We were so sad to hear about Fred’s death. I have a hard time with any person’s death, but especially with someone so gifted and caring as Fred. I have reconciled myself a little with the body’s death, but don’t really see the use of losing all those memories, knowledge and learning that we all accumulate. Just about the time we figure out a few things about life, we have to give it up. When it involves a death of a spouse, then it makes me think about losing my spouse or my spouse losing me. You and Fred had such a wonderful partnership. I feel that Fred (but may be way off here) was a little shy and that you were his emissary to the world in a way. I remember so much the times you would come out in the hall in the student house and just walk up to a student, look them right in the eye, hug them, and talk to them straight-forwardly about their behavior. What a brave person you are! I think, hope and pray that that quality will see you through this period of time. You have so much to offer in your own right and now must be yourself more thoroughly than ever before. We hope so much for you and your children’s future.
Actually, I personally didn’t really work long with both of you. Tim is the one who has the greater amount of working time with you both. But I thought I’d offer an account and reflection on those times together that I remember. Perhaps it will add to your own and your children’s’ memories in the future.
We came to Chicago after being reassigned from Minto, Alaska. Arriving in Chicago, Tim immediately began to work in the Student House, and I went out and got a job as a financial analyst at the Montgomery Ward Life Insurance Company. For the two years we all were in Chicago together, I experienced brief morning collegiums, brief evening meetings and often being assigned to child care on the weekends. Occasionally, I helped the Student House deliver advertising papers on the weekends and conducted a Youth Retreat developed by Fred and the Student House staff. The effect on Tim was quite heavy. He left early for work on the third floor and came back late. He was often pretty low, but often elated. Being part of a great team inspired and anchored by you and Fred kept him going.
Fred’s gift was to provide a vision for the kids about their lives and their purpose. And that vision was about caring for themselves and others. You, Tim, Deirdre, and Doris helped develop and support that vision. Even when it seemed as though your efforts were going nowhere, Fred calmly persisted. Maybe persistence was Fred’s middle name. He also had that little twinkle in his eye and a great, but subtle sense of humor.
By persistently projecting the vision of caring for others, Fred and the staff of that Student House had many great students who became incredible adults of accomplishment and caring. Fred and all of you really cared about education and a lot of the students picked up on that. There was always a study time with adult supervision. I saw a lot of students studying on their own with you or Fred stopping to ask about their studies. I still remember a number of them—Mark Rebstock, Jane Sharp, Bruce Ellsworth, Elena Harper, Emmanuel Ward, Nancy Griffin and Lyle Stoker are a few of the students who come to mind. I also remember sometimes driving Emmanuel and Lyle to advanced math classes early in the morning.
The student plays in the spring were terrific, too. Do you remember writing and producing an original play on Journey to the East—it should be produced on Broadway! You and Tim also played for musicals like South Pacific? These were wonderful events—one of the ways that showed what great kids were in the Student House. I know that the Student House had lots of problems, with few resources, no training, and a history that some remember with pain. My memories, however, are dominated by how great the kids were, and the vision and care shown by the staff.
You and Fred went on to Kenya, where Fred called on his horticultural training to help establish a large income-producing farm. Then in Seattle, you both blazed new directions—first, with Fred becoming director, and you the nurse, of the School of Oriental Medicine; and second, always action-oriented, starting a co-housing community and becoming activists in co-housing communities throughout the country.
Fred’s vision, care for others, and persistence never waned. We could see that during your visits to Albuquerque—which we enjoyed—to attend your co-housing board meetings and events. We especially remember you trip down here last year. We gave the Albuquerque tour of good New Mexican food with great red and green chile and a walk (Fred had a rented wheelchair) through the botanical gardens here. He knew so much about the plants, and mentioned the many gardens he had designed. Fred was a true Renaissance man mixed with great kindness. What a guy!
We’ll miss him.
Martha and Tim Karpoff