Fred Leroy Fuge, 84, died May 21, 2009 at his home in Haines.
His memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Chaplain Eugene Sutton of the American Legion Post 41 will officiate. After the service, friends are invited to join the family for a reception at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 2005 Valley Ave.
Fred was born on Sept. 12, 1924, at Seattle. He was the middle child of Fredrick and Ethel Albertine North Fuge.
His father worked for Simmons Bed Co., so the family traveled to Glendale, Calif., where he went to grade school and junior high.
His father transferred to Portland, where Fred attended Grant High School. He left school in June 1942 at the age of 17 to join the U.S. Navy. Prior to leaving for San Diego along with 300 other young men, they were all sworn in at Multnomah Stadium, and then marched to the Union Pacific train depot and put aboard a train for San Diego. They were called the “Oregon Avengers.”
After completing basic training, Fred was assigned to the USS Chester (CA-27). On Oct. 19, 1942, the ship departed Espirito Santo along with the USS San Francisco, USS Helena, and USS Chester bringing up the rear. A torpedo hit the starboard side of Chester, about mid-ship. At the time, Fred was taking a shower. After the hit, Fred ran out of the shower, unclothed, and went through the port hanger area to his weapon where someone threw him some protective clothing. They lost 11 brave men that day.
The Chester was severely damaged, so it was sent to Sydney, Australia, for repairs. During December 1942, Fred was transferred off the Chester and assigned to temporary duty aboard the USS Dobins.
While on the Dobins, a chief petty officer asked if anyone knew how to type and drive a car. Fred volunteered, which is a bad thing to do in the military. He was assigned to the Operations office of Commander Service force-Southwest Pacific force. He served 17 months in Sydney.
After 2? years overseas, he asked to go back home. He was able to visit with his parents and sisters in Portland before being returned to duty.
He was sent to shore duty in San Diego, where he attended NROTC and the V-12 program at the University of New Mexico. There he worked in ship’s office as a yeoman. In November 1945, he received enough points to be discharged.
He returned to Portland where he met Colleen Clough, whom he had gone to high school with before joining the Navy. They married in 1946 and moved to Eastern Oregon.
He applied to the Oregon State Police and was accepted in April 1948. His first assignment was at Pendleton where his main responsibility was patrolling highways and fish and game enforcement.
In January of 1948, they were blessed with the birth of their first child, a daughter they named Regenia.
Early in 1951, while still in the Naval Reserves, Fred was called back to active duty for the Korean War, and took a leave of absence from the State Police. He reported to the USS Grady, (DE-445,) a destroyer escort, homeported at Treasure Island. He spent 15? months aboard the Grady patrolling the Pacific Coast of the United States against enemy vessels.
While Fred was on the Grady, their second child, a son, Brian, was born at Oakland, Calif., on June 24, 1952. In August of the same year, Fred was separated from the service, and returned to Salem. He contacted the superintendent of the State Police and was assigned to a post in Baker.
Their third child, Lee, was born on Oct. 30, 1954, at Baker.
During Fred’s career in the State Police, he had one very close call. One night in 1954, he was pursuing a suspect’s vehicle. He radioed Baker and told of the high-speed chase and flashes from the car coming out the back window. He was fired upon at least five times, with one bullet hitting the front hood of his patrol car.
Colleen and Fred divorced in 1968.
Fred retired from the State Police in January 1980, after 31 years of service.
In September of 1987 at the VFW hall, Fred met Dolly Kenney, and they started dating. On July 30, 1988, they were married at the VFW Club.
Camping and fishing were activities that Fred enjoyed. Fred and Dolly traveled to Canada and California. In March of 1999, they went to Sydney, Australia, which was a highlight in their life together.
Ill health in later years restricted him to his home, where he died peacefully in the company of his wife and daughter.
Survivors include his wife of 20 years, Dolly, of Haines; daughter, Regenia Valentine, and her husband, Steven, of Richland; son, Lee Fuge, and his wife, Rene, of Canby; stepdaughter, Sherri Kenney Eitel, and her husband, Mark, of Corpus Christi, Texas; sisters, Dorothy Atkinson of Glendale, Calif., and Dolores Dunn and her husband, Phil, of Lakeview, Wash.; grandchildren, Donna Carpenter and her husband, Carl, of Baker City, Nick Fuge and his wife, Evelyn, of Tigard and Brian Fuge of Canby; a great-grandchild, Chris Rowe of Baker City; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a son, Brian Douglas Fuge, who died in 1974.
Memorial contributions may be made to Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice, Avenue of Flags, or the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, May 27, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor