Freda Ayscue’s many friends across our region are deeply saddened and in a state of shock this week after learning of her unexpected death on Aug. 2.
Just days before she died some of us had talked with her several times about our upcoming ESP board meeting. As always, she was enthusiastic and upbeat about everything we discussed.
She was the dear friend we could all go to for her expertise in planning successful animal-related projects.
Cleveland became the much-loved home of Freda and her husband, John, when they moved here many years ago to open an automotive repair business on Keith Street across from Taylor Animal Hospital. Express Lane quickly became a successful operation and Freda, despite her heavy work schedule, also volunteered with United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society and other organizations where was she was recognized as a prized member who would go above and beyond to help our community in any possible way.
Many pet adoptions and fundraisers were held in the big lot surrounding Express Lane. For years Freda and John had been active in Weimaraner rescue. Their own two big, beautiful Weimaraners often accompanied them to work and greeted customers.
John also put up a huge bulletin board where I could post shelter “Pet of the Week” photos on a weekly basis for customers to view in their busy shop.
I will also always remember the pleasant afternoon I spent with Freda and their dogs years ago when I was interviewing her for a newspaper story to be accompanied with photos. We sat on a porch swing overlooking a beautiful Cleveland country scene as we talked, laughed and petted the dogs.
Many may recall a number of years ago, when Freda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She successfully recovered in short order and became a spokesperson for educating women about staying healthy via medical checkups. She was always an active participant in the annual “Relay for Life.”
Some years ago a new family member came into the Ayscue home when a little stray puppy showed up at their doorstep. Of course, Freda and John kept her and she lived a happy, long life for 16 years before passing away just a few months ago.
Freda had enjoyed bringing her to ESP board meetings.
John passed away some years ago, but despite her grief Freda continued her whole-hearted support of people and pets in our community.
She will forever be remembered for her courage, her caring nature and her willingness to help anybody anywhere, two-legged or four-legged. She was truly a role model for all of us. Words cannot express how much she will be missed.
Paws up this week to: Allen Mincey, John and Jennifer Johnson, Carol Thompson, Chris Crady, Emily Raper, Phyliss and Cecil Gwennap and all who adopted a rescued pet with the assurance of providing a long, wonderful life in a forever home.
Call me with your pet and wildlife tales, 423-728-5414 or write to P.O. Box 5864, Cleveland, TN 37320, and have a tail-waggin’, purrin’ day today!