Freddie Green's Eulogy
Written and presented by his son, Al Green, on March 6, 1987. Mr. Green has graciously given permission to post the eulogy.
Frederick William Green, known to most of you as Freddie Green, Pep to some, or perhaps Mr. Rhythm to others, to us... just Dad. His children saw him as a quiet man who communicated extensively with his eyes, and whose understatements commanded our attentions. If we could see his eyes we always knew where we stood. Dad was a private man, yet he had an enormous capacity for embracing those he felt were sincere, but he could spot a phony a mile away.
His life was rooted in family, tradition, and heritage. He saw the present through the past and was able to traverse between the two, to make life more meaningful for himself and his family. Our holidays were always spent around a table of traditional Southern cooking, topped off at Christmas time with a fruitcake sent up from Charleston, by Aunt Vi. Dad was also a great cook. His creamy sweet potato pie, was always a hit with us. Dinners provided Dad a captive audience for his family-based story telling, that were usually informative , but always down-right hilarious. We would listen with great anticipation, while he developed his colorful characters. To insure his narratives were successful, he would provide a visual, like imitating a walk or speech pattern that would leave us under the table. Laughter was an integral part of our experience with Dad.
He loved the game of golf and the financial rewards that went with it. He was an incredible golfer with a rhythm to his swing that was duffer's dream. Many of his golf buddies here today are thinking, now that he is gone, how will I ever get even? Right, Joe Williams?
Dad had a quiet dignity about him, with a demeanor of an elder statesman, unassuming, diplomatic, and fair. I spent three days with Dad to celebrate his Grammy nomination as a member of The Swing Reunion album. As we got dressed for the affair that evening, he asked if I would help him with his bow tie, a kind of reversal of roles that we both acknowledged warmly. After the Grammys when we were departing, we kissed and embraced, (not knowing that it would be for the last time), he said, "I really enjoyed this time we got to spend together. It was special."
You've lost Mr. Rhythm. We've lost our Dad. I've lost my hero.