William (Bill) Laverne Free, 89, of Clifton, Tennessee, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on January 8, 2023.
Bill was born on September 3, 1933 to William and Pauline Free in Clifton, Tennessee. He graduated from Frank Hughes High School, in Clifton, Tennessee. Upon graduation, he worked for a while on river boats, ferrying cargo up and down the Tennessee River, before joining the Air Force and leaving Clifton for well over 40 years. While in the Air Force, he met and married Martha Jo Tate on June 6, 1956, while in Winslow, Arizona. Bill and Martha had three sons, Allen, Greg and Keith.
Bill was a decorated Air Force Veteran, serving during the Korean War. He owned and successfully operated several small businesses over the years in Winslow, Arizona, and eventually Cullman and Baileyton, Alabama, including driving long haul tractor-trailers. He found that being away from home and family was ot ideal, and upon moving to Snowflake, Arizona, to be close to Martha's family, he began working for Kirby Construction and eventually Reidhead Sand and Rock, from which he retired. After the passing of Martha, he returned to Clifton in 1997.
He fought many health battles over the years, ranging from chopping up his big toe with a riding mower to beating cancer, but was eventually overcome by dementia. Greg provided his in-home care for years, until a greater level of care was required by a full time nursing facility in Savannah, Tennessee, where he spent his last few months.
He was well liked by all who knew him, and will be missed by many.
Bill was preceded in death by his loving wife, Martha Jo. He is survived by his two younger brothers, Eugene (Marion Faye), and Edward; his three sons and their spouses, Allen and Candi, Greg, Keith and Cammy' seven grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.
A Visitation will be held Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 10:00 at Owens Livingston Mortuary, 84 E. 19 S., Snowflake, Arizona, with Funeral Service to follow at 11:00 a.m.
Burial will follow at R.V. "Mike" Ramsay Memorial Cemetery in Snowflake, Arizona.