Dr. Leonard M. Fuson was born in Dalhart, Texas on November 17th, 1929 to Lloyd and Frances Fuson. June 15th, 1951, he married an "Abernathy girl," as the newspaper headline read. What the newspaper couldn't have told you is that they would share over 70 years together in what can only be described as a love for the ages.
In the early hours of Monday, October 11, he left this world and its inhabitants better than he found them. In the final act of his lifelong endeavor to stay out of everyone's hair and never cause anyone any trouble, he passed peacefully in his sleep with family at his side, but not before sticking around to properly enjoy his alma mater's historic victory over Alabama.
Even unconscious, when we told him Texas A&M won, his ear-to-ear grin was unmistakable. To the players: thank you for giving your biggest (and possibly oldest) fan a proper send-off and a beautiful moment of unbridled joy. You gave us a memory we'll treasure as long as we live. Gig 'em, Aggies.
A singularly devout man, it was clear that he took the gospel to heart in all things. As he moved through life with arms outstretched, extending love and compassion to neighbors and animals alike, it's little wonder that so many simply know him as "Doc." From the first Wednesday after moving to Waldron, he attended the Waldron Church of Christ, and he must have made the same impression on them that he made on his wife when they met for the first time at a church in Lubbock ten years prior.
That very evening, Brother Parsley said, "Would the man in the back with that beautiful tenor voice come up and lead the singing?" From that moment, he was as the heart and soul (and voice) of the congregation, going on to lead songs of worship, give sermons, and teach Bible study classes. He would also go on to preach at the Church of Christ in Nola for well over 20 years.
He was a great many things to countless people: preacher, USAF Staff Sergeant, veterinarian, role model and pillar of the community. He was a beloved husband, brother and patriarch of a sprawling family tree, but if you ask anyone fortunate enough to know him, Doc Fuson was family.
More than that, he was the best family anyone could ask for. He was unfailingly kind, patient and forgiving. No matter how you might think you would disappoint him, his love and faith in you were boundless and unconditional in ways that anyone would count themselves lucky to experience in their lifetime.
Remembering how the world seemed to stop on Monday for so many as they learned of Doc's passing, a particular Bible verse is called to mind. It is often noted for its brevity, but for me, it is also one of the most profound. Jesus had gone to Bethany to raise Lazarus, and upon seeing his sisters and the people of Bethany weep with grief, though He knew that He would raise Lazarus, "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). For nothing more and nothing less than their plain, simple, human grief. Monday morning, as our world stood still, Jesus wept.
Doc is survived by one of his six siblings, Sandra Delano of Dalhart, Texas. He is survived by his children, Debra, Tonya and Terry, whose immeasurable love and grief are testaments to the incomparable character of their father. He is survived by too many adoring grandkids and great-grandkids to count, who know they had the best papa.
He is survived by Chris Fuson, Abernathy girl. The foundation he leaned on. His woman, his woman, his wife. That's a Marty Robbins song, for anyone who's not yet old enough to retire. Doc often sang it to her while washing the morning's dishes, as he said it always made him think of her. Most would consider it a country song, but he'd have called it "popular music." If you haven't heard it, you should, if only so you know what a real love song sounds like. And if you listen hard enough, you can hear his gentle soul, his love for an Abernathy girl, and the sound a heart makes when it cracks.
Humble to a fault, Doc was always insistent about never inconveniencing anyone over a trifling matter like a broken leg, and downright incorrigible about keeping it that way. Per his wishes, there will be no public memorial service. In fact, we're quite certain he would object to such an elaborate obituary. It's a mercy that Doc isn't here to see it, or he might have died of embarrassment.
Fortunately, he failed to prohibit such a thing when making his wishes known, so we're taking the opportunity to see if we can disappoint him again, for old times' sake. Sorry, Doc. You'll just have to forgive us this one last time. We promise.
Much to his dismay, the family will have a humble, private gathering to celebrate their love for a humble man, and for a life well lived (we won't tell him if you don't). His ashes will be kept until they may be rejoined with his wife, that they may be interred together at the Fort Smith National Cemetery after many more years of love and laughter.
If you're of a mind to join us in our last little rebellion in honoring him, rather than flowers, the family asks that you consider making a donation in his name to the Waldron Boys & Girls club or the Waldron Police Department's "Shop with a Cop - City of Waldron" fund, which provides gifts for local children in need during the holiday season.