Memorial services set for Rex Fleming

UPDATE: A live stream of the family’s celebration of Rex’s life will be available today beginning at 10:15 a.m. at acu.edu/live

For the past two years, many in the Abilene Christian University community have been involved in a ministry of prayer and encouragement for the family of Rex Fleming, a 10-year-old who died Sunday night after an inspiring battle with brain cancer. His parents are Lance (’92) and Jill Fleming of Abilene. Lance is ACU’s assistant athletics director for media relations and Rex has been an ever-present sidekick to his dad at Abilene Christian sporting events for a decade.

Rex prays with his mother, Jill, and his father, Lance, in a small-group gathering last fall at Abilene's Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.

A former journalism graduate of ACU and professional sportswriter, Lance documented his son’s health struggles in unblinking fashion on a CaringBridge Web page that has drawn people from around the globe into the world of pediatric cancer patients for a first-hand look into the soaring “ups” and heart-breaking “downs” they and their families often experience.

Like local high school football teams have done this fall, ACU coaches and student-athletes have honored Rex by wearing P4X (Pray for Rex) bracelets or written his name on their hands and arms and equipment, often to remind them of the youngster while in competition.

The football team made him an honorary captain before its final home game Nov. 3 against the University of West Alabama, inviting him to give the team a pregame speech in the locker room, participate in the coin-toss (he won) and allowing him to call the team’s first play in the 22-16 overtime win. In the Wildcats’ final game Nov. 10 against the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, head coach Ken Collums had his players wear a red wrist band around their ankles.

When Wildcats looked down at their feet in the Nov. 10 game, they were reminded of Rex's challenges.

“I wanted it to be on our ankles as low as it could go,” Collums told the Abilene Reporter-News. “During a game, I don’t want them thinking about Rex. I want them thinking about the game and the game plan. That’s why we didn’t wear them on our arms. But when you get to a point where you bend over and you’re having to take a deep breath because you’re tired or hurt – we all do it in the course of a game – I wanted them to see that. I wanted them to know, ‘Pardner, you’re really not going through much. Tough it out. Your boy (Rex) is going through a lot more than you are right now.’ ”

The Wildcats played for Rex and won, 24-12, to finish their season 7-4. Two weekends later, Rex died in home hospice care and will be buried this Friday.

People around Abilene, including ACU women's basketball players, wear P4X (Pray for Rex) T-shirts in his honor.

His body will be available for viewing only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Hamil Family Funeral Home (6449 Buffalo Gap Rd.). The family will receive visitors from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church (701 S. Pioneer Drive). On Friday, a public graveside service will be 9:30 a.m. at Elmwood Memorial Park (5750 Hwy. 277 South), followed by a memorial service to celebrate Rex’s life at 10:30 a.m. at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. The services will be under the direction of Hamil Family Funeral Home and will be led by pastor Stan Allcorn and Dr. Jeff Reid.

Rex loved sports and will be buried wearing a Texas Rangers’ jersey. To honor his life and the way he lived it, the family encourages those who attend the memorial service to feel comfortable wearing the jersey/shirt or other attire of their favorite team – Little League, high school, college or professional – or wear a P4X shirt. Traditional attire also is appropriate and welcome.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Rex Fleming Endowed Scholarship, Abilene Christian University, ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699-9132, or the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Children’s Ministry, 701 S. Pioneer Drive, Abilene, Texas 79605.

Abilene Reporter-News coverage of Rex begins here. The Optimist student newspaper also documents Rex’s story here. Many thanks to freelance photographer Jeremy Enlow for sharing these images with us.

ACU head coach Ken Collums had Rex call his team's first offensive play in the Nov. 3 win over West Alabama.

Rex and his sister, Ashley, head to Moody Coliseum last fall, where their dad was overseeing media operations at a Wildcat basketball game.

Rex pauses to check on his younger brother, Ryan, in the Moody Coliseum concourse before an ACU basketball game last fall.

Rex was a familiar face at ACU sporting events his entire life, here standing behind (from left) his dad; Lance's assistant, Chris Macaluso; and announcer Grant Boone.

ACU senior quarterback Mitchell Gale stops to visit with his young friend before the Wildcats’ – and Rex’s – final home game of the 2012 season.


4 Comments

  1. Richard Wooten
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    So sorry for your loss … My prayers and thoughts are with you and your wonderful family, Lance. May GOD bless and keep you. In Him, Richard Wooten

  2. Danny & Gayle Baird
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Fleming family, my heart goes out to you. He was a brave young man and I know he fought hard to stay, but was ready to go. It is hard to lose a child no mater what the age. Time does make it easier, but he will always live in your hearts.. God Bless!

  3. Dale Mixon
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    We have been praying for Rex and for all the family for a long time here at my church in Rogers, Ark. I was a member at PDBC for many years and have kept in touch with folks there who shared Rex’s story with me. What an inspiration he and all the family have been to so many. I am grateful that Rex is now in Heaven with Jesus and having no more pain. I pray his family will be comforted by the memories they have of him and the knowledge that his life touched so many others in very special ways. God bless all of you.

  4. Amy McCLEAN
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Dear Lance, Jill, Ashley and Baby Ryan, We love your family so much. Please know in the days ahead, you have us and many to lean on when times get tough. P4Rex! Peace for Rex!

Post a Comment

Before posting, please read and understand the ACU blog guidelines
Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>