Freddie was a program management adviser at FedEx, and he lay dying from cancer, he gave his family a strict edict: no tears.
"I don't want a funeral where everyone is standing around crying, mourning over me," he told his wife Karen. "I want my friends to celebrate my life." So, after the funeral on Saturday, after they mourn his passing, Freddie's friends and family are going to the East End Grill, one of his favorite haunts, to have a party. They will celebrate his "zest for life," as he wanted.
"He was a character. He was so much fun," his wife said. "He was very charismatic. He was fun. He was jolly." The funeral procession might look a little odd, though. That's because Freddie was a devoted car enthusiast, with his latest obsession being a Shelby Cobra replica.
So Freddie's fellow Cobra owners plan to escort his cremated remains to the party in his honor. That seems fitting for a guy sometimes called "Flying Freddie," a man who loved anything with speed.
"They are race cars with license plates on them," said Ron Frohs, his friend and fellow Cobra owner. "Any guy that's a car guy has a love for American horsepower and speed." Freddie first fell in love with cars when he bought a Camaro in his younger days. Over the years, that car was followed by another Camaro as well as a Porsche 944, Porsche 911 and a 1929 Model A Ford, among others.
Twice a year, Freddie and his friends took their cars to racetracks around the country to indulge that need for speed, often pushing the Cobras past 150 mph, Frohs said. Of course, anyone who owns such a car, and has experience driving it that fast, must have trouble staying under the speed limit on regular roads, right?
"In the 38 years that we were married, he hardly ever got a speeding ticket," Karen Rice said. "He did not go over the speed limit. He would race the car in North Carolina or Ohio, but when he was on the street, he obeyed the speed limit."
ED: Somehow, I see Freddie's red face with that big trademark smile in clear view looking at his speedometer... And it's A-ok.
Below is a poster some of his friends sent him while he was in the hospital to cheer him up during his last days...