Frederick David Fenton
Frederick David Fenton, beloved husband, father, brother, consummate storyteller and avid hunter, died at the age of 80 years, Thursday, June 20th, 2013, in Columbus.
Until his last day, Fred embraced life, always quick with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. A graduate of South Webster High School, Fred married his love, Jean Henson, in 1951, and together they created a family, daughters Beverly (and Jim) Queen, Freda (and Jim) Wright, and son, Brian. Their family grew with grandchildren, the Rev. Jeff Queen, Amber Kasper, Alisha Tackett, Isaac Fenton, Andrew Wright, USN, and Magan Reiser, and great-grandchildren, Tori, Quincy, Madeline, Griffin, Jacob, Blake, Chase, and EmmaJae, who’s still on the way. One of 13 children, his surviving brothers are Al, the Rev. Frank (his twin), John, and Bill Fenton; and sisters, Helen Walker, Joanne Williams, Linda Bishop, and Jannie Meadows.
He joins in everlasting life his parents, Cora and Edward, and his siblings, Dick, Marge Lenyo, Louise Knight, and Rose Fenton.
Throughout his 80 years, Fred found joy in the hills and hollers around Scioto Furnace and South Webster, where generations of Fentons gathered for family reunions and bluegrass sing-alongs. He built his life as he did his house, making room in unexpected places, with a canny ability to make perfect strangers feel at home. And he was forever bringing new playmates for his kids: baby raccoons, a pet crow, and even a groundhog.
A strong work ethic defined his life, beginning with jobs at a local dairy bar, Shaffer’s Grocery, Betsy Ross bakery, the Minford Airport, and the Atomic Energy Plant, before he joined Norfolk & Western Railroad. He spent 36 years in the yard as a brakeman, frequently turning down promotions so he could spend more time with his family.
Fred never ran out of stories. Ever. Tales of youthful shenanigans, coon dog hunting, riding the rails, and raising a family all became rich fodder, shared after one of Jean’s famous home-cooked meals, on the porch by the hummingbird feeders, over coffee with the Liars Club at the restaurant on the hill. He fed half of Bloom Township with zucchini and tomatoes from a meticulous garden, and he taught his great-grandchildren how to dig up potatoes and how to love the land. Fred followed his beloved Jeeps, cheering them on until two minutes before the buzzer. By game’s end, he was in the parking lot, headed for Frederick Road, his home for more than a half-century, where his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren sat at his knee, learning about Buckeye nuts, his mule, Hammer, and life. Come Sundays—morning and night, he was at church. Scioto Furnace United Methodist for decades, then Grace United Methodist in South Webster. He didn’t brandish his deep faith as a weapon but rather as an invitation, not as armor but with the quiet, secure confidence of a man who knows the love of a merciful, grace-filled God.
As he moved into the thin place between earth and eternity, his witness continued. “Well now,” he said to his wife of 62 years. “I have to go someplace.” Then he offered his final words, this gift of comfort and promise: “How beautiful heaven must be.”
The family will receive visitors on Sunday, June 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. at D.W. SWICK FUNERAL HOME in South Webster, and a funeral service held Monday, June 24, at 11 a.m. at the Funeral Home with his grandson, the Rev. Jeff Queen officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grace United Methodist Church, PO Box 473, South Webster or the South Webster Athletic Association, C/O South Webster High School.
Condolences to dwswickfuneralhome.com.