Frederick G. Zeigler would have made a wonderful journalist. When you read his personal letters, you can imagine turning to his column in the paper and reading his incisive and witty comments on the inanities and foibles of the day. As a young man, he wanted to major in journalism, and by all signs, it seemed as if he would have succeeded. He had graduated at the top of his class from Yakima High School and had received high honors at Yakima Valley Junior College. In his first quarter at the University of Washington he had earned an A average, this at a time when the grade of A wasn't so easily come by.
Fred was born in Yakima in 1913 to Frederick G. Zeigler and Mary Elizabeth Sweeney. His mother died when he was four years old, and afterward he and his younger brother Lawrence were taken care of by various relatives until his father remarried. By the time Fred had finished that grand first quarter at the UW, the depression had hit, and Fred, working summers for his education, became, in his words, so "charmed at the prospect of steady employment," that he decided to abandon his formal education altogether.
In 1941, before World War II was declared, Fred joined the U. S. Army. During the War, he served in the Aleutian Islands, Okinawa, Hawaii, and Iwo Jima until V-J day, after which he re-enlisted and transferred to Mannheim, Germany. Here he met a lovely German girl named Anna, whom he married on Sept. 17th, 1947. His first son, Eric, was born on August 3, 1948 in Mannheim, and his second son, Martin, was born on September 25, 1951 at Fort Lawton, Washington.
You can imagine the appeal the Army first had for Fred. Besides traveling foreign countries and the United States, he was able to receive Army training in foreign languages (especially German), as well as in other subjects he loved: mathematics, radio, and electronics. But you can also understand how the continual process of rooting and uprooting, of hauling furniture, and of moving his sons in and out of schools started to wear thin. It was time to settle down. And so in 1961, Fred retired and moved his family to the Pacific Northwest.
After a brief stint at the US Postal Service, Fred landed a job with the Federal Bureau of Prisons at McNeil Island, Washington, and moved his family to Steilacoom, WA. Steilacoom was the most idyllic of towns: it was peaceful; the family could see the most gorgeous sunsets from their side porch; and Fred could commute to work simply by walking the short distance to the dock and taking a boat over to McNeil Island, a process which expended zero gallons of his own gasoline. Martin and Eric both went to fine public schools, and Anna gradually became more and more active in the Steilacoom community.
By the time Fred retired from the Prison Service in 1978, Martin and Eric had graduated from college and started careers of their own. Fred and Anna enjoyed a quiet life together. Fred worked in his garden, read, and helped Anna with her community activities. They had hoped to live out their lives in their home of forty-three years, but health and frailty necessitated that they move one more time.
After about two years at the Village Retirement Apartments, Frederick G. Zeigler succumbed to a stroke, and passed away at the age of 92 on November 7, 2005. No, he never became the journalist he wanted to be. He became more: A loving, decent husband to his wife Anna, and a great dad to his two sons Marty and Eric.
Military honors will be presented 11:00 AM Wednesday, November 16, 2005 at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA, followed by a memorial service 2:00 PM Wednesday, November 16 at The Village, 4707 S. Orchard St., Tacoma, WA 98466. Please sign the online memorial at www.edwardsmemorial.com
Quotes from favorite authors:
There is no frigate like a book To take us lands away, Nor any coursers like a page Of prancing poetry. This traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of toll; How frugal is the chariot That bears a human soul! - Emily Dickinson
The Impartial Friend: Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all--the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved. - Mark Twain
A metaphysician is one who, when you remark that twice two makes four, demands to know what you mean by twice, what by two, what by makes, and what by four. For asking such questions metaphysicians are supported in oriental luxury in the universities, and respected as educated and intelligent men. -H.L Mencken
If after I depart this vale you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner, and wink your eye at some homely girl. -H L Mencken
Fear no more the heat o' the sun, Nor the furious winter's rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. - William Shakespeare
Arrangements by Edwards Memorial Center. 253-566-1008