Frederick Hart
Frederick Hart

Obituary of Frederick Clement Hart

Frederick Clement Hart was born on July 12, 1929 to Clement and Olive Hart.

Fred started life in Eugene, Oregon where Clem worked on a government reclamation project.  While the Great Depression made work difficult to find, Clem was always able to find a worksite where his heavy equipment operator skills were needed.  Reclamation was the "work" of government for the West and Fred moved with his family from one water project to the next.  Included were stops in Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Grand Coulee.  Life in the camps was hard scrabble: dust, mud, snakes, scorpions, platform tents or temporary shiplap housing that froze in winter and baked in summer.

By Fred's high school years the family, including brother Dave and sister Jana, were living in Enumclaw where Clem worked on the Howard Hanson dam as a maintenance foreman.  Fred worked delivering papers, cleaning a butcher shop, and as a sawyer in the woods bucking up felled timber.

The difficult work shaped Fred's work ethic.  From busheler, to fire crewman, to fire warden for the State Division of Forestry, Fred enjoyed working for Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and progressed through a series of jobs at Port Orchard, Longview, North Bend, Olympia and finally at Enumclaw, where he worked as Supervisor for South Puget Sound DNR.

It was his forest coworker and friend, Art Anderson that introduced Fred to Dorothea Mae Anderson, Art’s sister, … Beautiful Dorothea, patience and kindness her strengths.  Handsome Fred, perseverance, responsibility and leadership his strengths.  God brought them together husband and wife June 6, 1949.  Together they raised six children, and yep, life was busy!  Leaning on each other through life’s lumps and blessings took strong love and commitment.

Fred and Dort, as they were known to friends and family, were an inseparable pair. Except for hunting.  That was the one thing Fred did with his longtime friend Pete Steelsmith and eventually his own kids who he taught to hunt deer and elk.  Dort would cook the venison for the family, and all were happy to leave the liver to Dad.

Fred, however, did make sure Dort would have opportunities to pick wild trailing blackberries he often scoped out while working in the woods.  On the weekends the bunch of us kids and the folks would head back to the hotspot and pick blackberries.  During the fall or spring when berry picking was not an option the family would pile into the station wagon and Dad would take us all to long abandoned logging camps where we would scurry through the old camp foundations and search for bottles.  We had quite a collection that grew to fill window sills.  These bottles were not valuable or rare coming as they did from the 20's and 30's but we made them rare as we searched for the blue Vaporub or Milk of Magnesia bottles.  From these cast offs we kids developed a kind of story of who these loggers and their families must have been.

Fred and Dort were a giving pair, motivated by their love for Jesus they provided care for foster children and refugees, supported their church family, volunteered with service groups like Habitat for Humanity and Rails to Trails, and were always attentive to meeting the needs of others.  And they passed this along to us kids by leading us toward personal faith in Jesus and mentoring us in development of our own life skills so that we could also be a blessing to others.  Dad and mom gave us the confidence to "figure things out" and gain the knowledge that we could do things most craftsmen do, and do them acceptably well.  Dad didn't demand perfection of us and he was a good teacher.

As their family grew up and left home, Fred and Dort dreamed of building a log house. The log house became the family project for a decade. It drew us all together, even though the older kids had married and moved on, to help with the many aspects of log home building. Except for the architect and the foundation there were no contractors doing the work.  We felled and yarded the trees using an old Dodge Power Wagon with a boom.  We rigged a skyline over the work site to position the logs once the bark had been pealed.  Log by log the home grew on the ridge above South Prairie with a full magnificent view of Mt Rainier.  By the time we finished the work and the folks were ready to move in, there was only need for two bedrooms. One for the folks, and one for their youngest, Jana.

Retirement for the folks was a kaleidoscope of family gatherings at the log house, a time when new men, women and kids were welcomed and took their place in the family.  Fred and Dort also ventured off to explore the West, visit relatives, rock hound, and just be gawky travelers staying in their travel trailer with wonder-dog Martin.  It was a joyful time for Fred and when he got home he had time to work in the shop at some piece of pine furniture, or a wooden toy for a grandchild, that he fancied.  And treasure of treasures… grandchildren!  All eagerly anticipated, and all showered with love and affection – hugs and kisses from Dort and handmade toys, stories and “life lessons” from grandpa.  Following are some of their memories:

 

It’s hard for me to remember a specific shared conversation or activity with Grandma and Grandpa Hart but it’s easy to remember the essence of their environment.  The log house and tree farm were rich with childhood magic. Still I’ve found not a more splendid place.  Grandma and Grandpa facilitated the beauty and wonder of their home through hard work and love.  It was obvious in the taste of bubbling berry pie and intrigue of finely crafted wood furniture.

The land was cared for with detail and its embrace welcomed many lucky visitors of family and friend.  Ain’t no get together compares to the ones of those days.  Too many grandchildren to keep track of was a good thing when antics were on the agenda.  From zipping through the woods in the go-cart or playing hide in seek in the ever-expanding log house.  And of course more compliant pursuits like kitchen tasks with grandma (mixing the punch in that terrifyingly fragile crystal bowl) or understanding how that tight rope balancing bear cycled across the expanse of the house (praying he wouldn’t fall when Grandpa was on watch).

Surely they knew and took pride in the place they created.  A place to come together and celebrate and enjoy the simple pleasures.  I can still feel that sacred space - an embrace inseparable from the beautiful people that created it-

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa(Christie)

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My favorite memory is of the times G and G Hart would come to Fish Lake with Charlie and Aggie - usually right around my birthday every year.  Grandma, mom and I did many, many, many loops around the lake and I was always amazed at how my ancient grandma could walk that far.  Now approaching the 50’s does not feel quite as ancient!  Another favorite memory is when we would arrive early for family gatherings at the log house and listen for the sound of the latch on that huge door.  It was like a wonderful peak-abo game with greatly anticipated but randomly selected family members.  All the sounds of surprise, joy, the big hugs and wonderful kitchen smells.

I miss them both.  (Becky)

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Where to begin? It is difficult to write down the memories I have of Grandma and Grandpa.  The first, and most important however is implied in the first sentence. They go together.  Two as one.  Two very distinct people, while one very distinct marriage. I remember them together.  At home, at Grandma Anderson’s, helping remodel childhood home, coming to ballgames, caring for Tracey and I, loving great- grandkids, walks, breakfast with berries and ice cream, antiques roadshow – even in the times when it was only Grandpa, Grandma was still there making home, home.  And even when I had a few moments with only Grandma, it was Grandpa present – protecting and providing.

Home isn’t only a place, and Grandma and Grandpa made sure that we couldn’t mistake it for such.  They put what home is created to be on display -- a place to gather the ones you love, and a place where those who you have watched over, prayed over, hoped for, and maybe even worried about, are welcomed back to know they are loved.  A place where we serve, and also have the greater blessing of finding a place to serve.  Love and service together.  Love is not love without it. Service is not worthy of the name without a foundation of love for those you serve.  These things were shown – patiently, hopefully, energetically, beautifully by Grandma and Grandpa.  Start by loving and sacrificing for each other.  Do the same for your children.  The same for your grandchildren.  The same for the husbands and wives of those kids and grandkids.  Pretty soon the troop you trained to love and serve has grown to such proportion it is hard to see the extent of the ripples created by the one marriage stone cast in the pond.

Particular memories:

A love to build things, and the desire to work at finishing them. Trees. Wood. Construction.  Respect for hard work.  Truth-telling.  Loving and honoring your wife.  Serve. At South Prairie dinner table -- can’t leave until you are done with onions – I hate onions! Learning to drive. Christmas time. Cousins. (Andy)

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Always saving a bedroom for us. Always feeling welcome.  Gazebo and stories.  Felt like I always knew them, and they treated me just like another grandchild.  Always encouraging, and not critical – though willing to speak truth.  Really, really good example of providing a place to gather.  Pancakes, ice cream, Jimmy Dean.  Sitting at the table together.  Grandma always directing and loving to direct – involving everyone.  Always coffee ready.  Feeding the dogs – no scrap ever wasted.  Martin, Reba, Sugar.  Patience with little kids.  Porch swing.  Hanging laundry on the back porch while looking at Mt Rainer.  Wedding reception. (Tracey)

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I spent my first night home in Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom at the log-house. Just remember being there.  How the kitchen looked.  How I spilled flour all over the floor while making ranger cookies with grandma.  Sitting in the gazebo talking. Grandpa asking me if I killed bunnies to make my funny fuzzy slippers!  Grandpa introducing me to Calvin and Hobbs and getting to go to the upstairs bedroom to read.  The smell of the house – berries and oatmeal soap. (Maizey)

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I also spent my first night home in Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom at the log-house.  Grandma’s cookies and the giant punch bowl.  Family gatherings.  Dogs.  Sitting outside and talking in Sumner.  Definitely remember cookies! (Annie)

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Sitting and talking in the gazebo.  Showing Gus and I all his knives in the shop.  Bike riding and walks.  The Freeze and the Bike Shop.  Remember Grandpa holding me by the arm, and wow – strong.  Showing me the boom truck and pretending I was driving. (Buddy)

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My first pocketknife sitting in the backroom in Sumner house.  Taught me how to light a match – didn’t work, and then dumped the whole wet pile in the fire.  Walked to the mailbox together at log house – ant hills and all.  Take me on a tractor ride, walks to the sand pit for a bike ride where my legs were too short to be any good at it.  Taught me how to organize the silverware. (Gus)

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As time went by Dad couldn't get up and down the spiral staircase of the log house the way he used to do to start the fire every morning.  Leaving the log house was a difficult transition for Fred.  But when they saw the little brick house on Lewis Avenue in Sumner – he told Dort “that’s it!”  Life in Sumner took on a new slower pace – breakfast with Dort at the Berryland café and the Poodle Dog were real joys for the two of them.

When Mom passed away four years ago we found out how limited Dad had become. Dialing the phone, using the microwave, remembering appointments, and driving...driving he could do with Dort, but without her he would get lost. The Fred we kids knew as Dad slipped away bit by bit, visit by visit. Care for him increased after mom's death until we were providing round the clock care at the house. It was necessary to seek help and we were blessed to find Memory Haven in Sumner only a few blocks from the folk's house on Lewis Avenue.  There he was cared for by angels until he passed away May 1, 2020.

Fred was devoted to his faith, family, friends and forestry, he mentored with passion and he loved quietly.

             

Addendum

From Grandpa to Grandson - Fred’s story as he told it to one of his grandchildren.  In 2004, grandson Alex had the opportunity to interview his grandpa Fred for a school project.  Here’s the notes from that interview as transcribed by Alex:

Fred Hart eventually became my grandpa.  Following is a description of some of his life, a very interesting life, as told to me during December of 2004:

Fred Hart was born to Clem and Olive on July 12, 1929 in Eugene, Oregon.  When Fred was a child, his father Clem was a construction worker operating heavy equipment and his family traveled with his vocation.  They lived in a tent so moving was very easy.  The first move Fred can remember was to Montana where he lived in a cabin by a lake.  He has other memories in Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Grand Coulee where his father worked on the dams.  Throughout his life he moved over fourteen times.

When Fred was a child, he enjoyed making balsa wood airplanes which he was never satisfied with.  He started designing his own and deciding how to power them.  He also enjoyed building soap-box derby racers out of old wagons and barrels with friends.

Fred had a brother and a sister who he did not play with much.  His younger brother was sickly and his sister had other interests.  When the weather kept Fred in, he like to play board games.  His favorite was Chinese checkers.  The first radio he listened to was when he was eight years old.  He and his dad would go to the neighbors to listen to the fights.  There were no transistors yet and tube radios were far too expensive to keep running.  The tubes were expensive.

On holidays if they had money, they would go to his grandmothers who lived in Wenatchee for big dinners.  On birthdays they would have a cake and a couple small presents like new clothes.  Major presents then were sleds or wagons.  He did not know other family.  He had met his cousins once as a young child but did not meet them again until after he was married.

As a kid Fred wanted to be a pilot and now looking back on his life he would have learned to fly and buy a plane.  He lived in the woods most of the time (in a tent) and loved to observe things.

As a kid he worked to help support his family.  His first independent job was selling papers for the Seattle PI.  He stocked grocery store shelves for 25 cents an hour.  He worked at restaurants cleaning dishes and also worked in a meat market during World War II.  He loved all of his jobs.

When he was older he hauled wood and animals to auctions.  His first job in the woods was cutting logs after they were felled.  He did this for about a year and a half before quitting because he wanted to go elk hunting.  Fred started school in Cle Elum and liked math and science.  He disliked English and writing but over time writing grew on him.  He started college but didn’t like it and dropped out.  He was offered a job with the State of Washington making maps of the woods.  He was satisfied with his education.

He grew up in a very diverse religious family.  His dad was protestant, his mom was Mormon and he was being raised Presbyterian.  When he met Dorothea Anderson, his future wife, he became a Lutheran and stayed that for 50 years.  He met Dorothea through her brother.  He and the brother worked together.  Fred and Dort married when he was nineteen.

WWII made a big impression on Fred.  As soon as the sun went down you had to cover all the windows so there was no light showing around the city to be seen.  You could only buy one pair of shoes a year and you needed both money and a coupon.  Sugar was rationed and his dad raised bees so they could use something else to sweeten food.  Meat was also rationed and you had to pay and give up enough coupons.  There were no rubber soles for your shoes.  People had cloth shoes with leather soles.  Every piece of rubber had to be saved: rubber bands, balloons, tires.  Everyone took their rubber and piled it in a central place in town to be collected for the war effort.  The same was true for copper, aluminum, and iron.  Kids gave up their wagons to make trucks for the army.  Tires were rare and usually covered in patches.  The patches had patches.  Once Fred’s father bought a couple of old cars merely for the tires.

During the war, his father worked bulldozing an airfield so their family got specials coupons for helping in the war effort.  When Fred was a child you could never drive over 35 miles an hour.  This was to conserve rubber and gasoline.  Fred was unable to serve in any wars because of his age.  He enlisted in the Navy but the day before he was to start, the war ended.  The navy board told him to go home because they didn’t need him anymore when he reported the next day.

It was great after the war because there was freedom to buy without coupons!  Also, lots of things were discovered during the war and then were converted for peace-time use.  Civilians had synthetic rubber available to them for one thing.

Fred always has had and does have a very conservative view on politics.  He votes regularly and enjoys doing so.  He worked for politicians when he was a forester for many years.  Since he retired from his job, he was elected as fire commissioner for Fire District #12.

Qualities I admire in Grandpa Fred and would like in myself are:

Work ethic.  He always worked at a job and seemed to really enjoy working.

  Grandpa is interested in people and likes to help them.

Positive attitude.  Fred saw the moving 14 times as a chance to get to know people, not as a bad thing in his life.

  Grandpa is a great woodworker and I admire his skill.

Alexander Hart, January 2005

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