Frank Fredrick “Fred” Fague Junior passed away peacefully with family by his side on May 14, 2022, at the age of 80. Fred was born Dec. 16, 1941, in Portland, Oregon. He soon had a younger brother and sister, and they kept busy with family and hobbies. Fred attended Wilson High School (Class of 1959) and became an accomplished swimmer and equestrian. He competed in dressage and jumping events with appaloosa Skypilot and together they won many awards. He enjoyed a lifelong love of cars, especially fast red ones, and was an excellent mechanic. He saw cars as moving works of art and enjoyed seeing them well-maintained.
In 1961, Fred enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became an aviation machinist’s mate and then a plane captain in Naval Fighter Squadron VF-143, which flew the F-4 Phantom II, both of which earned a special place in his heart. He deployed during the Vietnam War with VF-143 aboard aircraft carriers Constellation and Ranger and became good friends with the aircrews whose planes he maintained. He tried to describe the thrill of his experiences riding in the back seat of a Phantom: catapulting off the flight deck with full afterburners (zero to 165 mph in two seconds), flying very high and fast, then finishing with the controlled crash and sudden stop of a landing (150 mph to zero, also in two seconds) on a pitching and rolling aircraft carrier deck. There was nothing like it.
Fred returned to Portland in 1965 and soon fell in love, married, and started a family. In 1973, he moved his young family to rural Clark County, where he had fond memories of childhood summers with his grandparents.
Fred thrived on challenges and enjoyed many exciting jobs throughout his life. A few of his early favorites included charter fishing on the Oregon Coast and teaching at an equestrian center in rural Washington County. He later drove short-haul and long-haul commercial trucks and then moved to the logging industry, where he learned to operate many kinds of specialized equipment and vehicles. He especially enjoyed the challenge and excitement of driving log trucks in all conditions and they quickly became his favorites. While in the logging industry, he spent many years working near Mount St. Helens, even inside the “red zone,” both before and after the historic 1980 eruption.
Fred then transitioned to a new career that combined his knowledge of the trucking industry with his mechanical expertise and natural interest in helping others when he accepted a position in commercial vehicle enforcement for the Washington State Patrol. He felt that public service was a calling, and for the next 30 years, he took great pride in the everyday work of improving traffic safety throughout Southwest Washington, for which he and his detachment received numerous awards. After retiring, he worked part-time providing security at the Washington State University Vancouver campus.
In his free time, Fred loved car shows, competitive shooting, movie marathons, Tom Clancy novels, long talks with friends old and new, meandering drives in the country, daily walks, and keeping in touch with family and friends on his iPhone, usually with a cat on his lap. Fred was a generous and loyal friend who enjoyed helping others. He believed in doing things right the first time. He was a connoisseur of great hamburgers, never said no to a free cup of coffee, opened doors for strangers, and made a point of getting to know everyone by name. And of course, he loved his family, was very proud of his children, and absolutely adored his granddaughters.
Fred spent his final years in assisted living where his friendliness, wit and stories made a positive impact in the lives of those around him. Despite everything, he had a quick and easy smile, a gracious “thank you,” and thumbs up or a wave to brighten someone else’s day. We are forever grateful for the exceptional kindness and care he received from the amazing staff at Brookdale Vancouver Stonebridge, Eden Home Health, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center and Providence Hospice Services.
Fred was preceded in death by his beloved tabby cat Emma, parents Norma and Frank Fague Senior, brother Anthony “Tony” Ronald Fague, and many dear friends. Fred is survived by his son Scott Fague, daughter-in-law Erica, and granddaughters Charlotte and Daphne of Marysville, Washington; daughter Brenda (Fague) Tryon and son-in-law Daryl of Vancouver, Washington; sister Sherry (Fague) Dortland and niece Wendi Dortland, both of Corvallis, Oregon; and many cousins and loved ones. He will be interred at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a local nonprofit to support the rescue and adoption of companion pets. Fred loved animals and wanted them all to be loved in return.
The world is not as bright without his warm smile, contagious laughter and long conversations. We will remember him always and miss him forever. We love you to the moon and back Papa Fred.
Memories to honor Fred’s life and legacy may be shared on the Tribute page at evergreenmemorialgardens.com.