He graduated from high school in Hulett, Wyoming and attended Graceland College for two years. He received his pilot’s training at Lindberg Field and became an Air Force cadet at Randolph Field in San Antonio. He received advanced flight training at Kelly Field and continued his service in the United States Army Air Corp for five years, two of which were spent flying transports and ferrying fighter planes across Africa. He became a captain in the Air Force and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal Awards. He became a Major while serving in the Air Force Reserves. After his military service, he started his 31 year career as a pilot with Mid Continent and later Braniff Airlines.
Fred met his wife Jean while attending school in Hulett, Wyoming. They were married on September 8th, 1942, in San Antonio, Texas, and had four children: Jerrie Lynn, Karen Jean, Sarah Jane and Paul Thomas. There are nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Jean and Fred were married 64 years before she died on December 7, 2006. Of his seven brothers and sisters, Ellen Turner, who is 102 years old, and a younger brother Ed Mahoney survive him.
In addition to working as a pilot, Fred farmed both in Lawton, Iowa, and Randolph, Minnesota. He loved to play golf, fish, hunt, and garden. His favorite hobby was trout fishing, for which he tied his own flies and made many flies and fly rods for both himself and family.
But most of all Dad loved to interact with children. He would make them sourdough waffles and pancakes shaped like animals. Dad would cook tacos and then see who could put the most Tabasco sauce on them. He made whistles and carved stick horses out of willow branches and built corrals to hold them in. He would challenge the children with word problems and riddles. He entertained them with treasure hunts and adventures to the basement looking for “the rat.”
All of Fred’s family appreciated his sense of humor and quick wit. He had a special need to seek out new adventures and go on vacations and have his family come along with him. It seemed he was always learning something new and then passing on this new knowledge to his kids.
Fred passed away on March 29, 2012, at 8:30 p.m. He was 95 years old. No one has ever had a better father or grandfather. He will be dearly missed.
A memorial service will be held at the Northfield Retirement Community Chapel at 900 Cannon Valley Drive, Northfield, Minnesota, on April 21 at 11 a.m. with visitation at 10 a.m. Sandwiches and cake will be served across the street at the condominium lobby at 1000 Cannon Valley Drive, Northfield, following the service.
Memorial gifts may be directed to First Tee of St. Paul at Highland Park, 1403 Montreal Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55116.
Arrangements are being completed by the Boldt Funeral Home, Faribault.