Summary: This is a brief eulogy of a beautiful Cajun gentleman who was 110% for his Lord.
We had many assemblies in the main auditorium of Winter Haven (FL) High School. One stands out above the rest.
That was the day Mr. Henry Fillmore came to our school. Did he bring some powerful speech which moved us all to tears? No! He simply directed our band in several songs.
Our director, Mr. Roy Wood, introduced him and I remember thinking, "He’s a pretty important fellow, swinging the baton and decked out in a big flowery shirt." He must have picked up the shirt in Hawaii.
In studying Henry Fillmore’s life recently from material on the Internet, I learned that he was a legend in American band music. He composed more band music by far than anyone else. The article calls him, "An American musical icon."
I really didn’t know who was present in the assembly that day back in the early 1950’s. Time has a way of enhancing a legend’s image. He was much greater than I first thought.
So it is today in the life of Brother Walter Dufrene. Time will ennoble our memory of him. When all of the stories of him, yet unheard, are told, we will all say, "He’s greater than I first thought."
It is obvious from Hebrews 11 that it is God’s design that the stories of men and women should be told.
Hebrews 11:32 states, "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to TELL of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and of Samuel, and of the prophets."
The entire 11th chapter of Hebrews is a "telling" of the heroes of faith.
Families, when you gather for your reunion, tell the children about their grandparents and other family members who made a good mark in life. That’s God’s order.
I personally feel very honored to tell you this morning about this great man of faith, Brother Walter Dufrene.
They say that he was a builder. But the greatest building he ever built was "the stately mansion of his soul," as mentioned by the Southern poet, Sidney Lanier. Brother Walter’s all-consuming passion in life was Jesus Christ.
When sickness came with a suddenness on July 19, 2002, he did not have to hurry to find the Savior. No quick phone calls to locate a preacher. He had spent his life in service to Jesus Christ in His church and his experience is up to date. No panic. No fear.
One thing unique about Brother Walter. He took life’s most difficult punches and never got bitter. That’s why his life is similiar to the crowd in Hebrews 11.
They triumphed in the face of extreme adversity and so did he. What a champion!
On my last visit to his home before his hospitalization, I asked him about his life and what he wanted to say to others.
He said, "Tell them that I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith."
He further said, "Remind them that there is no profit to gain the whole world and lose one’s soul."
This church will never forget Brother Walter and the little crowd that gathered a few blocks away and worshipped under the tent. This beautiful building that we are in today is a part of the vision which that group had for a strong Pentecostal church in Des Allemands.
To his Pearl of Great Price (wife, Pearl Dufrene) and the others of his family, you can be comforted that you have done what you could for him.
To Christine Meyer and the Cherrys who go each Wednesday night to the homebound, thanks for your ministry to the Dufrenes.
We’ll all write our own story. Live it so that it can be told with joy to your descendants.
Charles G. Clary
Des Allemands, LA