Frederick Lawrence Vochatzer, 95, passed away on February 3, 2016 in Yakima, Washington. He was born in Kansas City, MO on April 26, 1920 to Benjamin P. and Pearl Marie Vochatzer. He was a middle child of 15 children.
Fred was a Veteran of World War II. He spent the war time stationed at Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
Fred and Juanita met on her birthday, April 11, 1945 and they were married on December 16, 1945 in Salinas, CA. When they loaded up and headed to Washington immediately after the wedding, Fred had a commitment from Juanita to try living in Washington for just one year. 69 years later both have still been happy with their decision to leave California for the Northwest.
Fred retired from Washington Federal Savings & Loan in 1982 as a Branch Manager of the Sedro-Woolley, WA branch, which was opened at his suggestion in 1976. Prior to that he served as an Appraiser and and Vice- President of Development for the bank. Additionally Fred and his wife Juanita owned the Duchess Apparel from 1962-1989. Their other business was the Ben Franklin Variety, originally Convery’s, then Equal’s, which they bought from Don Equals, a shirt-tail relative who gave Fred and Juanita jobs after the end of WWII.
Guiding on the Skagit River in his “spare” time, when he got into along with other friends, created the extra income to buy the extras.
Over the years he belonged to the Wildcat Steelhead Club, Burlington Golf and Country Club (served as President), Sedro-Woolley-Burlington Presbyterian Church (served as Elder), Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce (served as President), Sedro-Woolley Rotary (68 years continuous membership), and served Skagit County on the Planning Commission. He served with the American Legion and marched in many local parades.
He was the unofficial King of Salmon Barbeques in Skagit County serving up hundreds of pound of barbecued salmon over the years for the Steelhead Club, Rotary, Presbyterian Church and for countless political events, both parties!
Boating, fishing, and hunting were top of his list of activities with family and friends. He and Juanita owned a series of boats over the years, each one larger than the last finishing up with the Roadrunner, a 38’ Bertram yacht from which he fished the San Juan’s and explored into the Canadian Gulf Islands until 85 years of age. Early on he and friends founded the Wave Riders Club and the group boated the waters of Northwest Washington. When friends moved to Wenatchee, he and the family spent time at Lake Chelan water skiing and enjoying sun with them.
It was with friends he made while guiding on the Skagit River that he eventually helped put together a group to purchase Leonard’s Landing Lodge in Yakutat, Alaska in December of 1997. He continued the tradition of multiple trips to the lodge every season fishing for king salmon, halibut, and silver salmon until his last trip just last August. Every fish was as exciting to him as the first and his whoops and hollers were well known among his fellow fishermen!
Fred got involved in Camp Fire Girls and Camp Kirby when his daughter, Annette joined the group and his wife, Juanita served as adult group leader. Over the years he served the council and worked tirelessly at Camp Kirby on Samish Island including helping to construct an A-frame for the Camp Director. His work resulted in numerous awards and a building at Camp Kirby bears his name.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Juanita; his daughter (Marie) Annette Harter and her husband Peter of Yakutat, AK and Naches, WA, and grandson, Sean James Murphy of Olympia, WA, and siblings, Dee Robinson, Frank Vochatzer and Jack Vochatzer, all of Kansas City, MO and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 10:00am at the Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 10217 Collins Rd., Sedro-Woolley, WA. Fellowship following the service will be held there as well. Please be prepared to come forward during the Celebration with your best Freddie stories! In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Samish Council Camp Fire Girls-Camp Kirby or Sedro-Woolley Rotary.