Remembering Billy Hare
It’s very early on Sunday morning, April 9th, 2023. I’m in my warm, efficient home on the square of a small town, out of which I get to run a financial planning business. In my business, I’ve had over 150 families that have trusted me for financial or investment advice.
Down the hall sleeps my smart, caring wife and partner in life, Sara. In the room next to her is JJ and Hanner, two of the spunkiest and boldest people I know. And in the room right next to my office, is Billie Ann, our oldest daughter, full of grace and life….but right now snoozin’ big time.
In light of all that, I’m not afraid if it’s all stripped from me. How could I say that? It’s not because those people and my work is not supremely valuable to me….in fact, those things are priceless. But they are not the most valuable thing.
This life and this world are only temporary. These things last only but a moment, like a vapor in the air. But Christ has promised us life much bigger and more full than even the best relationships and work this world has to offer. And I believe Jesus’s promise with all my heart and soul.
Because of all this, I truly do consider myself one of the richest men in the world. And I owe so much of the credit to my dad, William Wakefield Hare.
Most of you never met him, and unfortunately will never get the chance in this life. It was 22 years ago this morning when we received a phone call from the authorities who located a small plane, crashed in the mountains of Dawson County, Georgia. The plane’s passengers were my dad’s friend, Reggie, and my dad. “No survivors” the authorities told my mom over the phone.
April 9th, 2001 marks the most tragic day of my life. But on that beautiful Spring day, as Andrew County farmers sewed millions of corn seeds in their fields, a different seed was planted within me. It took some time to see it grow (what seemed like a REALLY long time). But 22 years later, that seed has produced all of the fruit of the life I mentioned above.
My dad’s life was always marked by loving family. However, he would have described much of his adult experience with disappointment. He experienced the failures of 3 business ventures before I was 12 years old. A grocery store, a pig farm, and a Mexican restaurant. But what was so amazing about my dad is how his challenges sprung him to be the man I knew before he died, the man that left a legacy for me I could never measure fully.
My dad had begun working for New York Life in 1999. I’m not a fan of NY Life and its sales and commission approach to financial advice, but it was his time there that first opened my eyes to the opportunities of helping people make financial decisions. I remember so clearly my dad saying to me, “out of all the work I’ve tried, this work makes me feel the most that I’m helping people.” I never forgot that.
It was his entrepreneurial disappointments that drove him to apply with NY Life. And it was those disappointments that caused him to battle some intense anxiety. But it was also those disappointments that drove him to his knees before his creator and caused him to surrender an old, “me first” way of living, and take on a brand new life in Christ. Thank God for those disappointments. And in the same way Christ suffered to take away the burden of sin from Billy Hare, I feel as if Billy Hare suffered so that I didn’t have to. So I would learn from his painful experiences.
I wish I could write all day about Billy Hare. But today, I would ask you to remember that if you’ve ever read anything helpful or good from my blog, Billy Hare deserves much of that credit. Unfortunately he’s not here to write these articles himself, but he’s still speaking.