A friend, a father and an educationist, three words that aptly defined Aubrey Fredie Wabwire. On the Friday morning of April 14th, at 10:29am, he breathed his last. He was professor in the Mathematics department at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, Tennessee, in United States.
In February last year, Wabwire broke the news to his son, Patrick Allan Wabwire Junior that he was sick and suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Whereas he received medical care and treatment, he expressed his fear that there was no cure.
ALS is defined as a progressive degeneration of the motor neurons of the central nervous system, leading to wasting of the muscles and paralysis. “As the disease progressed, dad told me that he could not feel one of his thumbs then as it spread, he told me he could not feel the rest of his fingers and then the hands and fingers. It was progressive,” Wabwire Jr. explains.
As Allan shares various communications with his fallen father, the pain in learning that he could no longer type out owing to ALS, was overbearing. When the news of his passing was broken to him by a family friend that was by his side in hospital, he was broken.
He decided to take some time off. His birthday was a couple of days away and he could not deal with the pain of imagining that his father, his father and confidant could possibly be buried on his birthday was altogether unconceivable.
Wabwire Jr. made up his mind to deactivate his Facebook account so that he did not have to deal with people sending him congratulatory messages during the time when he was grieving the passing of his father.
He recounts moments with his father as a man he called friend, a person who nurtured him and with whom he shared inner thoughts and celebrated life’s moments- big and small, like the time when Jr. became a father too.
“He was a super father and I always told him he was the best father in the world. We didn’t grow up with our mother so you can imagine what it means for him raising us as a single father,” Wabwire Jr., a software developer, narrates.
Wabwire has a sister, Lorna Patience Nekesa but lost his brother, Andrew Sabbiti Wabwire and their mother, Winfred Wabwire. In a Facebook post, Nekesa writes, “Praise God Dr. Rev Goodman, I write this with the heaviest heart. My dad was diagnosed with ALS last year, he has been on treatment and managing it the best way he can. We have been praying for him.
His condition has so far worsened, he is in ICU now. Our family has to make a big medical decision, but we're not ready. We believe God still has a plan for him. Please pray for him as we believe and wait upon the almighty Father for a miracle. God bless you.”
Fredie Wabwire moved to USA in 2003, and there, he entered into another committed relationship and started another family thereon. Three children were part of the fruits from the new family.
Before and while in the US, he continued teaching mathematics as his strongest core and then computer studies. His career as an education was an illustrious one.
Many times, Jr. would be stopped by people who his father taught here and in Kenya, asking him what his father was up to.
“Some of my teachers were taught by my father. At home, he shared a lot about photography as something he truly enjoyed. He would give me tips. In his young years, he played the guitar but not as we grew up. He had a collection of music of different musicians, some of whom we wouldn’t have known if it were not for him. He also enjoyed watching movies,” Allan recalls.
He bought a camera for his son to encourage him. At home, he was a father, one who taught his children good principles. Owing to his career, Fredie Wabwire moved from his family in Busia, to Kaliro and finally in Kampala.
But it was in Kaliro that Jr. recalls being raised. This was because his father spent a couple of years tutoring at Kaliro National Teachers College. He also taught at Kampala International University among other institutions.
He moved to USA in 2004, to take up a job as a mathematics teacher at Southwest Tennessee Community College. Over the years Fredie was also involved with Shelby and Fayetteville County Schools. By press time, burial arrangements were still underway, pending the return of his body from USA.