Wilburn McFarland (1916 - 2012)

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Wilburn Roy McFarland

Graveside funeral services for Wilburn Roy McFarland, born Nov. 6, 1916, will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, December 22, 2012 at Chapelwood Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Vivian officiated by Rev. Mark Crook. He grew up in Trees City—the son of Venice and John McFarland, part-time farmer and employee of the Standard Oil Company. As the third of five children, he loved cars and sometimes got into mischief with his friends, once letting the air out of the tires of someone's Model A. Being the ringleader's "buddy in crime" earned him the nickname Buddy, which stuck with him for a lifetime.

After completing the eleventh grade (the highest grade offered at the time), Roy graduated and held a variety of jobs—construction, flunky at the general store of a relative in Lodi, Texas, and then as an ice man back in Trees City. He'd start out at 4:00 a.m. from Ice Plant Hill and deliver from house to house, refilling ice boxes—forerunners of today's refrigerators.

He met Futrell Whatley, of Marion County, on a blind date and their relationship grew serious. Later after joining the Army, Roy was stationed at San Diego and, in January of 1942 Futrell joined him. When her train arrived, they sped across the desert to be married in Yuma, Arizona, where Roy got such a queasy stomach that he couldn't eat (even his favorite dessert--a banana split). Earlier this year, they celebrated their 70th anniversary--Futrell was the jewel and love of his life.

Back home in Trees, after his honorable discharge in 1946, he went to work for the family-owned oil producer, Hart-McFarland, as a roustabout and later gang-pusher and pumper. Following the birth of their son Mike in 1948, he became active in the Trees Union Church, then the Trees Baptist Church, where he showed himself a natural leader as a deacon, then chairman of deacons—over the years, he mentored many younger members as they developed into fine Christian leaders.

He always loved people and managed to have fun with everyone he met—often being late for meals at home because of conversations at work or even on the roads if he met someone he knew.

Roy retired from Hart-McFarland in 1999 at the age of 82, and in recent years, one of the joys of his life has been his grand-daughter, Caitlin, who came with her parents to visit from Houston on weekends and holidays. At age 7 she wrote for a school assignment: "My grandpa's name is Roy. He is a little fat but I still love him. He plays ball and games with me. Me and him go to Wall-Mart together. He gives me money to spend at Wall-Mart. Me and him are a prefect pear."

Now Roy has gone to be with his Lord and Savior, and his favorite hymn, "When They Ring Those Golden Bells" is playing in heaven. Those bells are ringing today.

Wilburn Roy McFarland is survived by his wife Futrell (of Vivian), two brothers Billy Joe (Lafayette) and John (Vivian), his son Mike and daughter-in-law Tammy (Houston), grand-daughter Caitlin (Austin), step-grandson Josh (with wife Amy, grand-children Otis and Lucy of Berkeley, CA), and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and older siblings Donald McFarland and Mozelle McFarland Hart (Vivian).

The family expresses heartfelt gratitude to his physician Dr. John Haynes, to Regional Hospice, and most importantly, to all who took such loving care of him at home in recent times. Thanks also to the members of Trees Baptist Church and to the Rev. Mark Crook for officiating at the service, as well as his continued support, visits, and prayers. Finally, a heartfelt "thank you" to all family and loving friends who have come by, called, or sent food/flowers.

For those wishing to offer a gift in lieu of flowers, please send to Trees Baptist Church (Building Fund), 11391 Trees City Rd, Vivian, LA 71082.

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Published in Shreveport Times on Dec. 22, 2012
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