The phrase ‘Best Man’ has stuck in my mind for days now and I can’t seem to shake it. ‘Best Man’ is reserved as a title for the principal groomsman at a wedding but the reason the phrase won’t leave me is I have known who the best man was for many years.
In our extended family, Uncle Billy Loveless was always the best man. All of us knew it and none doubted it. The males in our extended family were always sure we would not go wrong if we followed Uncle Billy’s example.
One week ago today on a beautiful first Wednesday in April, William David Loveless was laid to rest in our old home town of Albany, Georgia. It seems a paradox of nature itself for such a good man to pass away and be buried just when azaleas in a multitude of gorgeous, rich colors adorn every Southern lawn with wisteria and dogwood trees flashing and blooming their beauty from wooded areas along the roadways.
Billy was a young man in Macon, Georgia before he came to Albany. He moved to Albany in 1952 and retired from the Albany Fire Department as a Captain after 35 years. This proven stability in his life’s work followed him as a true and telling benchmark of his life for well over sixty years and he never wavered in following the path he marked for himself as a young man so many years ago.
Billy was only about ten years older than me but by virtue of his long marriage to Kay’s Aunt Sara (Sister to Kay’s Mother Grace) he was Kay’s Uncle Billy and certainly, by default, he was my Uncle Billy. When you get right down to it Billy Loveless was ‘Uncle’ to a host of people.
He and his lovely wife Sara were married for 63 years. Sara and Billy were blessed with three pretty daughters. Judy Loveless married Fred Burt. Delores Loveless is married to Ken Phillips. Lisa, Billy and Sara’s youngest Daughter tragically passed away when she was only sixteen. Delores and Judy are sweet mothers to four children of their own and at Billy’s passing he and Sara had been blessed with six great-grandchildren as well and what a fantastic brood of children they are.
He loved them dearly and each of them is a living testament to the caliber of man he was. He was kind, generous to a fault, warm and tenderhearted, loving and caring and those fine qualities of an honorable man are reflected in the personalities of his progeny. They are all loving and happy children.They have inherited from Billy and Sara the capacity to face adversity with brave and joyous laughter.
Billy managed to do things I have never been able to do. He volunteered freely of his time and life for causes he believed in. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. He was a member of Sherwood Baptist Church and The Encouragers Sunday School Class. He was a member of Triangle Lodge #708 F&AM. He was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, a member of Hasan Shrine Temple, The Red Devil Clown Unit and a member of Royal Order of the Jesters, Court #159.
Billy Loveless was a noble and godly man. He believed in God with all his heart. He was honorable, faithful and caring. He adored his wife Sara and a number of his final days were spent in worry about her future existence if he would not be there to care for her.
And now you may think I have run out of good adjectives in describing Uncle Billy Loveless but I knew I had the right adjective from the very start. Uncle Billy was ‘The Best Man.’ He was the Best Man I have ever known. I will miss him.