What a difference 50 years of goodness makes...


Over the last 50 years many lives and situations have been blessed because of the lives of Joe & Isabel Free. They will tell you it is the Lord that has blessed them, and that is true. However, they have lived their lives for others and that results in great blessings because they are doing His work. How appropriate that on this 50th anniversary they find themselves on the other side of the world and equator in South Africa on their 3rd mission.

Help us show them how much of a difference the Lord has helped them make in so many lives. Please click on "add new comment" once or twice or as many times as you want to record memories of a difference you are aware of. (if you don't see "add new comment" please choose "register")

We also need your help to spread the news far and wide so that on the 9th of September it will take all day for them to try to read the impact they have had.

Come back often and read of what others have shared, it might prompt some more memories to share.

Please include who you are and how you came to know them as you share your memories.


ps-Some have asked if they could give something. It is not necessary, but if you feel that you would like to give a gift, beyond your memories, we have set up a fund where you can donate. This fund will be used by Joe & Isabel to "make a difference" in the lives of some wonderful friends in South Africa. Just click on the "donate" button to the right.

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Happy Anniversary!

Dear Brother and Sister Free,

What a blessing your influence has been in my life! One incident I clearly remember is when you were so good to bring boxes of Utah fruit to Mesa. It was our first "canning session" with the Frees! I had recently sunburned my ankles during a float trip on the Salt River and could barely stand, yet we bottled peaches, apples, and pears! I so enjoyed that time together as we laughed and worked and visited the time away! You have a special gift of warmth and kindness that instantly wraps itself around anyone in your presence. As a young homemaker attempting that slippery process of bottling peaches, tending to a young baby, and crawling around to avoid the pain of tender ankles, your cheerful and constant help that weekend was so appreciated. And each time we opened a bottle, those memories of kindness and laughter were revisited again and again. I have done a lot of bottling since, but never without remembering how you took time out of your busy schedules to help and serve our young families. Thank you for making us feel like family, too! There has never been a time spent in your presence that I didn't feel a greater desire to be better-to be more like you!

Jennifer Crites

My dear Joe and Isabel,

First of all I want to congratulate you on this marvelous achievement, 50 years of marriage and you are both just as beautiful as the day you got married.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to be related to you and to have you for my cherished friends and family, (I still consider you to be family.) Some of my fondest memories in my life are of the Sunday nights at your house just talking and enjoying each other and the children all playing together. You have been great spiritual leaders and mentors to me. Your service on your missions has made me want to have the same experience, now that I am married to a darling man who loves to serve the LORD.
I remember our times in Panaca in the camper watching the kids play in the dirt. Aren't we glad we went so we could have these fond memories. The most wonderful visit that Isabel and I had was the first time she visited me in my new house. We had such a nice visit but when she left she said that she could feel the sweetest spirit of the Lord there. What a wonderful compliment it was to me.

I'm grateful for my association with you, because of you I am a better person. My life is very different now. I retired from the choir on Aug. 7th which was a huge change but got married March 5th and now reside a lot of the time in Carson City Nevada. I plan to keep my house and my business running, hopefully it will work. My mom misses me and I miss all of them terribly so just now I am wrestling with those torn emotions. That's a short update on me. Amy is pregnant again with a girl this time, we are all so happy. Mandy will have another baby in March, don't know what it is yet. That will be my 19th grandchild, imagine that!

I will close with my testimony of the Savior and His Gospel, it is that He lives and He gave us the Gospel to help us get through this life. Just recently I had a witness of the Spirit that He bought me with His blood and His love for me and all of His children, and since He has bought us I must do all I can to live His Gospel and to be a missionary where ever I can. I love Him and His Gospel and His Prophet Pres. Hinckley, and the Scriptures, and I love you Joe and Isabel, thank you for being part of my life, you are never forgotten.

Love, Jan Free Gardner

Hi Isabel and Joe,

Congratulations on your 50th. You two have been and are an example to us. We are having a hard time keeping up with you. We just returned home from our 2nd mission in the Canada Toronto East Mission. Beautiful country and special people !!!. Time is going by too fast. We have come to the conclusion that when you retire, someone shortens the days by about eight hours.

We treasure our past acquaintance with you. I remember the hiring interview with you when we were considering joining BYU. You impressed us with your desire to make sure anyone joining the Mechanical Engineering Department at BYU needed to be committed to giving 100%. It helped us realize how special BYU and the Mechanical Engineering Department was. Coming to BYU was the best decision we could have made. Also working with you was special. I could always feel your special spirit and inspired leadership. You will never know how much you helped us become better people. As I watched you work with the students, faculty and staff, I realized how blessed and fortunate we were to be a part of that great work, and how much you blessed our lives.

As you celebrate this special time of your lives, please know that you have impressed and inspired many of your friends to become better people. We count ourselves blessed to have been able to rub shoulders with you. Congratulations -Hope to see you soon.

With special affection,
Don and Joan Wallace

Greetings Elder & Sister Free

We are so happy for you! Congratulations on your 50th. We so wish we could be there to celebrate with you. We miss our association with you and all the wonderful friends we made in South Africa. You are very special people and were a inspiration to us while we worked with you. Who knows? We may see you again before you come home. You never know what the Lord has in store. Have a wonderful day and know that we are thinking about you.
Love, Elder & Sister Williams

Happy 50th!

Wow! Fifty years! (I just hit that myself on the 4th. I was five days old when you married.) I have been so blessed by having you in my life. Being our home teacher was a blessing in my time of need. Your love, concern, and prayers helped me so much. To know I could ask for help at any time helped me through a very difficult time. Your reaching out to help was truly a blessing. You were put here for my needs and were an answer to prayers that had yet to be asked. The Lord is truly watching over us. How wonderful to know that I could call and ask for help at any time, for blessings or comfort. You have truly been an inspiration to us and gave Max confidence in his power of the priesthood. Max and I went to Caddy Creek the other day. We are anxious for you to be able to go and see it with us. It was beautiful and green with the stream running again. We are so pleased that all is well. Happy 50th!

So many good memories . . . from Terrilynne

50 Years of Making a Difference
From Terrilynne Rowley Maxfield

I have had so many good memories flood through my head since I heard about your 50th wedding anniversary. The older I get the more I realize what a wonderful happy childhood I enjoyed and you were such a huge part of that time in my life. I loved being at your house and always felt loved and comfortable there. Curt and I now have BYU football season tickets, but I can’t go to game without looking across the stadium and remembering sitting in the faculty or student section eating popcorn and apples because of your tickets. It was a blast. I thought it was so cool to visit your office on campus. My love for BYU started at your house and office. When I was at your home, I was always impressed with what Marilee knew how to do. She was a much better cook than me. I remember making all those cinnamon rolls for Jean’s wedding. I hadn’t made cinnamon rolls that much but the confidence you showed me made me believe I could. I helped Marilee and the night of the reception I was so proud of those cinnamon rolls. I love to make cinnamon rolls to this day. The first time I ever saw a microwave was at your home. We were all so impressed with how it warmed up bread like it was fresh from the oven. I loved the activity and all the siblings at your house. Being the youngest and having quite a space between Chris and I made your house feel so full and fun. I always wished I had brothers and sisters close to my age like at your house. When my children came along and some were very close, I took great comfort in the memories I had of your house with all the children close together. I knew it was hard when they were young but when they got older it would be great like your family. Now with three getting married within 5 months, I’ll have rooms full of grandkids all the same age like you have. Your unconditional and never ending love have made it easy for me to understand the unconditional love of my Savior. Even when it has been years between seeing you, it has felt as if no time has passed at all when you put your arms around me.
Happy Anniversary!

What a difference!

It does not take long for me to see what a difference you two have made in my life. Without Marilee in my life who knows who I would have become. I see your influences in her and in my life every day: scripture reading, family prayer.

I see the differences in my children from your influence: a particular talk deeply affected a son, wanting to carve wood, etc. I see Dad's height in Ryan and Chad.

I loved visiting Nauvoo and seeing real Church history sites where relatives have been and history took place. It is much more real to me now when learning about Church history.

I like using phrases like, “Let the other man do his job” that I learned being around you.

So, Happy Anniversary! Thanks for everything.


Views and Observations

Here we are at the 50th wedding anniversary date for my "big brother" and his wonderful bride. Some of you may not know that when Joe and Isabel were married, it was a double wedding with Isabel's sister, Leola, and her groom, Terry. The wedding reception was in the back yard at the Worthen home. I was fortunate and honored to be my brother's best man. That has turned out to be prophetic - only in reverse. Because my dad had passed away when I was about 6yrs old, Joe became more important in my life than an older brother might normally have been. I remember going to watch him play basketball and after one particularly heated game, he wound up getting into a fight with an opposing player because in the course of the game he called someone a "cotton picker". It happened to be a black man.
I remember going frog hunting out at Twin Lakes, and bow hunting with arrows and bows that were hand made. I remember going to BYU and touring through the engineering department. His dorm was an old Army quanset hut. One of his fellow students was Arapata Fonga. I was so impressed that he knew someone from the inconceivable distant island of New Zealand.
I was especially glad he was marrying Isabel. About that time in my life some particular "creatures", called girls, came into my awareness and focus. And this Isabel girl was so beautiful and gorgeous I could hardly believe it. And my brother was going to marry her. I remember going to Las Vegas High School basketball games and at half time there she was, performing with the Rhythymettes. I had never seen anything like that in my life and she was one of them.
Through my high school, college, and mission years the two of them were alway a great example. When I wanted to impress a date I would take them over to the home of Joe and Isabel. They were an example of what I wanted for my life.
And not much has changed.
From that 50 years ago beginning where I was the best man at their wedding, the roles immediately changed. He has been my "best man" as a role model, friend, confidant, supporter, motivator, and I still get to call him my brother.
He and Isabel has provided a great goal to see and watch as people endeavoring to live the gospel. They have been an anchor, rudder, cheerleaders, patient in their observations when foolishness ruled the day. They have been forgiving and accepting.
When I tell others about them my favorite description is that they have lived without the limiting character flaws of vanity and guile.
Happy 50th Anniversary Joe and Isabel. I am so honored to be your brother.
Love, Duane.

The memories

Wow, 50 years!

I still remember going to Grandma and Grandpa worthens 50 year anniversary in Vegas, not too many years ago.

I also remember buying my first bike, with a loan from Mom. It was a Huffy from Grand Central when it was over where CompUSA is kitty corner from the mall. I seem to remember it being $72 maybe $27 in any case mom wrote it down and let me work it off. $1 here $2 there for chores and what not.

I got it worked down to about $15 or so, and she wrote off the rest, telling me she was proud of me. I am not sure if I ever said thanks.

Thanks mom.

I remember a Sunday afternoon walk with Dad when we lived in Idaho. Just the 2 of us walking through the big fields behind the house just talking and exploring. When you are number 6 of 8 time alone with dad is pretty precious.

Anyway it was fall, and we came across an irrigation canal that had its source of water turned off. Most of the water had dried up, but there was still a fairly large puddle underneath a bridge. As we climbed down the bank to look in the water dad spotted a small trout caught in the shrinking puddle. A few more days, maybe a week and it would be out of water.

So we did the natural thing. Dad carved a 2-pronged spear out of a branch and showed me how to make barbs, and we speared it. We proudly walked home with the fish dangling off the end of the stick, true men who could survive anywhere with nuthin but a pocketknife. (not sure what dad was thinking, but those were my thoughts)

As we walked in the house and showed mom she said "Do you two realize its Sunday?" I had never read the "Thou shalt not spear doomed fish on Sunday" commandment but I remember dad honestly wincing. I think it was more for forgetting that it was Sunday than it was for spearfishing. Anyway, I never did tell dad how cool that was for me.

Thanks dad.

I remember again in Idaho going through some rough times. I missed my friends, and was kind of a pill, feeling that it was me against the world. Anyone have a 7 year old boy that has those days? Anyway, I remember at that time mom and dad taking me on a date with them to see "The Great American Cowboy" at the theater and eat dinner.

I remember feeling grumpy to start but by the end thinking it was the funnest day ever, and wishing the movie would keep going. I am pretty sure I never said thanks.

Thanks mom and dad.

I now have kids of my own (a 7 year old boy even!) and find myself on the other end of the questions and tantrums. And each time, I remember some time or experience similar from my youth, that mom or dad taught me, and use those to answer and teach my kids. What would I do without those experiences to fall back on? Definately not as good as mom and dad did.

Thanks again mom and dad

Your efforts to teach and guide us when we were young were like throwing pebbles in the pond and the ripples continue to spread out affecting generations. And the amazing thing is that it has accelerated! The learning curve post marriage has been steeper still!

Just reading the wonderful comments on this board about the influence you have had in so many peoples lives has made me want to be a better person. Talk about a difference..

Love you both,

the non sqaush throwing non pyro son

(Where do I find my little cup of mints and BYU sparkling soda?)

From Erika

happy 50th anniversery!!! thank you for being my loveing grandparents i can`t wait to see you again!