Fred Gilreath Jr.
Fred Gilreath, Jr., a master carpenter, was called home by The Master Carpenter early morning, July 27, 2018. Fred was born to Florence and Fred Gilreath Sr., on December 14, 1943, in Cambridge, MA. He was married to the love of his life, Sandi (Helsley) on September 27, 1968, at Camp Bethel in the Big Horns. He was predeceased by his parents and brothers Bob and Charlie. Surviving him are sisters, Pat and Joanne, and brother, Jim. Living to honor his memory are his wife Sandi; children Sheridan Ellis (John), Shannon Gilreath, and Shawn Gilreath (Kim); grandchildren Cecily (Jasper), Dustin (Amanda), Jacob, Isabella, Katey and Kylea.
His life was characterized by his love for his family and serving his Lord, whether on the six overseas mission trips he participated in, taking indigent people for hot meals, or volunteering to help build a church somewhere in Montana. During his years of ministry with the Christian Motorcycle Association, you could find him manning a water stop along the highway, giving out cold water and cookies to bikers on their way to Sturgis. As one of his friends said, “Fred was always on the lookout to help someone in need.” Every day, he lived out his life’s verse: “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Fred loved children and they loved him. It didn’t take them long to warm up to “Uncle Fred,” as many of them called him. And it was no wonder: Fred’s twinkling blue eyes and his welcoming smile could win anyone over. He often invited older children from his Sunday School class to visit his shop where he gave them lessons in woodworking. He was happiest in his shop where he always had several projects going on while listening to golden oldies. Over the years he delighted many friends with gifts of his creation.
The 911 tragedy had a profound effect on Fred. Demonstrating his faith and his love for his country, the following years he displayed a giant American flag on the rims, often joined in prayer by others. True to his Irish heritage, Fred was a jokester and a prankster. He was also a hit in a couple of church plays. People often said Fred didn’t have to get into character: he was a natural-born character.
Fred loved the Sea and always dreamed of having a sail boat christened the “Missing U.” As we reflect upon this great man, we will be “Missing You!” Memorials are suggested to Fruit Bearers Ministry, PO Box 2923 Leavenworth, WA 98826 or Montana Rescue Mission. Condolences may be shared with the family by visiting smithfuneralchapels.com.