William “Billy” Peterson; I was honored to be his Dad

Billy Peterson                                      a genuine Good samaritan

Posted by Larry Peterson July 11, 2022

William “Billy” Peterson

December 12, 1971~July 06, 2022

This is about a guy who lived in Pinellas Park whose name was William “Billy” Peterson. Billy was a man filled with great empathy, intuition, faith, and love for family, friends, and humanity. He was a father figure to his fatherless niece and was like a son to a 90-year-old neighbor who lived alone and had no one. Her name was Mae and Billy looked after her virtually every day for almost five years until her passing. He took her for her doctor visits, cooked her dinner, did her food shopping, and ensured she had her meds. Ironically, Mae constantly complained, and Billy would laugh it off.

Throughout his life, Billy saved many, including strangers, loved ones, and anyone who crossed his path and was in need. Most of the time, the saving was accomplished by giving a helping hand and extending friendship. Powerful tools they were.

The morning of the last day of his life, Billy helped a young girl at a local convenient store. At about 11 a.m., he pulled in to grab a coffee. He noticed this girl sitting on the ground with her back against the brick wall. She was eating a sandwich. A man nearby kept talking to her, and she seemed to be shaking her head. Billy’s instincts erupted. He knew this was not right. The man walked into the store, and Billy stepped from his car and asked her, “Are you all right?” Tears dripped from her eyes, and she answered, “No, I’m not.” Billy said to her, “The passenger door to my car is unlocked. If you are not safe and want to leave, get in the car, and I will take you wherever you need to go.” She did, and Billy took her home to her house in Seminole. Her mom and sister came running out crying and yelling. They had not heard from her in two days and were frantic. The girl, 16 years old, had gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd. They took her phone, and she had become their prisoner. She did not even know it. She may never have been seen again if it was not for Billy

Billy was born in New York City on December 12, 1971, He was my son, and he died suddenly on July 6, 2022. He was 50 years old.

Billy passed from severe Chronic Cardiovascular Disease. A diabetic and lupus patient, doctors, never picked up on it. Go figure. The fact is that does not matter anymore.

Billy graduated from Gibbs High School in 1990.That year he was voted onto the Pinellas County All-Conference Baseball team as the third baseman. He also played college ball at Seminole Community up in Sanford. He became a security installation technician, but his career was cut short by a job accident.

 Billy was the son of Larry Peterson of Pinellas Park and had a brother, Larry Jr., and a sister, Mary. He was pre-deceased by his mom, Loretta, and a baby sister, Theresa. He had three nephews, three nieces and 23 cousins. His passing has left a gaping hole in many hearts.

One final thought about Billy Peterson: This past Sunday July 10, the Gospel reading was from St. Luke, and it was about the Good Samaritan. The question we are all asked is, “who is our neighbor?” Well, for Billy Peterson, everyone was his neighbor. If you needed help and he was there he would help. It did not matter who or where. Billy Peterson was truly a GOOD SAMARITAN.

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Francis Delalieu; A Good Samaritan–He saved a future Servant of God and her family from death and then he seemingly vanished.

The Good Samaritan en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

 

One of the most famous Gospel readings is from Luke, Ch 10: 29-37; we all know it as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. When Jesus is asked which of the three was a neighbor to the robber’s victim, Jesus said, “The one who treated him with mercy. Go and do likewise.”  What follows is about someone who may be one of the greatest of  Good Samaritans of all time, a man we know almost nothing about.

 

Servant of God and Stigmatist; Anna Louise Lateau, passed away at the age of thirty-three. What is extremely interesting is the fact that Anna Louise would never have lived into her fourth month of life if it wasn’t for a stranger whose name was Francis Delalieu.

 

The Lateau family was literally near death. The father, Gregory,  had died from smallpox just three months after Louise had been born. Adele, with three little children, was still bedridden after having a very rough time giving birth to Louise. Louise, still an infant, had also contracted smallpox. The oldest child, Rosina, was trying to be the in-house caregiver which included taking care of two-year-old Adelina.

 

The local doctor, overwhelmed with this smallpox epidemic, had stopped by about a week after Gregory’s death to check on the family. He did his best to show three-year-old Rosina what to do. He knew it was hopeless and was sure he would soon come by and find them all dead. He told his friend, Francis Delalieu, about the family.

 

Try to imagine how this newly widowed, mother of three babies with no money was feeling. The despair and hopelessness must have been unbearable as she watched her three children quietly dying before her eyes. Weakened to a point where she was unable to get out of her bed, she was probably just praying that she would not be the first to die, leaving them alone. And suddenly the front door opened and there was Francis Delalieu. God was listening after all.

 

Francis immediately took charge. First, he cleaned up the children. Then he reassured them and left to acquire food and necessities. This man, this stranger, surely had the love of Jesus in his heart. He was risking his own life by being in a smallpox-infected household. He was spitting into the eye of the storm as he cleaned, fed and cared for the little children. This was, after all, 1850 and not 2017. They did not even have running water.

 

I have been (as have many others) a primary caregiver to someone seriously ill. Some caregivers are helping to nurse their loved one back to health after a serious surgery or accident. The upside to this type of caregiving is that an end is in sight because a reachable goal is possible ie; recovering from open heart surgery.

 

Then there is the alternative of caring for someone who is terminally ill. The goal in these cases is to help your loved one live as peacefully and as comfortable as possible until God calls them home. And then you have a person like Francis Delalieu. The only possible motivation he might have had to step into this situation was that of a Good Samaritan. He simply LOVED his neighbor.

 

Who was this man? Who was this stranger who came into a household that was a breeding ground for smallpox and had three babies with a bedridden mom living there who were near death? Who does this kind of thing simply out of kindness and compassion? Who would stay for almost two and a half years until the mother and children were once again healthy? Francis Delalieu is that person. There are many like him but most are unheralded and unheard of.

 

All we can seem to find out about Francis Delalieu is that he was a farmhand or a laborer and that he lived in or around the small town of Bois d’ Haine, in Belgium. That is about it. It is known he took  Adele Lateau and her children under his care and nurtured them all until they were well. After that period of time Francis seems to have vanished. At least there is no record of him after that point in time which would be around 1853.

 

Anna Louise Lateau was gifted with the Stigmata in the year 1868. For the rest of her life, her nourishment was only the Holy Eucharist and a few glasses of water per day. She became one of the most famous stigmatists of the 19th century. Francis Delalieu was just an unknown man who stepped up and took care of his neighbor, just like the Good Samaritan in Jesus parable. I am sure his reward has been great in heaven. When God is involved, all things are possible.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017