William (Bill) Laverne Free, 89, of Clifton, Tennessee, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on January 8, 2023.
Bill was born in 1933 to William and Pauline Free in Wayne County, Tennessee. He graduated from Frank Hughes College, 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 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 not ideal, and upon moving to Snowflake, Arizona, to be close to Martha's family, he began working for short haul trucking companies to be home at night, from which he retired. After the passing of Martha, he returned to Clifton in 1997.
He met Bonnie Shavers, and after spending much time together, they were married. The union only lasted a few years due to circumstances beyond their control.
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 and Edward, his three sons and their spouses, Allen and Candi, Greg, Keith and Cammy, seven grandchildren, and eleven great great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023 from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Waynesboro, TN and he taken to Snowflake, AZ where he will be a graveside service and burial with Shackelford Funeral Directors assisting the family.