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Archive for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Genuine memories

Family, friends, community gather to celebrate Frederick

Rev. Dr. Peter Luckey offers the prayer of Invocation and Barbara Ballard sings "On Eagle's Wings" at Bob Frederick's Memorial Service.

June 17, 2009, 5:03 p.m. Updated June 18, 2009, 12:00 a.m.

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Rarely, if at all, did Bob Frederick appear in public wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Frederick, in fact, may have made Beau Brummell look like a hobo.

Frederick’s penchant for donning classy threads turned into a common thread during Wednesday afternoon’s upbeat memorial service at the Lied Center.

“Everybody remembers my dad as a snappy dresser,” said Brian Frederick, oldest son of the former Kansas University athletic director who died tragically last Friday after a bicycling accident.

Brad Frederick, another son and an assistant basketball coach at Vanderbilt University, recalled a couple of months ago when he and his dad were at the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in Detroit.

“I had to talk my dad down from wearing a coat and tie to the game,” Brad said. “So he wore a jacket, an open-neck shirt and a sweater vest.”

Brad’s story brought chuckles to the crowd of perhaps as many as 1,500 who poured into the university concert hall that seats around 2,000.

Other stories about Frederick’s high-end haberdashery also elicited laughter from the throng that gathered to pay tribute to a man considered a colleague, close friend or just plain friend.

Katie Martincich, a KU volleyball player, was enrolled in a couple of the sports management classes Frederick taught in the School of Education.

“When I went into his classes,” Martincich said, “I knew he would always be the best-dressed man in the room with his three-piece suits, ties and handkerchief in the pocket.”

Max Urick, former athletic director at Kansas State, confessed how he hated to sit next to Frederick during Big 12 Conference meetings because he made Urick look sartorially insufficient.

“He would come to those meetings,” Urick said, “and it would be a lesson in fashion for us.”

Then there was Mark Frederick, another son, who told how he came to Lawrence from his home in Denver after the accident. Because he didn’t want to believe he might need it, Mark did not pack a suit.

So he wore one of his dad’s suits to Wednesday’s service.

“You can imagine the fun I had in his closet,” Mark said, grinning.

Interspersed among the lighter moments were recollections of a man almost universally admired and respected among those who knew him or were touched by him.

The Rev. Peter Luckey, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church where Frederick had served in many layman roles, delivered a eulogy calling Frederick “a true Mensch.”

“A life so well-lived we are still in shock, still stunned this life has been taken from us,” the Rev. Luckey said. “There are no answers, at least none that would satisfy us. There’s no celestial ref that keeps it all fair.”

The pastor related how Frederick, who was 69 when he died, had donated his organs, saying they had already “saved three people, and his skin has helped 50 more.”

David Ambler, a former KU dean of students and a close friend from their days on the university athletic board, spoke on behalf of the faculty.

“If I had to use one adjective to describe him,” Ambler said, “it would be ‘genuine.’”

Martincich, speaking on behalf of the students, said: “I’m blessed to have been influenced by him. I was fortunate to be inspired by this wonderful man.”

KU volleyball coach Ray Bechard, speaking on behalf of the athletic department, marveled at Frederick’s ability to make everyone seem important, saying: “He remembered your name. He personalized every experience.”

Added Urick: “There was absolutely nothing bad about him. He’s a great model for our profession.”

A wide spectrum of people from all walks of life — although mostly from the sports world — were on hand for the 70-minute service.

Roy Williams was there with his wife, Wanda. Williams, of course, was hired by Frederick when he was an obscure assistant coach at North Carolina back in 1988. Prior to the service, Williams gave Frederick’s wife, Margey, a long and warm hug.

Former KU chancellor Gene Budig and his wife, Gretchen, came from South Carolina. Former North Carolina chancellor Jim Moeser, once the organist at Plymouth Church, was there.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, a Plymouth member, sang “On Eagle’s Wings.”

Among the other attendees were Dan Beebe, John Underwood and Donnie Duncan of the Big 12 Conference; Tom Jernstedt and Bill Hancock of the NCAA; former KU football coach Terry Allen; former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson; and Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder.

Former KU coaches and administrators on hand included Ted Owens, Tim Jankovich, Kevin Stallings, Marty Pattin, Don Fambrough, John Novotny, Doug Vance, Dick Reamon, Bob Marcum, Richard Konzem, Janelle Martin, Del Brinkman and Amy Perko.

Practically the entire current KU athletic department staff attended as well, including AD Lew Perkins and his wife, Gwen; associate AD John Hadl; football coach Mark Mangino; and men’s basketball coach Bill Self and all of his assistants. Also on hand to pay their respects were federal judges John Lungstrum and Deanell Tacha.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 West 13th, Lawrence, 66044.

Comments

suzy 5 years, 6 months ago

Beautiful service yesterday. What a wonderful way to memorialize such a beautiful spirit. Dr. Bob's warmth, dynamic personality, and beautiful smile will be sorely missed.

To Brad, Mark, Chris, and Brian--your father would be SO very proud of all of you. I continue to keep all of you and Margie in my thoughts and prayers.

nekansan 5 years, 6 months ago

So did anyone happen to catch the host on 980 radio last night essentially saying Fredrick deserved to be injured since he was recklessly riding his bicycle in city traffic? She went on for at least 15 minutes about how cyclists should not be on the road. I could hardly believe it. Such ignorance and poor taste. Hopefully there will be repercussions for her ill informed and ignorant blather.

And to the LJW... Really? A Lesbian virtual reality video game dating banner banner ad on a funeral article page? Kind of in poor taste.

Blunt 5 years, 6 months ago

They were trying to beat the yellow light, which is why he didn't see the pothole. I wish he had used better judgment and he would still be here. Deserved to? No way.

Linda Aikins 5 years, 6 months ago

It was a beautiful service, and there were lots of "common folk" there too. Everyone there felt like they'd lost a best friend, because that's how he made you feel. What a gift.

jhawkfans 5 years, 6 months ago

Blunt, the light was not yellow. It was green. Who are you to say why he didn't see the pothole? None of us can say for certain what happened. I imagine a good cyclist would be keeping an eye on the light to make sure it didn't turn while also scanning for stray cars making turns, cars approaching the intersections, coming out of the parking lots, etc. If you are on a bike you generally do not keep your eyes fixed on the ground. That's how you get hit by cars. You talked about using better judgement. I wish you had used better judgement before posting something you know nothing about.

Blunt 5 years, 6 months ago

Ask the woman who was biking with him. She said they were trying to get across the intersection before the light turned so they probably weren't watching the road. Do you think he would have seen the pothole and purposely hit it? why did he miss all the other thousands of potholes they obviously went by?

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