CORPS SAYS FAREWELL TO COLONEL RICHARD B. FREDEY
By Sgt John Neal
| | January 04, 2002
WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. --
The Marine Corps said farewell to one of its oldest brothers here January 4. After having seen an entire century pass, Colonel Richard B. Fredey died of natural causes at the age of 100. He received full military honors from Marines of the 1st Marine Corps District and 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines based in Garden City, N.Y.
Throughout his long life, Fredey - a simple yet sophisticated person - found happiness and satisfaction in just two things.
"I am an American, I am a Marine ... what else can I ask for?" said Fredey in a Nov. 15 interview.
Born March 23, 1901, Fredey concealed his real age of 17 and enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve in France during World War I. For his combat actions during the Argonne Forest campaign, Fredey received the French Legion of Honor.
Following World War I, Fredey attended Boston University on the GI Bill and was in the hotel-restaurant business when World War II broke out. Fredey returned to the Marine Corps and entered officer candidate school at the age of 42. Despite most candidates being half his age, Fredey earned a commission as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He would receive a Bronze Star with Combat V and Purple Heart during the invasion of Okinawa, Japan.
Fredey continued his Marine Corps career in the reserves, and continued his work managing hotels in Miami, Boston and Manhattan. Fredey retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in 1964.
Even after his eventual retirement from the hotel business, Fredey remained active and at the forefront of his family and Long Island community. Residing in the Northport Veterans Administration Medical Center in Northport, N.Y., until his death, Col. Fredey could often be seen at the front desk welcoming visitors and ensuring they sign in the guest book.
His last contribution to the world came in November 2001 when he returned a bronze temple bell he had found in April 1945 to the people of Okinawa.
"It's better to give than to receive," said Fredey. "I felt that an item of this kind was a symbol of good fortune, happiness and religion. The best place for the bell is back where it came from."
Through all the ordeals, triumphs and failures he faced in 100 years of life, Colonel Richard Fredey contributed his success and longevity to a simple philosophy called the "Four S-Rule": to share, to serve, to sacrifice, and to survive. Many of those who knew Fredey say he added a fifth rule: Semper Fidelis.
Fredey is survived by his wife, Anne; daughters, Millrod and Bree; five grandchildren and one great grandchild.