Fred was born July 19, 1928, to Frederick Junior and Olive (Bittner) Gerdes, in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He graduated from Aberdeen High School in 1946 and enlisted in the US Marines Corps. Fred was united in marriage to Doris Leigh Robinson on August 20, 1948, at the First Methodist Church in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He graduated from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology with an Engineering Degree in 1951. The couple moved to DeWitt in 1956. After a successful career in heavy construction equipment sales, he retired from Herman M. Brown Co. of Des Moines, as Eastern Division Manager of Sales and Service in 1994.
Fred was an active member of the DeWitt United Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge (Blue Lodge, Consistory, Shriners and Jesters), Eugene McManus American Legion Post#238 of DeWitt, University of Iowa I Club, DeWitt Noon Lions, Plus 60 Club, and the Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity. He was honored as the University of Iowa Track Official of the Year in 1997 and inducted into the Central Community Hall of Fame in 2008. He was a past member of the Central Community School Board and Saber Booster Club. Fred was an avid sports fan (his beloved Iowa Hawkeyes and New York Yankees). His interests included pheasant hunting, fishing, John Wayne Westerns, reading historical non-fiction, food, and most of all, his family.
Those left to honor his memory include his wife of 65 years, Doris Leigh, his sons and daughters-in -law, Kenneth and Kathleen of San Marcos, California, Douglas and Dorothy of North Liberty, Iowa, Roger and Mary Jeanne of DeWitt, and Paul and Marta of Chicago, Illinois; grandchildren, Joshua (Laura), Sean, Ryan, and Patrick; great-grandchildren, Jack, Odin, and Coraline; and a brother.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother and two sisters.
Memorials may be directed to the DeWitt United Methodist Church and Central Community Schools Education Foundation.
A Masonic Service will be held at 9:00 a.m. Friday, November 29, 2013, followed by visitation until 11:15 a.m. at the DeWitt United Methodist Church. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, in the church. Dr. Donald L. Batz will officiate. Interment and full military honors will follow at Elmwood Cemetery, DeWitt.
Condolences may be expressed and a photo tribute viewed at www.schultzfuneralhomes.com