On Thursday morning, September 9, 2021, Wilma White went to be with the Lord. Her services were held at FBC Devine on Friday, the 17th. Wilma’s and Freeman’s son, Rocky, presented a wonderful eulogy, which we have included below. But first, let me share a couple of fond memories of this precious lady.
As a long-time friend of Wilma’s, oftentimes I had the opportunity to enjoy her special kind of humor and presumed naïveté. I say “presumed” because Wilma had a very sharp business mind. Her form of TV entertainment was to run the market report all day long!
One of Wilma’s humorous anecdotes which makes me laugh even today happened some years ago when her beloved Freeman had been hospitalized in San Antonio for several days, and she went to visit him every day. She shared that on one occasion she had stopped to grab a hamburger and coke and took her meal up to his room to enjoy while they visited. When she reached his room, she found him asleep. Wilma told how she saw Freeman sleeping with his mouth open, snoring, feet sticking out from under the sheets. She walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead and asked if he was tired. Then she proceeded to sit and enjoy her meal while she made occasional comments to her still sleeping husband.
But wait. Imagine Wilma’s confusion when she heard a throat clearing from a gentleman in the bed on the other side of the curtain and said to herself, “That sounds a lot like Freeman.” Quietly, Wilma stood up and peaked around the curtain. To her surprise, there lay Freeman! Whoever the gentleman was with whom Wilma had been visiting — the man who had been the recipient of her warm kiss — it was NOT Freeman! She quickly gathered up the remains of her lunch and made her escape to the real Freeman White’s bedside!
On another occasion, Freeman had asked me to take a few moments the next time I went to see Wilma for a Mary Kay delivery and discuss with her the unwise habit she had of carrying her social security card in her wallet. I had a feeling that such a conversation would not be well received, but Freeman assured me that he would help me broach the subject. Sure enough, uncharacteristically, Freeman joined our visit and sat on the ottoman while I sat on a nearby chair and Wilma occupied the corner of the couch. As Freeman eased into the subject, I took the reins and said, “Wilma, you don’t carry your social security card with you, do you? That’s really not a safe idea….” Well, at first, she just defended herself, stating that she had always done that and what was wrong with it? When I continued along those lines, she reared back on the couch, folded her arms, and made me know in no uncertain terms that she was not having that conversation.
About a week later, I called Freeman and asked him if Wilma was still mad at him. He said, “No, she’s not mad at me, but she sure is mad at you!” Way to throw me under the bus, Freeman!
Rocky White’s eulogy to his mother
I am Rocky White, whom Mom fondly referred to as her 1st born. It is a privilege for me to speak on behalf of our family. In all that we do here today, we want to honor her legacy and glorify God.
Mom was born in Von Ormy, TX, to Ruth and Terrell Shuler. She had an older brother, Billy Terrell, and a younger sister, Irene. They were a talented family and loved to play music and sing old gospel songs. Mom loved to tell the story of how her brother introduced her to her beloved husband, Freeman. She said he just kept coming around. One time, she was sitting with her boyfriend, and Dad came and sat down right between them. It made a lasting impression on how much he loved her. They were married soon after that, and Mom has been the fully devoted Proverbs 31 wife for 66 years.
Mom and Dad had three daughters, Cindy, Sheri, Christy, and one incredible son! I am so grateful to have had such an incredible Mom who spoke words of encouragement to me. I remember her quoting Phil. 4:13 when I was discouraged. “For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She shared her strong Christian faith and beliefs with me and always told me how proud she was of me. I know there must have been times when she was speaking it by faith into existence.
Mom expressed her core values for family and unity through her planning exciting gatherings and events that would draw all of us together, from trips to Medina Lake with the boat after church on Sundays, to Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. She worked tirelessly creating a family culture of love and spending family time together.
After a full day of food, family and fellowship, Mom would entertain the grandkids by letting them ride her around the living room floor on her hands and knees. She would begin to buck with the older kids and they would be laughing so hard they couldn’t stay on. Once her knees couldn’t take it anymore, she transitioned into the grandkids favorite “The Rinkty Ranktapus”. Mom was so funny, humble, loving and kind.
Many people said she looked like Lucille Ball, and I was very proud of that association, which I thought was most appropriate. I saw Mom as elegant, sophisticated, beautiful, and graceful. Even though she had all of these fine qualities, she also knew how to be down to earth, be silly and have fun! I think all of us kids and grandkids would agree she was entertaining, playful, amusing, humorous, and loved to laugh at herself.
I had the privilege to spend a lot of time with Mom over these last few years and would like to reflect on some of the joy and happiness I received from serving and honoring my Mom. As my faith continued to grow in these past years through fellowship and studies with my wife, Lisa, and our church, I never knew how much I would come to need and trust and lean into Jesus for wisdom and peace concerning my parents. I tried not to worry about anything but pray about everything, which is what Mom used to say to me. With many tough decisions to make concerning their well being and quality of life, I would be obedient to the promptings and gentle nudges the Holy Spirit would lay on my heart.
My wife and I looked at many facilities, knowing they needed 24/7 care. When we selected Discovery Village at the Dominion, I was at peace knowing I was doing the right thing even though they knew nothing and were totally opposed to leaving their home. I had already paid the 1st month’s rent for both and picked out their rooms before I told them. This is not about me, the only reason I say this is to honor God in His goodness. He gave me the Peace that surpasses all understanding. Once we moved Mom and Dad into Discovery Village, Mom had her private apartment on the 1st floor in memory care, and Dad had his private room on the 2nd floor in Assisted Living.
Dad would go down to visit Mom and bring her over to the AL side and push her up to the Grand Piano. Mom looked over the keyboard and began to play and sing. The staff was shocked with amazement and said “what a beautiful voice.” The next day, Dad brings her over again, so the staff began setting up chairs so the residents would have a place to sit as many gathered around. Mom had an audience, and she loved it!
Mom would always say “you will never escape my prayers”, (found this handwritten in her bible). On the evening on Sept 8th, the night before Mom goes to be with the Lord, I had the most beautiful, joyful, peaceful visit with her. I was able to get her to take a few sips of juice and make her comfortable. I told her how much I loved her, what a great Mom she was to all of us. I thanked her for helping me with my homework and writing all those papers for me in high school so I could stay eligible to play football and graduate. She responded each time with a slight smile and a nodding of her head. I was able to get Cindy, Sheri and Christy each individually on the phone to talk to Mom. She was able to hear their precious voices once again and she seemed so peaceful as she laid and listened. Dad comes into her room on his scooter; she opens her eyes to see Freeman, her Sweetie.
As Dad and I continued to visit in the presence of the Holy Spirit, Mom looks so peaceful and content. Elizabeth, the hospice nurse, drops in for a visit and begins to check her vitals. They all look very good. It’s starting to get late, so Dad heads off to his room for bed. Elizabeth and I continue to examine Mom and make her comfortable. We also begin to share our faith and different ministries we are involved in. Elizabeth and I were filled with the Holy Spirit; joy and peace overcame us. We were having church in Mom’s presence. Elizabeth told me the hearing is the last thing to go.
I left that night with the most incredible sense of peace, joy, and happiness, not knowing that Mom would pass so soon. But, looking back, I see how God so graciously loves, cares, and orche
strates our lives to the very end as we trust in HIM.