Freida Jane Masterson (Thackrey), 81, passed peacefully into the next life on Sunday, May 3. She was preceded in death by Richard, her husband of 60 years. Surely, they are joined in heaven, where she can once again lay out his clothes and find whatever he misplaced – among the many things he was incapable of doing without her.
She was devoted to her husband, though it was a spirited union. Sparks flew from their differences as well as their similarities … and frequent pranks. They laughed, argued and sang through 60 years, and she missed him greatly since he passed away last October.
She was a mother of boys – Bill, Jeff and Rex – who grew up under her protective watch, unwavering praise and regular attendance at the local Baptist church. She instilled in them a respect for people of all walks of life, faith and strong self-esteem – qualities that led them to happy, full and successful lives. To this day, they are guided by a shared sense that disappointing her was not worth the pleasure – and exceeded any punishment – of straying outside the lines. One of her few vices may have been her conviction that any problem or issue they encountered was likely someone else’s doing.
She welcomed Bill’s wife, Tracey, and Rex’s wife, Cindy, into her family with open arms. Every year on their birthdays, she expressed her gratitude that they were part of her family and for the blessings of her grandchildren.
She created traditions of food and family gatherings for those six grandchildren – Blake (Allison), Adam (Michelle), Van, Peyton, Brett and Abigail. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of their favorite foods, snacks and deserts. Though it sometimes meant four or five main courses, she never missed having their favorites at her table. And she kept a stock of marshmallows and hot dogs to roast on the frequent fires burned for her grandchildren’s enjoyment. When they were young, she was the one they ran to for comfort, protection and “magic mints” to help them sleep. As they grew older, she was the one they called for love and assurance while walking to college classes or on a Sunday evening. A great-grandson, Jaxon, came too late for her to spoil, though she would have loved the chance.
All were welcome at her dining table. From her kitchen, there was always enough – or more to reheat and bring to the table. A sign reading “Sit long, talk much” hung nearby, and she followed it as though it were a commandment. Breakfasts were full country style, and Sunday dinners were afternoon-long events. Somehow the food always lasted as the conversation lingered.
One of her many legacies is a trail of fluffy “na-na” blankets of every conceivable color and pattern, which she sewed and knotted by hand over the years. Initially just for family, she bestowed them to friends, friends of friends and so on. For many, they were a right-of-passage, marking graduations, moving to a new city or marriage.
Throughout her life, Frieda helped those who needed a hand, a ride or an ear – though she would tell you that she received way more than she ever gave in return. She cherished and nurtured her friendships, many that she held most of her life.
In addition to numerous nieces, nephews and other family members, she is survived by three sisters – Mary Vaupel, Barbara (Dave) Short and Sue (Jim) Cloud. They were her partners-in-crime as well as sources of comfort and support. Freida was preceded in death by her parents, Babe and Ruby Thackrey, as well as two brothers, Cecil and Charles.
Freida will be laid to rest on high ground at East Antioch Cemetery beside her husband. In line with social distancing, there is no visitation and burial will be a private, grave-side service. A celebration of Freida’s life is being planned during the summer.
Freida was a serial card sender, letting family and friends know, in her elegant hand writing, that they were in her thoughts and prayers. In lieu of a visitation, her family welcomes cards and letters that share memories of Freida. She cherished those in life, and it would honor her passing for her family to receive them. Please address these to Masterson Family, 721 Country Road 2600 North, Burnt Prairie, IL, 62820.
Contributions may be made in Freida's memory to the Dr. Dennis Scranton Memorial Cancer Fund (benefiting local residents who have ongoing expenses related to active cancer treatments at a recognized treatment center) in Fairfield, IL, or to Liberty Baptist Church in Burnt Prairie, IL, and will be accepted at Campbell Funeral Home in Carmi, IL.