in
Springville. Fred came to appreciate that all creatures are our relations,
and that human kind needs to take a more humble stance toward them, and to work toward the healing of our Mother Earth.
Fred worked for a time as a counselor in alcoholism recovery for Kaweah
Delta Hospital. He acknowledged that the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous had saved his own life, and believed there was no spiritual program more profound. He carried this message to others for 21 years.
In 1999, Fred suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage after a fall off a
ladder. He was in the hospital and rehabilitation center for three months,
and made what his doctors considered a miraculous recovery. He and his
loved ones were grateful for the “last gift of time” he was given in the
years since then. The children and grandchildren have been extremely
helpful and supportive during this time.
In 2000, Fred and Jann became active in the Lindsay First Presbyterian
Church, and eventually became members. Fred served as a deacon. The family is very grateful for the congregation’s love and support in Fred’s final illness.
Fred and his children were very close. They loved to backpack and fish
together in the Sierras. Daughter Suzanne, one of his favorite hiking
partners, died in 2002 at the age of 43. He missed her terribly. Mineral
King was the family’s favorite place, and it was there that they celebrated
Fred and Jann’s 50th anniversary. Scott and his wife Rachel are blessed
with sons Sam, Sid and Rory, and daughter Jaimee. Patrick and Tami are the proud parents of Joseph, Courtney, Bryan and his wife Lacy. Scott and Patrick both live in Arroyo Grande, California. Beloved son Barry and
Roxanne and their son, Jonathan, live in beautiful Idaho, near Boise.
In addition to his immediate family, Fred is survived by his sister and
brother-in-law Caroline and Chuck Fike and their sons Tim (and wife Debra and their 3 sons), Terry (Nancy, and three daughters and one son), Ted (Heide and two sons and one daughter) and Trace (Holly, and three sons and one daughter.) Fred’s sister Patricia Cadenhead died in 1980, and is survived by her son Randall (Debbie and one son and one daughter) and her two daughters Karen (Dan, and one son and two daughters) and Laura (Mike, and one daughter.)
Recently, when it was clear that their “days were dwindling down to a
precious few,” Jann asked Fred what he hoped for. He replied, “Peace.
Comfort. And love.” May it be so.
Thich Nhat Hanh, “The End of Suffering,” Maximillian Mizzi, “Franciscan
Blessing,” Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, “In Your Blessed Hands,” ElisabethKubler-Ross “Unconditional Love,” Arun and Sunanda Gandhi, “We Are Not Alone,” Ram Dass, “Be Here Now,” and finally Michael Stillwater, “The Welcoming.”
Love and blessings to you all,
~~ Jann McGuire