Remembering Bill Fraunholtz, Sr.

This weekend is jam-packed with family and friends. Drew and I have a great shower in store for us where we will see so many family and friends who are there to celebrate our future new arrival!

While we’ll enjoy this great weekend, I will be thinking over the next week – even more than I already do – about how I wish my Dad was here to meet our new arrival in September. He would be proud, excited, and ready to celebrate!

So in memory of my Dad, I wanted to share the eulogy that I wrote for him at gave at his funeral on August 8, 2009. It wasn’t huge or anything spectacular. It was just  a page full of words that meant – and still mean a lot to me. He’d be proud.

… There’s a saying that I’ve heard many times throughout my life that always reminded me of my Dad. In fact, he had a t-shirt with this saying on it, but he never really wanted to wear it. The saying was “you can always tell a German, but you can’t tell him much.” For those who knew dad well – you knew this to be a true statement.

Dad was very stubborn, straight forward, no-nonsense, and feisty. He was a hard-headed perfectionist who was meticulous about the details. Dad cared about doing things right the first time no matter what he was working on. He also never made it a secret that you were messing something up.

As many of you know, Dad was born here in STL to very hard-working German parents who came here from Pennsylvania and Ohio. They owned a Cornwell tool distributorship downtown, which is where Dad’s carpenter roots began. He loved his tools, and he loved being busy. In fact, if he wasn’t working on his own projects, I bet he was working on many other projects for those of you here with us today.

Dad always had to stay busy. If he wasn’t working on something, he was in his garden out at Bo’s, running dogs with Ed, finishing basements with Dale, going hunting with Steve, or fishing with Uncle Wayne and the guys. There was always something going on.

Dad Family
Larry’s Tavern, Grover, MO

My Dad knew how to have a good time too. I don’t think there is a Fraunholtz who doesn’t know how to have a good time. And with good times come many great friends. Dad had so many great friends who have woven themselves into the fabric of our family’s life. Dad taught us the importance of friendship, and what it means to value and respect relationships.

Dad taught the three of us kids so many things… manners, how to hit a ball, how to dance, how to drive, how to hunt for morels, how to grow a garden.

Bill Fraunholtz and his custom Gravely

Dad also taught us that life is about family. Even though he wasn’t a touchy-feely kind of guy, he always pushed us to do our best, be our best, and be together. He so wanted a strong family. All of you here were his family. He would have done anything for any of you.

One of my favorite movies is called “Big Fish.” It’s a story about a guy who is on the verge of losing his father. The entire movie is about how this guy’s dad had a story for every event in his life. Big stories. LARGER than life stories, and all his life the son never believed his dad’s stories because they were just so crazy.

Anyway, one of my favorite moments in the movie is when a younger version of the father says, “There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they’re faster or stronger than other fish. They’re just touched by something extra.”  My Dad was something extra.

Later on in that movie, an older version of the dad says… “A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.” I hope all of you here continue to tell stories about my Dad, long after he is gone because he was an uncatchable fish who loved life.

While I know this week has been somewhat surreal and unexpected for all of us, I can’t help but think that my Dad is in a better place where he can spread his wings, a place where he’s with his family, a place where he knows that his wife, children, family and friends all love him very much. Even though we couldn’t tell him much, he knew how much we loved him. I’m proud to be his daughter, and we’re all proud that he is our Dad. Let’s remember everything that Dad shared with us – those bigger than life stories that will live on in each of us. Let’s be happy knowing that those memories will live on until we meet again.


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