SAGINAW, Mich. — Richard “Fuzz” Leo Frederickson, 89, of Saginaw went home to meet his heavenly Father, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at University of Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. The son of the late Richard and Violet (Kuklinski) Frederickson, Richard was born Feb. 5, 1930, in Winona. He married Grace Helen Laska, his loving wife of 57 years, June 21, 1958. She predeceased him Feb. 7, 2015.
Richard was a star basketball player while attending both Cotter High School and Winona State University, graduating in three years with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1957. However, before earning his degree, he enlisted in the Army in 1951 to serve in the Korean War. He was assigned to the Army Security Agency. As a high speed radio interceptor, he learned both Chinese and Morse code and was immediately sent just over enemy lines, where he stayed for 17 months. He achieved the rank of corporal and was discharged in 1954.
Upon his return home, he tells his favorite story of driving his brand new convertible in downtown Winona and “seeing the most beautiful woman he has ever seen” walking down the sidewalk. Richard and Grace were together for the next 60 years. After getting married in Winona, Richard and Grace moved to Detroit and then eventually Saginaw Township, starting his insurance career with Travelers Insurance as a branch manager for 13 years. He then proudly went to work for Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company for the next 32 years as a district manager and in the accounting department.
Richard was endlessly supportive of his children. He started the first girls team, Girls Town Basketball League in Saginaw Township, coaching his daughter and her friends. Having to play against boys, they often won. He also coached her in fast pitch softball for many years, again, often winning. He loved being out there, almost as much as the teams loved playing for him. He never missed a chance to tell you he was proud of you and never missed a game, driving three+ hours three times a week to watch college volleyball matches.
Richard was a member of Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Surviving are one son and one daughter, Greg (Beth) Frederickson, Saginaw, and Lisa (Brent) Peterson, Saginaw; and five grandchildren, Richard, Gregory, Joseph Frederickson and Haley and Blake Peterson; also surviving are two sisters-in-law, Barb and Pat Laska; and four brothers-in-law, Jim (Jean) Laska, Tom (Barb) Laska, Dick Laska, Dave (Joan ) Laska all of Minnesota. His sister, Rosemary Cherry, of Minnesota, passed on Sept. 28, 2019, one day after Richard.
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Richard enjoyed watching sports, especially U of M and the Patriots. He was always so positive, happy, loving, kind and extremely generous with everyone, often handing out $20.00 for “gas or lunch or a car wash.” He was content and grateful saying often, “I’ve had a great life, have no regrets and would do it all again, exactly the same.”
Honoring Richards wishes cremation has taken place. A memorial Mass will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, with father Ron Wagner presiding.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the local school-based autism peer mentoring program called KNOTS (Kids Need Opportunities to Socialize), to which Richard’s grandson, Blake, belongs. Donations can be made payable to Saginaw Township Community Schools, with “KNOTS” noted in the memo line and can be mailed to Heritage High School, co: KNOTS, 3465 N. Center Rd. Saginaw, MI 48603.
“I’ll see ya down the road.”