SIX NATIONS – There have been two defining moments in Fred Hill’s life. The day he married his wife Blanche and the day he gave his life to Christ – at 84 years young, he regrets neither.
“I loved my wife, and miss her so much,” he said.
Fred was married to his wife for 64 years and she passed away 17 months ago. Fred is thinking about writing a book to celebrate the life he shared with Blanche and their eight children.
“She passed away at 83 years old,” he said. “We met when we were kids, played together as kids and then got married as young adults. So even though we were only married 64 years I usually tell people that our life together began 75 years ago.
Fred and his wife shared their first home together in the village of Ohsweken where they worked together operating several different business. They used to own a daycare, run a tire-shop, sell hot dogs and hamburgers on the street and more, but shortly after the two got married, Fred felt that they were being guided in a new direction and Fred became a minister and evangelist. A career that the two supported each other in for the next 50 years.
“I always wished that I could go back and find the people I interacted with before I became a Christian so I could help them see life in a different light,” he said. “It’s sad, but most of my old friends are already passed — some committed suicide, some were killed in alcohol related car accidents and some died of old age, so I can’t tell everybody anymore. With this book I am thinking about writing, it’s an opportunity for me to share what I always wanted to with more people.
Fred said that before he became a Christian he was stuck in a cycle of alcoholism, drugs and other things that weren’t doing him and Blanche any good. He was raised in a Christian home, but had no desire to follow that lifestyle. One evening, unsure why, he asked his wife to go to the Six Nations Pentecostal Church with him to hear a young preacher from Toronto speak. They went together and the two committed their life to Christ by the end of the week.
“When I became a minister, Blanche and I travelled the country and U.S. ministering to people in prisons, hospitals, parks — all over. I just want people who read the book about our lives to see and understand what it’s like to have a God centred life and marriage,” Fred said. “No, by no means am I saying our life and marriage was a piece of cake — issues came up and disagreements did happen, but putting Christ as the centre of our relationship is what helped us succeed.”
As much as Fred credits living a God centred life as the means to the success in his marriage — he also thinks that another way to overcome obstacles in life is to work together as a team.
“When something bad happens, you overcome it together. You don’t get up and leave,” he said. “I don’t even necessarily mean this from a Christian standpoint, just in general, always work your discords out and be willing to give in. When you’re 100 per cent sure you’re right, you’re really probably not.”
Fred and Blanche were blessed with 64 beautiful years of marriage, but when Blanche first passed away Fred felt a little robbed.
“I thought God was going to keep us together until we were at an extremely old, ripe age. I was feeling terribly lonely and was praying that God would take me home to be with her,” he said. Fred explained that about a month ago, an old friend of his who he hadn’t seen for more than 30 years showed up at his house from Michigan unexpectedly. They had a chat on Fred’s porch and Fred told him how lonely he was feeling. His friend told him that God will take him when he is ready and not a moment sooner.
“Since then I feel like a completely different guy. I still miss my wife terribly but I no longer have the same desire to go that I did when she first passed,” Fred said.
Fred said that when Blanche first realized her time on this earth was coming to an end, she ask him to sit down so she could tell him goodbye.
“I was shaving — and she called me by my name, ‘Fredrick, can you come here a minute’. I went in and seen what her problem was and she said have a chair and sit down. She said, “I wanna say goodbye to you’ and I knew right away that she was talking about death. She wasn’t saying goodbye because she was mad at me and she was leaving — it was a goodbye into death. She said ‘You’ve been a beautiful wonderful husband to me, I love you’ and then in response I said, ‘We’ll say goodbye here, but it’ll be a good morning up there’.”
Almost two weeks slipped by after that and then that was it, she passed on. Fred said one thing he will never forget about Blanche was her love for Christ and her love for music and singing.
“Her favourite song was called the Family Circle,” he said. “She had the most beautiful voice and we had the time of our lives singing together.”