obituary: Fred Walter Fernow

Fred Walter Fernow, 81, passed away peacefully at his residence in Ash Fork, Ariz., on Saturday, March 2, 2013, where his gentle affectionate nature, dignity and sense of humor were intact to the very end.

He was born Jan. 9, 1932, to Christian and Irene Fernow, along with Robert Fernow, Eva Fernow Garcia, Mary Catherine Fernow, Rosalie Fernow Irwin and Christian Fernow, Jr. He is survived by a sister, Rosalie Fernow Irwin and husband, Beau; daughter and son-in-law, Lynn and Rick Murphy; son and daughter-in-law, Fred Fernow II (Fritz) and Ardella; daughter, Kristina Fernow; and daughter and son-in-law, Karla and William Kratzenberg II. He is also survived by grandchildren, Aaron and Sandi Orozco, Suzie and Brett Frederick, Fred Fernow III, Paul and Lacey Fernow, Amanda and Manuel Cibrian, Kasey and Brandon Town, Richard Murphy II, Cody Maher, Will and Kana Kratzenberg; and great-grandchildren, Malec, Haley, Brayden, Odessa, Treagan, Tayton, Talyn, Blaine, Evelyn, Paul, Ethan, Sienna, Taylor and Maddy.

Fred was born and raised in Ash Fork and resided there his entire life. He graduated from Ash Fork High School, then joined the United States Navy.

He served in the Korean War aboard the U.S.S. Marshal DD-676 and the Gloucester PF-22. Fred received a letter from Kim Dae-jung, president of the Republic of Korea, thanking him for his noble contribution to the effort to safeguard the Republic of Korea. Also, he received the Korean War Service medal to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. Other medals received included the United Nations Medal, China Service Medal and the Japanese Occupation Good Conduct Medal.

After returning from the service, Fred married Odessa Irene Mensi and began his new family. He worked for Whitey Webster loading railroad cars with flagstone, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Alfred M. Lewis, Inc., and was self-employed as a Texaco owner until his retirement.

Fred had five children, Kathy, Lynn, Fritz, Kristie and Karla and was deeply devoted to his family and friends. He was nicknamed "Friendly Fred." He was fire chief of the Ash Fork Volunteer Fire Department and the best storyteller of his lifetime experiences. He was crowned "King of Ash Fork" in 1982 at the Centennial Celebration. He approached life with a "live and let live" philosophy.

He was kind, affectionate, generous, and had a great sense of humor. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Elks Lodge.

A celebration of Fred's life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Ash Fork High School in Ash Fork. A luncheon for all will follow immediately after the ceremony.

Flowers and cards may be sent to the Chino Valley Funeral Home, 480 W. Palomino Road, Chino Valley, AZ 86323; phone: (928) 636-8225.