The Lincoln Highway
National Museum & Archives
102 Old Lincoln Way West
Galion, Ohio 44833

(419) 462-2212 Voice
(419) 462-2214 Fax
(419) 566-0790 Cell

Number 017
Always Remember...Follow the Star
April 24, 2003

Dear Friends,

We're almost home now,
so hang in there.

I stopped by to visit with Fred many times
after that first encounter.

In its day,
the house was quite the show place,
and center of activity,
but was now showing signs of neglect and decay.

We always met in the kitchen,
he did not permit travel into other parts of the house.

The kitchen was small,
10x8 and sparely furnished.

There was an old gas stove for cooking,
a built in refrigerator from the 40's,
an old style sink with drain board,
a small canning table in the center of the room,
two wooden chairs with foam pads tied together with rope,
and a small wood burning stove.

Always we would sit at the table and talk.

Turns out,
he went to the US Naval Academy from 1917-1922,
and traveled all over the world,
living in both China and Haiti
for extended periods of time.

At 86 his eyes were getting bad,
so on many occasions I would read to him one
of his many writings...

He seemed to be writing constantly,
on just about anything.

On occasion,
his wife, Marie would stop by...
she lived next door.

It seemed as though thing were not good between them.

I did not pry.

One day I volunteered to transcribe
one of his writings to computer.

He was thrilled!!

Several days later,
I returned to read the completed work.

All excited,
he began to speak of cataloging his books and writings
into a library for those so inclined.

Then one day while reading the local paper,
I noticed he petitioned the Probate Court
for appointment of a Guardian.

Soon there after he took ill and moved out of the house.

Almost two years pass,
it's now 1989 and one day I feel nudged to
"Go see Fred Biehl."

I remembered the guardianship proceedings,
and called his attorney.

He'd been in the hospital for some time,
and was resting comfortably in a private home,
but was now blind in both eyes.
I called and made an appointment.

It was good to see him again.

One day to my surprise,
Marie showed up and we had a chance to speak for the first time.

It was very fruitful and when she left,
I said, "If there is anything I can ever do...let me know."

It's now several days before Christmas 1989,
and Santa...that's me,
was out on his appointed rounds delivering coca mats.

I stopped by to see Marie
and was startled by her presence
on the back stoop of 448.

They always referred to the houses as 448 and 452.

She invited me in,
and the rest is pretty much history.

It was the beginning of a wonderful 13 year relationship,
which lasted until her death this last year at the age of 99.

We began to work together cleaning and sorting
material in both 448 and 452.

You couldn't believe it.

There was stuff every where...

One day I came across an onion skin copy of a Discourse titled:
"Follow the Star"
written by Frederick Harmad, aka Fred Biehl
while in China back in the late 20's.

I felt if of such significance,
I immediately began to copy it into the computer.

I remember reading it to Fred,
and he was pleased I'd taken the initiative.

He paused for a moment and said,
"Perhaps it is time to pass the torch
and give you all my books and papers."

The attorney was brought in,
papers were signed and box after box of material
was carted away.

Thus began the long and difficult process of sorting it out.

I was amazed at the volume and scope of the material.

You name it he had it...and in spades.

Soon there after he had a stroke,
his motor skills were fine, but he lost his ability to speak
When he did try it would come out in gibberish.

He could listen and understand as always,
so we began to asking yes or no questions
and waited for a nod or squeeze of the hand for acknowledgment.
He seemed frustrated, there was so much yet to do.

I told him not to worry,
if he wanted to go,
I would "Endeavor to Persevere"
and continue with
"The Great Work"
as he called it.

Not long after that he passed away,
three days before his 91st birthday.

Marie called to give me the news..

His daughter asked if I would speak at the funeral.

Of course, but what to say...

I thought back to the time when Marie and I first met,
she showed me the eulogy Fred had read at his mothers funeral.

Wouldn't it be cool to read his own words??

I looked high and low,
but it was not to be found,

OK, so now on to plan "B"

Not long before his passing,
Fred came to me in a dream and said,
"Always remember...Follow the Star".

It was perfect.

I stayed up half the night and prepared
copies for all those in attendance.

At the funeral,
I read the forward and was surprised
at how similar it was to my own experiences.

We laid him to rest later that day....

This is his obit from the Shipmate.

Warmest Regards,


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