Fred Fead Jr.

Fred B. Fead Jr.

1929 - 2020

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Obituary of Fred B. Fead Jr.

Fred Bingham Fead Jr. (1929-2020) was a quiet, self-confident, and determined man who like to do things his own way. A kind and gentle soul with a sharp mind and a big heart, he always believed he had been born under a lucky star. He was the third of four siblings [Emilie Nell Fead LePla (1922-2004); Katherine Louise “Kathie” Fead Sansom (1925-2019); Tomas “Tom” Carl Fead (1934-2016)], and the first-born son of Elsie Emilie Fead [née Pressprich] (1900-1992) and Fred Bingham Fead (1898-1900) of Port Huron, MI. He grew up surrounded by a large extended family and spent many joyful summers at the family cottage on the shore of Lake Huron. As the heir apparent to the John L. Fead & Sons Knitting Mills, he went east to Boston, MA to earn an engineering degree from MIT. A member of ROTC while at school, he escaped an Army draft by a hair’s-breadth, accepting an officer’s commission in the Navy, where he served as Lt. Junior Grade on a destroyer during the Korean War. He loved sailing and spent a lot of time on the water... whether it was sailing the Mediterranean on his Navy ship, to plying the Caribbean waters on a sailboat. While in the Navy he caught the eye of Willy Wolter and they married in 1952. By the time his Naval stint was concluded, his daughter Ellen Fead Fields (b. 1954) had been born, and the Knitting Mill had closed its doors. Fred was left to reinvent himself for the first of many times. He landed with his family in Woodstock, NY, where he worked for his father-in-law’s company, building prefabricated homes in the construction business. It was there that he learned to fly a plane, and he would often fly from Woodstock to his parents’ home in Port Huron, MI for summer vacations. He also became quite a skilled golfer achieving the Woodstock Country Club Men’s golf title (sometime between 1959-1961). After about a decade in Woodstock, during which time he and Willy divorced, he pulled up his roots and followed his younger brother Tom to Denver, CO. There he made the transition from construction to the brave new world of computers, joining IBM at 30 years old, and finding challenge and interest as a systems analyst. He spent the majority of his time working to support the Mountain Bell division of AT&T. During his early years in Denver, he met and married Marilyn Margaret Mull, M.D., a pediatrician, and published research physician at the University of Colorado Medical Center. In 1969 they had a son, Fred Bingham Fead III (aka Onyx V. Crimbil), and the trio lived in Denver until 1989, when Fred III left for college in ME, and Marilyn decided to join the Army. She was posted to the Medical Clinic at the McGraw Kaserne army base in Munich, Germany, and Fred was fortunate enough to land a concurrent position with IBM Germany. They spent the next three years living in officer housing on the Munich base while making new friends, traveling extensively, and enjoying life in Europe. When they returned to the states, they sold their home in Denver and built a new one in Gunbarrel outside of Boulder, CO. Settled in their new home, Fred & Marilyn became members of the Gunbarrel Country Club and formed friendships with fellow golfers throughout the neighborhood. Fred continued work with IBM, now based out of the office on Diagonal Hwy., and rode his bike the 11 miles to-and-from the office daily, in all but the fiercest of weather. He enjoyed his later years at IBM, finally concluding a 40-year tenure at the company when he retired at the turn of the century at age 70. After his retirement, Fred realized a childhood dream and began building the first of two wooden boats, attending The WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, ME during the summers to learn and hone his craft. Each of his children were the eventual beneficiaries of his boat-building passion: a hand-constructed wooden Swampscott dory rowboat, “Sand Rover”, and a Swampscott semi-dory sailboat, “Lookfar”. In addition to boat building, Fred enjoyed playing bridge with his friends, exploring Colorado in his Range Rover, and indulging his lifelong love of the great outdoors. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marilyn, his daughter Ellen Fead Fields and her husband James Fields, his granddaughter Zoe Warnock and her husband Gavin Warnock, his son Fred B. Fead III (Onyx) and his husband Mark Lunetta, along with a host of nieces and nephews and their offspring.
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