Our Son, William, physically died as a result of injuries sustained in a swimming accident in Tampa, Florida on August 23, 2012; his beautiful and generous spirit lives on. William was a kind and empathetic young man. We love and miss him more with each passing moment. We are guided by William's kindness.
William was born in Danville, IL on July 3, 1990. He was one of those beautiful children 'born on a sunny day'! William was a very thoughtful and happy child. He was baptized when he was three months old at Holy Family Catholic Church in Danville, wearing his Grandpa Joe's baptismal gown. William attended East Park Elementary School in Danville until moving to Tampa in 1999. He learned sign language when he was just six years old so he could communicate with a hearing impaired student in school who didn't seem to have many friends. Later, sign language would become a part of the school curriculum. William graduated from King High School in Tampa in 2008, where he was a member of the KHS Marching Lions Band. He attended college in Tampa and planned to continue his education in Hamilton, Scotland in the Culinary Arts field. William had a great work ethic and hoped to someday open his own restaurant.
William had such a great sense of humor. He was very quick witted, even at a young age. He could always see the funny side of things. William also had an appreciation for all types of music and instinctively knew how to play any instrument he picked up. Over the years he took lessons and played the violin, guitar, keyboard, trumpet and his Step-dad Jimmy's, Scottish tin whistles; all with ease, like a professional. When I took him to buy his first violin at the age of nine, the first time he played it in the shop, the salesman asked how long William had been playing. I said, "Just a few minutes." William was a natural. The next morning, he woke me up at 6am playing "Here Comes the Sun". He had his first lesson that day. William made up little songs and verses that we still sing today!
William loved football and his favorite teams were the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. William also enjoyed watching Rugby with Jimmy. His favorite baseball team was the Chicago Cubs, but he liked watching all the teams play. William liked NASCAR and Indy racing and even went to the Indianapolis 500 time trials where he won the 'Mini-Indy' at the age of six! William enjoyed playing golf and could swim beautifully from the age of three.
William loved being with us in Hamilton, where he was happy, relaxed and confident. He enjoyed cooking and often invented his own dishes at home. We played many board games with Monopoly being his favorite. William enjoyed watching David Attenborough and Ray Mears programs about nature. He had an interest in World War II history and read several Stephen E. Ambrose books about the war with Band of Brothers being his favorite. William also enjoyed being outdoors and especially loved walking the trails and countryside in and around Hamilton. Through the years, we spent a lot of time exploring parks in Illinois, Indiana and Florida. We had many picnics and weenie roasts. We can still see William setting cheese and chicken nuggets out at night for the foxes! He also fed the birds and squirrels daily. William loved nature.
We traveled a lot with William and he was the most wonderful travel companion ever! He was always eager to see and learn new things. He was very respectful of history and other cultures. William visited London several times, as well as Rome, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Washington, DC and he spent many happy years as a child, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and running along the beaches of Florida. Being stung by a Stingray his very first time at the beach in Florida in 1998 didn't deter William from coming back to the shore a few days later. (This time more cautiously!) We have many, many happy memories and photographs of William all through the years. We treasure them all.
Even at a young age, William could sense suffering in other children. He would come home from school and tell us about children who were less fortunate and always asked how we could help. William understood that it was also important to protect a person's pride, so he never wanted to let any of the children know that he was the one who helped them. His soul was pure and his heart was so full of love.
When William was a little boy in Danville, he would give away his winter hats and gloves to children on the school playground who didn't have any. He didn't tell us what he was doing at first — and when we found out, we were so proud we had such a kind and loving son. We took him shopping and bought hats and gloves in all sizes and colors that he happily put in his book bag. William never told us who he gave them to because he said he didn't want anyone to feel bad. Sensitive and generous, he recognized just how valuable kindness is. William loved making people smile and his journey continues.
William helped a lot of children in a variety of ways, therefore establishing a Memorial Page on the Smile Train Website is one of the ways we are helping William continue to help others. Please think of William and wish him well on his journey. As of November 2022, forty-seven children have received life changing surgery. William has much more to accomplish on his Path - we can feel his approval and we know he is up to the task ツ
William is very much alive in our hearts. We Love and miss him dearly. The world has lost a true friend. William's smile was so beautiful and he will now live on in the smiles of others. He will live on doing what he was born to do - to help other people - because Love is without end. We will forever walk beside him on his journey to help others. We walk forward - as one - on William's Path.
As of Spring 2022, over 2400 trees have been planted in memory of William in the United States; Heartwood Forest - Hertfordshire, England; Hamilton, Scotland and the Scottish Highlands. Not only is William helping to restore the Caledonian Forest (with over 490 trees so far) - he is also helping to reforest America! Over 1900 trees through the Arbor Day Foundation, American Forests, Redwood Forest Foundation, Sequoia Forest Keeper and privately have been planted in William's memory in Illinois, Blackwater River State Forest - Florida, Tahoe National Forest - California, George Washington National Forest - Virginia, Redwood Regional Park - California and in the American West. William has even adopted a Sequoia Tree in the Sequoia National Forest! New trees are being added to William's World Wide Grove all the time. This is William's contribution to perpetual environmental improvement. ☼
We live our lives in remembrance of William. We are guided by the memory of his kindness. Thank you for taking the time to read about our Son. We truly appreciate your visit. Please take a few minutes to view William's photo albums and share a Smile with him ツ
342 Forever, William ♥
Jennifer and Jimmy Fry
~ Peace be with William and All who Love Him ~
♫ All of the music we have chosen has special meaning to William, as these songs were among his favorites ♫
Thank you for visiting William's Tribute. We invite you to leave a message or light a candle for him. Sincerely - Jennifer and Jimmy