A Love Affair That Lasted Almost 65 Years
7/17/2014 by BY MIMI BROWN
This is a love story. A story of a man who is an inventor, business owner, father, grandfather, and a man who was deeply in love with his wife for almost 65 years.
Frank and Pat DeVillier both attended Teague High School where Pat graduated in 1948. ?She lived down the road from me but the dirt road would get muddy and big trucks would leave ruts in the road too big for me to cross on my motorcycle. The train tracks also ran the distance to her house so I devised a way to adapt my motorcycle to run on the railroad track. I sure had to know when the trains were going to run and pay attention so a stray one didn?t get me,? said Mr. DeVillier. ?I had to get to see her somehow.?
Robert Frank DeVillier and Patsy Ann Freeman were married in 1950 when the Church of Christ was on 6th and Cedar. ?Pat was Baptist and my family attended the Church of Christ. I had to do a little converting to get her to be married in my church,? he said laughing. Their first two years were blissful and then the United States sent troops into Korea and Uncle Sam came to their door. Frank was inducted into the United States Army in 1952 and he had to leave Pat. He first went to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and then to Germany. His job was in Artillery and operating and maintaining the 280 mm Atomic Cannon. ?They trained me on every inch of that thing,? said DeVillier. The gun took bullets that were four feet high and when shot, made a big mushroom cloud.
He was honorably discharged from the military in 1954 and went home to Pat.
The couple had two children: Cindy and Randy, who were the light of their lives.
They lived in Houston where she worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and Frank worked for Anco Insulators-Basic Industries. With kids to raise and lots of friends Frank and Pat had fun with kids activities and neighborhood get togethers.
Frank worked insulating pipelines in the plant, out of Local 22 Union, where he has now received his 60-year pin. ?I worked with asbestos nearly all the time when I was insulating pipes,? said Frank. ?I?m just fine......no problems.?
He said, ?When insulating a pipe, it must be wrapped in the insulation material, then a metal sleeve is put over the insulation and a metal band is then put around the pipe to hold everything together.? Frank retired as Superintendent of the company in 1982.
It was the little metal bands that interested Frank. His entire life he adapted things and invented things to make them work better or more the way he wanted them to work, and he is really good at it. Whether it was metal work or woodwork he is a master. ?You see, in the field, where every pipe that comes out of the ground must be insulated, the men have to take the time to cut and apply the clip on every metal band they use. I just thought if the bands were cut into the sizes before they went into the field, it would be so much easier. In his shop at their home in Houston, Frank invented, built from scratch, and patented two machines that would do, not only the cutting, but also put the clip on. He started making bands and selling them to the big companies. The business took off and they ran out of room. They own family land in the Simsboro area and decided to come back home and build a place to live and make their bands. He named the company ?Clip-A-Band.?
With Pat by his side stacking and boxing the bands they opened their company in their new facility. They worked making bands for 32 years, stopping in 2008. ?Pat was the best worker I ever had,? said Frank.
Robert Frank DeVillier was born in Teague, in the hospital that used to be on 4th Avenue, to Bill and Anna Rose DeVillier. Frank and Pat?s children are Cindy DeVillier Bolen and husband Tim of Cypress and Randy and wife Eleanor of Simsboro. Cindy has two sons, Robbie Whorton, Ryan Whorton and wife Laura of Cypress. Randy has three sons: Evan DeVillier and wife Crystal of Streetman, Ethan DeVillier and wife Ashley of Fairfield, and Emory DeVillier and wife Melissa of Huntsville, and seven great grandchildren.
Frank and Pat lived their lives with love for their family and each other. They lived their Christian life and were good friends to all who know them. Frank lost Pat on April 25, 2014 and misses her terribly. He knows how fortunate they were to have so many wonderful years together and always smiles when he speaks of her. Frank said, ?I tell her picture good night and good morning everyday and that I still love her.?