SPOILER ALERT: A new Hollywood drama tries to defame Fred Schlafly by portraying him as a rapist! Nothing could be further from the truth. This terrible depiction of my honorable father is an attempt to discredit the loving relationship that truly existed between my mother and father. I know the truth because my bedroom was next to their bedroom!
Read about their real relationship in this beautiful eulogy of her husband Fred, written by my mother, Phyllis Schlafly:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”
With Fred, all the great principles of God, Home, and Country were one great continuum. There was nothing compartmentalized or inconsistent about him. What you saw was what you got. He was upright and honorable, intensely patriotic, and very generous with his talents and resources to his community and to good causes.
Since he believed in fixed standards, he was completely predictable in his behavior. He was certain God laid down the moral law for all of us to obey. He was not a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing among only the Commandments he found convenient. He tried to obey them all.
The good Lord rewarded Fred with great success in his profession. He had a distinguished legal career that spanned fifty years, representing some of Alton’s finest citizens and most productive businesses. He loved the practice of law; he loved the intellectual challenge and he enjoyed the intense competition of it. He was respected in the legal profession and the business world both for his skills and his integrity.
Fred had a strong sense of community service, believing that the Alton, Illinois area had been a good home to him and a fine place to raise his family and achieve the American dream. He probably spent as much time in volunteer work and community service as he did on his law practice, serving on numerous civic boards and commissions, and doing pro bono legal service to help the growth of the area, and for many charitable institutions and patriotic causes. The Alton Blood Bank called on him frequently – even in the middle of the night – to donate his universal Type O blood in emergency cases.
Fred was blessed with an extraordinarily happy and fruitful marriage. He loyally backed all his wife’s hobbies and activities, often quipping, “I only regret I have but one wife to give to my country.” When Phyllis ran for office and lost, he told reporters, “My wife thanks all those who voted for her in the election, and I thank all those who did not.”
Fred’s concept of marriage was that it was made in Heaven – a lifetime commitment, based on enduring promises not only to each other and to their children, but to God, to duty, and to responsibility. He took the responsibilities of husband and father very seriously. He was a father his children respected and loved. He played with his children when they were little, he trained them as they were growing, he motivated them to be all they could be in the different career paths they chose, and, most important, he set a standard of honor, integrity, and hard work that his children could admire and imitate. His six children will always remember him with pride and say, “There was a man. I’m proud to be his son or daughter.”
Fred served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and he remained in the reserves for many years. When the Navy notified him that he was too old to be continued in the reserves any longer, Fred wrote back and offered to prove his fitness to remain in the reserves by competing in any sport with any man of any age in his rank. The Navy kept him for another five years.
Fred’s sense of patriotic service to America lasted throughout his life and caused him to use his considerable talents to participate as a citizen-volunteer in our process of self-government by helping to elect good candidates, adopt good conservative government, respect for human life, and vigorous defenses against our nation’s external and internal enemies.
Fred had a strong concept of health and exercise, believing that a strong body houses a strong mind. After boxing and playing football in college, he kept up his participation in golf, tennis, handball, hockey, and jogging. He continued his handball career into his fifties, winning three trophies at the Alton YMCA playing men half his age. He was remarkably competitive in everything he undertook. He would chin himself daily and stand on his hands every night before bedtime. (He thought that extra blood flow to his full head of hair would prevent male pattern baldness; he never lost his hair.)
Indeed, whether it was sports, the law, issues of public policy, or setting standards for his family, Fred was a man on uncommon perseverance and determination in pursuit of his self-imposed discipline and goals.
Why a man of such immense physical and mental strength would be deprived of those strengths in the last ten years of his life on this earth is something that only God knows. The rest of us can speculate that these trials were part of God’s plan for Fred. One thing we do know is that Fred would not have tried to second-guess God’s judgment about the mission he assigns to each of us and the challenges that we must face.
Fred Schlafly was a man of honor and integrity, of Irish good humor, of faith and fidelity to God, Family, and Country. He was a man for all seasons. Those who knew and admired him would find it easy to imagine that Fred would accept death with wit and style rather than ever deny his faith.