DONALD RAY FREDERICK
After a lifetime of selflessly serving his loved ones and his country, Donald Ray Frederick, 91, died on the morning of August 3, 2023. He was the last of his generation in what was once a large family subsistence farming on family land southeast of Washington.
Donald, known to family and friends as Don, was born at home, the ninth and last child of Francis Marion “Frank” and Margaret “Maggie” (Gardiner) Frederick on October 21, 1931, in Daviess County IN. He attended Montgomery schools and enlisted in the US Army in May 1951. He completed his basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas and started out as a rifleman in Company G of the 8th Infantry Division 61st, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. During his Army career of over two decades, Don spent many years in active duty away from home in West Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. He participated in the largest Army Air Force maneuver since 1941, Exercise Sage Brush in Louisiana, from 31 October 1955 to 15 December 1955, testing the Army’s ability in the event of atomic war.
Throughout the course of his military career, Don received three Bronze Stars from the US Government for achievement in ground operations against hostile forces and heroism in ground combat, as well as two Army commendation medals. He was awarded the Gallantry Cross from the Republic of Vietnam for superior achievements and devotion to duty during Operation Lam Son 278 between 1 April to 30 June 1969 in Nam Hoa. He has two Purple Heart awards for serious wounds received in action: in North Korea when he was serving with Company A of the 38th Infantry Regiment on March 3, 1953 and again in Thua Thien Province, Vietnam, 1969. Don retired from the US Army with the rank of 1st Sgt, E-8.
After his retirement from the Army he bought property adjoining his family’s homeplace and maintained a dairy farm there with his brother, Ed. Every so often he would leave for two-week stints in the south as the captain of a 100-ton utility boat in the Gulf of Mexico, working for the oil industry. He lived with his brother Ed and sister-in-law Dot after retiring from the Army. Their grandchildren grew up with his presence in their lives and he was like a second grandfather to them, teaching them to care for farm animals, drive trucks and tractors, look for arrowheads, and mend just about anything with baling wire and a roll of duct tape. He was an intelligent man with a strong appreciation of the ridiculous and liked to entertain his family by telling and writing funny stories about events around the farm among the animals and wildlife.
Quiet, but with a sharp wit and an excellent sense of comic timing, Don communicated well when he needed to and carried himself like a military man no matter what he did. He loved working outdoors. He enjoyed learning and appreciated politics, books and history. He took great pride in the fact that his grandfather, Francis Marion Frederick Sr, had fought for the Union in the American Civil War. He didn’t subscribe to empty ideologies but held firm beliefs grounded in historical fact, his own life experience, and the stories of all who’d gone before him.
Don had no children of his own but he is survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnephews, grandnieces, and multiple great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews, as well as friends and neighbours who knew and loved him. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and their spouses: Dorothy Louise (Frank) May, Nellie Mae (Paul) Palmer, Susie Catherine (Tom) O’Bryan, Garnetta Rose (Gilbert) Roach, Mary Agnes (Chauncey) Fagg, Julia (George) Davis, Edward Lee (Dorothy) Frederick, and Betty Ellen (Eugene) Wick. Many of his nieces, nephews, and some of their children have also passed away but many more remain to cherish his memory.
There will be a visitation held on Monday, August 7,2023 from 9:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. at Fredrick and Son Gill Funeral Home with a service immediately following also at the funeral home. Entombment will follow in Sugarland Memory Gardens with Military Graveside Honors. The family welcomes online condolences to be left at www.gillsince1872.com.
“I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
And then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.” —Wendell Berry