Richard Freed, a resident of Roca Azul, Jocotepec, died at home Friday, July 7 at the age of 79, with his wife Rosalind holding his hand.
Born in London, England in 1938, Freed remembers German planes flying over, bombs dropping and the capital burning in the Blitz.
Freed grew up playing in bombed out houses. Schooling wasn’t too important to Cockney kids in those days and attendance was erratic. The teacher, he recalled, taught his class to break into old houses and steal whatever they could carry. The most successful thief got the best marks.
At 18, Freed joined the British Parachute Regiment. He loved it, and was always the bravest and biggest show off. In the 1950s, he saw action in Suez and Cyprus.
After leaving the Army, Freed worked in multiple jobs, and had two children with his first wife, Yvonne, before separating after 20 years.
Harboring a taste for adventure, he then landed a job in southern Spain, selling vacation homes. Here, he met Rosalind, whom he later married, and the couple had a son. Within six months they opened a successful restaurant, “Richards” in Nerja, Malaga, on the Costa del Sol. After he employed a guitar player who discovered Freed could sing a bit, he was the star of the show.
The couple eventually sold the restaurant and built a full-scale Western Fort, where Freed was the Singing Cowboy on a white dancing horse. But after some financial problems, the business closed and they headed to the United States, where he drove taxis and bought and sold houses, while earning his real estate license.
They later bought a restaurant in Arizona, where Creed met a honky-tonk piano player and the pair put on shows together. He always said they had more fun than the customers.
A tragedy devastated the couple’s lives when their only son, John, was killed in a shooting accident at age 16.
The couple then moved to Costa Rica, where Creed bought, fixed up and sold houses, although the market at that time wasn’t good. He did, however, learn to play the piano during his stay there.
The next move was to Chapala, where they rented a house which became “Richard’s Restaurant.”
Creed’s showpiece song was “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash and he would interpret it without music.
Creed was eventually forced to retire although he still overflowed with entrepreneurial ideas.
Creed leaves a large family in Britain, all living in London, who had hoped he would one day return there.
Former Ajijic resident, Wayne Philpott, passed away Monday, July 17 in Houston, Texas.
Born in 1928, Philpott was a proud graduate of Baylor University, where he made many life-long friends. While attending Baylor, he served several churches as Minister of Music. While serving as minister of music in San Antonio, he would take the 5 a.m. train into the city. On one particularly cold morning he put on his suit over his pajamas. After leading the song service, he sat down on the podium and soon noticed the front row of older women pointing and laughing. He looked down and saw the bottoms of his pajamas hanging out. From then on, he was known as “Pajama Phil”
Philpott continued in this role after graduation for several years until he faced the fact he couldn’t read music or sing. He then went to work for Word Record Company in Waco, in the book division.
Following these two careers, Philpott found his life-long passion: traveling. He formed Wayne’s World Travel and for 35 years took clients on international trips.
Israel was one of his favorite destinations. Clients always loved his stories of the Gospel and history. Philpott had a passionate way of making the Bible come to life for his clients.
While living at Lakeside for 14 years, he and his now ex-wife Jenny met and fell in love with two little girls, Cynthia and Azul. He became their “grandfather” and they his “granddaughters.” He delighted in spending Saturdays with them and teaching them to swim. Their water balloon fights were legendary, as was his losing at card games and eating chocolate with them. He mesmerized the girls with his card and magic tricks and also enjoyed dressing up as Santa Claus.
On Sundays, he took the girls to Lake Chapala Baptist church, where he sometimes was the Minister of Music. He loved singing in the Christmas programs at the church. For several years he was the song leader for “Second Sunday Sing,” which was a community all-denominational-based sing-a-long.
Additionally, for two years in a row, Philpott brought the Houston Children’s Chorus down to the area for one week of concerts and dancing with local Mexican children.
Philpott started exhibiting the symptoms of dementia ten years ago. This robbed him of his funny personality, zest for life and finally all his treasured memories.
Philpott is survived by his ex-wife, Jenny Jackson, granddaughters Cynthia and Azul and three grown children.
A memorial service was held Thursday, July 27 at South Main Baptist church in Houston, Texas, where he was a member for 30 years.