S: Dina Freshley Wilson
BC: Dina Freshley Wilson 1964 - 2010
4: Eulogy by Philip Freshley September 25, 2010 I am Phil Freshley, Dina's oldest brother. I have the honor of delivering this remembrance on behalf of myself and our family. Dina was the youngest of four children and the only daughter of Jean and Dwight Freshley. She was Mom and Dad's reward for patience, after raising three rambunctious boys. She was kind, sweet, and happy, and a nice change from us boys. Bruce, Doug, and I all adored her. She was our "little Sis." It is at times like these we come to understand what a privilege it is to have someone special like this in our life. Dina's love for all of us was always unconditional. As she grew up, her dreams took her away from home for school and work. She was confident in her abilities and took every opportunity to widen her horizons and experiences. Her resume' speaks for itself: multiple college degrees, professional success in several venues, and even a turn at NFL cheerleading just for fun. It is fun having a little Sis you can brag on. Dina's life was full and rewarding. As we all grew up and went our own ways, we were together less often, usually just holidays and occasional visits. Regardless of the time absent, we always picked up with Dina where we left off. Her house and heart were open to all of us. We were always greeted with a broad smile and a warm hug, where we shared and laughed and were kids again. These are the treasures we are thankful for; the ones that cannot be replaced. Upon the occasion of Dwight and Jean's 50th Wedding Anniversary, Dina put together a book of lessons learned from their marriage, bound in leather, titled "Have I Told You Lately . . . A Primer for Marriage, Love, and Life," and presented it to the family. The book contained 50 pages of sayings and memories she picked up over the years, and from conversations with Mom, Dad, and the rest of us. Things like: "It is possible to make a piece of cheap meat taste like filet (ask my Mom);" "None of us have it figured out, that's the beauty of it;" "Teasing from your siblings is just their way of showing affection, I promise;" "Soothing words are only a phone call away, but talk fast if it's on Dad's dime!" and "When the whole world seems against you, snuggle up to the one you love." She got it. Nothing was more important to Dina than family, and hers was an extended one. Her love for Tracy, Kate and Allie are reflected in their love and care for her, especially over this last year. There are no words to express our thanks to her loving husband, Tracy, for the total commitment made to Dina's care and well being during this difficult period. No one can fully comprehend the challenges presented by the rare and difficult disease that eventually took her life. We are so proud to have Tracy, Kate and Allie as family.
5: Our family also wishes to acknowledge and thank Dina's friends and co-workers whose constant support and visits were such a blessing to her. The many donations of food, service, and prayer in recent months were of great comfort and support for Dina and the entire family. My sister had many attributes. Many were obvious: she was beautiful, bright, athletic, gentle, etc. The most important thing, though, was her loving character. Shortly before she died, my family and I were visiting her at their home. We knew her future was uncertain. Marilee and I had reservations to fly out and visit our daughter in Oregon the following week, and I discussed with Dina the possibility of canceling those plans until she improved. When we said goodbye that day, she looked deep into my eyes, hugged me harder than usual, and said, "I love you; enjoy your trip. I'll see you." Of course, we never saw her again. In retrospect, there is no doubt in my mind that she knew deep down her time was close at hand. As always, Dina wanted what was best for us, regardless of her needs. That is true character. That is the light that will never burn out for us. That glow will be in every family gathering, and in the quiet times when we are almost alone. We hope all of you will keep Dina in your hearts, for celebrating her life will help us make the best of our lives. That will make Dina the happiest of all. And to Mom and Dad, words from Dina's book: "Sometimes children remind us of ourselves; Sometimes they remind us of each other; And sometimes they remind us of relatives passed on. But always they remind us of love."
7: "There is no friendship, no love, like that of a mother for her child."
9: Daughters are little girls that grow up to be your best friend...
10: Eulogy by Tracy Wilson September 25, 2010 I first met Dina on August 11, 1993 . . . three days after she turned 29 years old. We were taking a final exam at The University of South Carolina for our Master's Degree. Four years later we were married. Since that time, when asked how we met, Dina would relay the story and then add teasingly, "I got the A in class and Tracy got the B." And then I would quip, "That's right, Dina got the A . . . but I GOT THE GIRL!" And since that time, Dina has always been my girl. Dina was an incredibly gifted woman. Dina graduated Cum Laude in her undergraduate and Master's degrees. Dina was only a dissertation away from obtaining her Doctorate Degree. Education was extremely important to Dina, and she inculcated those values to her daughters Kate and Allie. As a result, Dina watched with pride as both her daughters received their college degrees from New York University and The Ohio State University. Dina was a 24 year old woman who had never cheered in elementary school, middle school, high school, or college and yet decided to try out for The Philadelphia Eagles NFL Football Cheerleading Team. She made the team on her first attempt. That was Dina . . . fearless when she set her mind to accomplish a goal. When Dina was 32, the Carolina Panthers contacted Dina and asked her to be a coach on the new inaugural Carolina Topcats Cheerleading Team. So, during the 1996 and 1997 seasons, Dina was on the field with the Panthers for all home games. Unfortunately, I had to sit in the stands alone. However, Dina reminded me that each year the Carolina Topcats Christmas Party was attended by 40 NFL Cheerleaders and coaches, 0 boyfriends, and only 4 husbands, including myself. It was always hard to disagree with Dina's logic. In 1999, at Dina's request, she insisted that I try out for the Revolutionary War epic, The Patriot. Dina stood in line with me for 8 hours, waiting for my audition . . . that was Dina's love. I was chosen as a stuntman and 5 months later, Dina attended the party to celebrate the completion of filming. At the Wrap-Up Party, Dina did not want to be introduced to Mel Gibson because she did not want to come off as a gushing fan. No, Dina was too cool for that. An hour later, Mel approached us and asked me who this beautiful woman was standing with me. When I told Mel, "My wife, Dina," Mel said, "Dina, the dance floor is empty. Would you like to dance?" Dina answered, "You will have to ask Tracy." Mel looked at me and said, "I fought this guy for 5 months; I might as well dance with him too. Come on, guys, let's dance!" A minute after we hit the dance floor, it was packed. Mel danced with us for 45 minutes. That was the magnetism of Dina. Mel could have danced with any woman that night, but it was Dina who was the real star that night.
11: Dina was superb at everything she did, but she truly excelled as a mother. Her love for Kate and Allie was incredible. Dina gave of herself in every way, from the time the girls were 9 years old and saw them almost reach the age of 25. During those formative and crucial 16 years, Dina never wavered on her love for the girls. As a result, she has left an indelible impact on Kate and Allie. Dina will always be Mama D to all of us. Dina was so proud of her family. When you married a Freshley, you married the entire family: cousins, 2nd cousins, and all of the Freshley's all over the country. Dina said to me on numerous occasions, "I have had the honor and blessing of growing up in a a family full of love, music, and history." It was true. I have not witnessed in my life such an extended family so close as the Freshley's. Dina absolutely adored her father, mother, and brothers. I personally could not have made it through Dina's battle without the help, support, and love of Dina's family; especially her mother, Jean, who along side me, helped fight the battle head on; no excuses, dam the torpedoes, and into the fray. We lost the physical battle, but we won the spiritual battle as a result of the tremendous outpouring of love for Dina and, as a testament, all of the letters, flowers, cards, meals, prayers, and the attendance of all of her friends in this sanctuary today. Dina truly touched a lot of lives. Dina was loved very much by a lot of people. Dina also loved her job at SCANA and often worked long hours during her 15 years with the company. Although she was in Human Resources, Dina understood her mission was to support the linemen on the bucket truck during the heavy storms, and not just paper pushing. She developed leadership and training programs that were relevant to the company. Dina was a member of The Women's Leadership Group at SCANA and enjoyed the camaraderie and fellowship that it offered. Dina was very proud of the fact that she came up with the idea of SCANA University. Her brainchild eventually became a reality when SCANA University was established as a corporate research and training facility. Dina is featured on youtube.com, discussing SCANA University and can be viewed today by typing in Dina Wilson on youtube. It is Dina's family's hopes and wishes that SCANA recognizes this incredible contribution by Dina and acknowledge her accomplishments in some form, in association with SCANA University, in her honor and memory. Dina was special in so many ways. Her smile would light up a room. Dina was kind to everyone, regardless of their station in life. Dina was giving, caring, loving, intelligent, well read, well traveled, athletic, funny, sexy, adorable, and cool. As my partner in life, I have lost my best friend. We were so in love, it is hard to describe the depth of our love. Dina and I just worked; we clicked. For 17 years we grew closer everyday. We loved being around each other. It was fun and exciting. Our love truly was one for the ages.
12: When I married Dina, she said these words to me at our wedding reception on July 19, 1997: To Tracy: "Today, I have taken your name as my own. I do this with much love, as we begin together as a family. As I have reflected on the past years, and the amazing turn my life has made, I remember the journey that has been ours. At every stage of our relationship, the Lord has made His presence known. When we had questions, He had answers. The result has been a romance that truly is a fairy tale. Love, Dina." Dina loved the Lord and read many spiritual books, especially this past year. Dina has always been a humble servant of the Lord. When Dina would become afraid towards the end, I would remind Dina that when she reaches Heaven's Gate, she will be welcomed and escorted by an All-Star team consisting of her Grandfather Chester, a Methodist minister, Frieda, her Grandmother, and Uncle Wendell who married us, another Methodist minister, along with countless Freshley's, Reinhart's, and Wilson's that have passed. It always gave her comfort. 31 years ago, as a college senior, I wrote these words: "When one attains the standards God considers Christian, it will then be time to transcend to a higher level of learning and love." Dina obviously attained God's Christian standards. Dina, I am SO PROUD of you. God gave you an "A Plus" in this life and in this world. I'll have to wait a little longer, Baby Love. I guess I'm still getting a "B" in this life. But wait for me, for I will get my girl again. God bless you all.
16: Eulogy by Kate and Allie Wilson September 25, 2010 Thirteen years ago we stood on this stage for the marriage celebration of our father and our new, wonderful mother, Dina. It was up here that Dina, or as we have called her for thirteen years, "Mama D," gave us each a symbol of her eternal love. It was a small cross with a delicate, ornate circle encompassing it; a representation of her unwavering and unconditional love, always encircling us. That day, Dina formally entered our family (as well as her loving family of Freshley's) and forever changed our lives. Dina was a pillar of strength and love for our family. She was an amazing woman. She was brilliant and successful in her career, and beautiful inside and out. She was everything that we hope to become. We are proud to be her daughters. To us, Mama D was more than a mother. She was: Our mentor: Dina spent hours patiently talking to us about college decisions and career advice. She valued her own academic studies and supported us in our own learning and education. Dina helped us gracefully manage the transitions from high school to college to working in the "real world." Our best friend: One of our favorite memories is of the countless "girls' days" we would have. We would get dressed up (Mama D, of course, always effortlessly stylish) and go shopping and lunching. Our routine was to go to Starbucks, and she would get the sweetest drink on the menu, usually a Peppermint Mocha topped with whip cream and chocolate sauce. We would all laugh, every time, when she would then put three or four more packets of Splenda sweetener into it! We'd then spend the rest of our time talking about current boyfriends, college celebratory activities, and latest trends. On such "girls' days," we would often run into Dina's friends or co-workers. They would inquisitively ask about Allie and I (in a Southern accent,) "Oh, Dina, are these your beautiful girls?!" Dina would respond, "Yes, these are my wonderful daughters." We never heard the word "step" come out of her mouth, ever. Then, of course, the friend would confusingly look between the three of us, and try to silently figure out how someone so young and slim as Dina could produce two grown ladies! They'd respond, "Ah, yes, I see the resemblance of y'all! Just as beautiful as your Mama." We would just smile and let them continue to wonder.
17: And, of course, a loving mother: Mama D tirelessly drove up to Ohio with Papa, and came to more cheerleading competitions, band concerts, and cross country meets than some parents living in the same town! During our freshman year of high school, Papa and Mama D came up to Ohio to chaperone our very first Homecoming Dance. Now, most kids would grumble and be embarrassed if their parents attended their first official dance. But Allie and I couldn't be more thrilled. When Papa and Mama D walked through the door, with her long dark hair in curls, amazing dress, radiance, and great dance moves, everyone thought they were the coolest chaperones ever! Mama D represented more to us than all of these aspects combined; she was our angel. Dina gracefully entered our lives so naturally, it always felt that she was meant to be there with us. She always put our needs first, sacrificed so much for our success, and gave everything she had. One of her last concerns was that she wanted to be here for our weddings and be with us when we have children. We know her presence will be there with us on those days, and her love will always be felt as a Mama, mentor, and best friend. And she would have been an amazing Grand-Mama D. The cross that was given to us many years ago was just the beginning of a full lifetime of Dina's gentle guidance and love. Now, she's just doing it from above, as our Angel.
22: Dina Freshley Wilson Lexington, SC Dina Freshley Wilson, 46, beloved wife of Tracy P. Wilson, passed away September 15, 2010 after a courageous battle with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. Born in Athens, GA on August 8, 1964, she was the daughter of Dr. Dwight and Jean Freshley. Dina was a 1982 graduate of Naperville High School (Illinois) and the University of Illinois in 1986. Dina also earned her Master's Degree from the University of South Carolina in 1994, and was working toward her Doctoral Degree at the University of South Carolina. Dina was Director of Employee Development at SCANA. During her fifteen year career at SCANA, Dina initiated numerous leadership and training programs. Dina's proudest accomplishment was her brainchild, which she saw come to fruition: the development of SCANA University, a corporate research and training facility. Dina was a beautiful, loving, giving, wonderful soul who was full of life. Dina's greatest joys were times spent with her family and friends at her home on Lake Murray. Dina was an avid physical fitness expert and enjoyed jogging and weight lifting. Dina was an NFL Cheerleader with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1988 - 1990. Dina is survived by her husband and best friend, Tracy P. Wilson of Lexington, SC; her twin daughters Kathleen and Allison Wilson of New York City, NY; her parents Dr. Dwight and Jean Freshley of Athens, GA; brothers, Philip (Marilee) Freshley of Watkinsville, GA, Bruce (Martha) Freshley of Mt. Pleasant, SC, Doug Freshley of Athens, GA; her parents-in-law Mayor Phyllis (retired) and Donald Pennewitt and Richard H. Wilson, Sr., all of Xenia, OH, along with numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service to celebrate Dina's life will be held Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 2 p.m. at Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, SC. The family will receive friends following the service at the home of Tracy P. Wilson, 437 Greenetree Lane, Lexington, SC. The family wishes to express their thanks to SC Oncology and especially Tammy Gantt for her loving care throughout Dina's illness. Memorial gifts may be made to SC Oncology Association, West Columbia, SC or to the charity of one's choice.