Fred Belmont Hardin (Old Fred the Welder) died at my home yesterday morning. He was 86. He was a lifelong welder, and probably forgot more about it than I will ever learn. He could stick weld two aluminum beer cans together. But, he also fabricated some pretty unusual stuff, some of it for Mall of The Americas. He was a reserve police officer, a retired EMT, and retired tow operator.
He fed a lot of hungry souls, put them up for the night when their cars were broke down, got a lot of people back on the highway with just his address and the trust that they would send him the money for repairs, and pulled many a person out of a ditch for free. He was a successful businessman, but just barely because he had such a big heart and little killer attitude. One of the guys who was there first and last to leave, and out in the rain instead of under the cover.
We had him for a year and a day after he found out he had terminal cancer, and we invited him to come stay with us. He was only really sick for a month. The hospice people were super who came every day. Even the Medicare and Medicaid people who brought him a hospital bed and all sorts of hospital stuff. Hats off to those angels who work for hospice.
They brought lots of morphine, but only at the end did he ask for it, realizing that it would hasten his departure. He made his peace with everyone and God, then left.
I'll miss you, Fred.