Remembering the Lamar resident who co-founded House of Hope
Emogene “Jean” Fryar has left this world, but she leaves behind a legacy of service to the homeless of the Pee Dee.
The co-founder of the House of Hope of the Pee Dee passed away May 26 at her home in Lamar.
She and her late husband, the Rev. Bill Fryar, founded the Area Rescue Mission in 1989. While the name has changed several times over the past 33 years, its mission to bring hope to the homeless has remained the same.
Bryan Braddock, CEO of the House of Hope ministries, shares his admiration for the Fryars. “During my time at the House of Hope both of our founders, Bill and Jean Fryar, have passed away. While I never had the opportunity to meet Bill, I have visited with Mrs. Fryar on a few occasions. She always displayed a love for the homeless and has been a blessing and encouragement to me. It is an honor to continue their legacy of giving hope to the homeless. Mrs. Fryar’s kind gentle words and stories of perseverance will be missed.”
The Fryars founded the ministry dedicated to helping the homeless through faith, hope and prayer, commented Brenda Harrison, who became involved in this ministry in 1989. “In the beginning, they had little support and little money, but lots of faith. Their strong faith, along with God’s favor, paid big dividends in the lives of the homeless individuals they served.”
Glenn Bell, a longtime board member, recalls the early work of the Fryars. “Mrs. Fryar and her husband came to Florence over 30 years ago. They noticed a large homeless population and were instrumental in the early days of establishing the men’s mission which evolved into the House of Hope. Her legacy lives on in the many people whose lives have changed through the House of Hope.”
Following an illness in 1995, Bill Fryar retired from the ministry. Mrs. Fryar continued to serve as a volunteer until 1996. She later worked part time at Cale Yarborough’s Dry Cleaners in Timmonsville, along with the owner’s mother.
Mrs. Fryar was pleased with the growth and expansion of the Hope of Hope of the Pee Dee (the name was changed in April 2006).
“I’m not surprised what God has done because when God tells you to do something, he blesses it,” Mrs. Fryar said during an interview at the ministry’s 20th anniversary celebration. “God pays for what He orders.”
Her oldest son, Fred Fryar, commented, “One of the greatest joys I saw Mom and Dad experience was when they began the Area Rescue Mission in Effingham. Especially to see it grow into what it has become which is the House of Hope. They were always delighted to hear the progress that House of Hope was making to reach people from all walks of life. That was her greatest joy.”
“I was honored to call Jean my friend,” said Harrison. “She was a kind and loving woman with joy in her heart. I remember the early days of the ministry when things were tough financially. Jean was like a mama bear tending to her cubs. She was at the shelter in the old Bonaire School building every day, making sure the men seeking refuge there were fed and cared for. They thought of her as a mom and she reveled in this role. She loved and respected them and they returned her love and respect.”
A celebration of life honoring Mrs. Fryar was held May 31 in the Lamar Chapel of Belk Funeral Home.