We are gathered here today to celebrate and pay tribute to a man who is well loved.
He is loved in so many ways and each one of those ways has a name.
The names are Dad and Grandpaw, William and Moody, Uncle Bill and A-Bill, Percival Pringle the third, "Percy" and Oh Yes…Paul Bearer.
He is loved as Paul Bearer. The family has received such an outpouring of love from his fans all over the country. He is remembered for the fun he brought to their lives. Its just amazing all the people he touched by being Paul. That does not just stop at the fans. There is no doubt the WWE would not have been the same without him. He helped shape the careers of so many wrestlers over the years. He knew the business. He was a student of the ring from the time he was a boy and his dad would take him to the wrestling matches. He was a master of the kayfabe - which means he made it all seem real, the rivalries seemed genuine. And he loved that part of it. I asked him once what was his favorite memory being Paul. He said, "It was the first time I walked into Madison Square Garden. I knew I had made it. I had been there many times after, but it was that first time." What a blessing! There are few people in this world who can follow their dreams and make it happen. And he did.
This brings me to another name and way he is loved.
He is loved as Percy Pringle. These were fun years. He worked hard after he got out of the Air Force. He worked at a funeral home to begin his path as a funeral director, which would become his steady job to fall back on. He worked for an ambulance service, and he worked at following his heroes, building his life in the wrestling world. Over these years his hair grew, and finding out he was more fit for managing than wrestling, he dyed it blonder (only to have it shaved off later in the ring and replaced briefly by a pink wig!) He became a success locally in the corner of the ring, and helped others to find success too. These are the years he met his future bride, the love of his life, Dianna, and his first child, was born. This is when our family all lived close and we were younger and healthier. We did not have much and we did not need much. We listened to old country music while we played penny poker games out in the yard. We tried to record when Percy was on TV with a Super 8 camera and a cassette tape. And the friends he had back then were his closest friends for life. Wanting better for his family, he moved to Texas achieving his degree in Mortuary Science. He and his young family returned closer to home with a better job, Then Percy started to travel. We all know how he climbed his way up to Florida, then Texas. And his second son was born. The Percy Pringle years had some of the greatest moments in his life, except the birth of his grandchildren. Including the call from the WWF. But He said himself in Percy's blog , "Long story short, In my opinion, it doesn't matter if you are a good guy or a bad guy in wrestling, it is what you have done outside of it that matters most."
Outside of the ring, to Aunt Diane, old friends and family he was William or Moody. When he really had them laughing, it was Moody-Please!! It was best when we were all together and he had us laughing, especially when we were sharing the things that he loved. Like Country Music. It was always there. Getting to meet one of his idols George Jones on several occasions and take Aunt Diane to the country music awards was a highlight of his life. He loved Alabama football and because his boys loved Auburn, Iron Bowls were always special days with special traditions. He loved his Faith, it had deep roots from when he was a child but even more in the past few years because he knew it would bring him back to his Diana, his grandson Troy and his brother Bubba. He loved his parents, and he went above and beyond the call of a son to take care of them. He loved his sister, and they were a good team: from comedy and jokes to taking care of business, no matter what age, they played well together. He loved this country, and because of his and his brother's service in the Air Force, He always made sure to honor the military and their veterans every Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. He loved never letting memories die, especially of those who had passed on. He loved Mobile. He traveled all over the world, and to him Mobile is God's Country, and there is no place he would have rather been. He loved Mobile's Mardi Gras and sharing that with his Diana and his children and grandchildren was one of the things he looked forward to each year. Being Grand Marshall from time to time in the parades was an honor to him. He loved the Mobile Mysticks. One of his favorite pictures, is of himself, his Diana and Daniel at a hockey game, but what I think he loved most was watching his son Michael in the rink, officiating on the ice. He also loved being in Daniel's corner watching him wrestle. He loved other Mobile traditions, but I think what he loved most about Mobile is that it is where his family and his 3 rambunctious dogs are. It's where his Diana's memory is the strongest. I know in marriage love grows each and every day. Uncle Bill taught us that love does not stop growing when death does us part. He continued to love her more and more each day, even when she was no longer physically with us.
He talked about his family in a Thanksgiving blog in 2010 and these include the other names by which he is loved, but also how he loved us: Husband, Dad, Grandpaw, Brother, Uncle and Son. He said I am thankful for:
My Family. This is the second Thanksgiving that my Dianna is celebrating at The Lord's table in Heaven. However, I will never stop giving thanks for the years, love, sacrifice, children and grandchildren she gave me. If a flower dropped from the sky every time I think of her each day, I would walk in a beautiful garden for the rest of my life.
My oldest son Michael is too much like me, we are both too much like my dad, and that's scary if you really know us three. Michael and his wife Beth are expecting a new Moody baby in June, which we are truly blessed and so excited about. Notwithstanding, their little 6-year old Grace, is paw-paw's princess.
My youngest son Daniel, his lady Jami, and little almost three year old Danielle don't live as close, but only 80-miles away. They are such a special part of my life too, I just wish I could see them more often. If you are a regular here at my BLOG, you see and read about Danielle and Grace all the time.
I still have my mother and father, which is indeed a blessing at my age. They have been married 57-years, and are the heart and soul of our little family. In fact, we are eating at their house today. My sissy Joan, her husband Art; niece Donna and her husband Chris, their almost three year old son Aidan, all are so important. Not forgetting my uncles, aunts, and other relatives.
Dianna's 10 brothers and sisters, her mother, and all of their families are as just as special to me... they are still my family too, and will always be.
It is just wonderful he left us that record of his thoughts. It is a gift. I want to read a entry to each son on their respective birthdays in years gone by. They are prayers from their dad:
Be Blessed my son.
And from a previous years to Daniel:
He Added: Daniel wrestles on the gulf coast independent scene as "D.J. Pringle", and I have the honor of being in his corner now and then.
We have a lot to learn from his life, by whatever name you call him by: follow your dreams, enjoy the little things and have gratitude for them, love your family, take care of yourself and always as he would say ~ Be Blessed.