Fred Russell Spages

June 2, 1944 - August 8, 2023
Fred Russell Spages

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Fred Russell Spages (79) passed from this earth on August 8, 2023 in New Port Richey, Florida from cardiac failure. He was born June 2, 1944 in Paterson, New Jersey to the late Ferdinand and Edna (Russell) Spages.. He grew up in Hawthorne, New Jersey attending Roosevelt Elementary School and Hawthorne High School. Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Air Force where he served four years in the Strategic Air Command as an in-flight maintenance technician on B52 aircraft deployed out of Kincheloe Air Force Base, Michigan.
After finishing his service time, he was employed by New Jersey Bell and enrolled in a four-year program at RCA Institute for the study of industrial electronics. Fred was employed by the phone company through several transitions of names from Bell Telephone, Bell Atlantic, to Verizon Communications. He served as president of the Telephone Pioneers community service organization.  He retired at the age of 47 from the position of engineer, systems analyst, manager. He went on to start his own companies, Tel’lectric – installing and repairing home telephone equipment and cable TV, Gemini LLC – sales of telephone central office equipment and Gemini Property Management of 15 housing units in Port Jervis, New York. He finally fully retired ten years later.
Fred, along with his wife, were very active in the community donating thousand of hours of volunteer service to help others. He was a member of the Sussex Warren Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol 29081 achieving the rank of Captain. He helped train youth in military customs and courtesies, outdoor survival skills, aerospace education, and search and rescue missions skills. In addition, he provided logistics support for many NJ Wing summer encampments.
As a 10 year member of the Girl Scouts, he helped girls learn outdoor survival skills and did numerous camp improvement projects for which he received a Girl Scout Appreciation plaque.
When he volunteered for the American Red Cross, Fred served at blood drives, helped staff shelters during emergencies, installed smoke alarms in homes in poor neighborhoods, delivered food via emergency response vehicles to people in disaster areas, educated the public on disaster preparedness and, most notably, served veterans in Veterans Administration facilities and received a Veterans Volunteer Award from the Red Cross for his service. He was a member for 11 years.
Fred volunteered for the Sussex County Medical Reserve Corps where he supported medical emergencies in the county by setting up shelters, provided crowd control at immunization centers and doing essential paperwork.
Gardening was one of his interests and he expanded that pleasure by joining a local community garden where he volunteered his time to help build a high tunnel, weed, put up fencing, repair picnic tables and work fundraising events to build raised gardens for people in wheelchairs.  The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was his longest volunteer activity having been a member for 52 years. He was a Trustee at the Hawthorne Elks Lodge, Exalted Ruler at the Sussex Lodge, and District Veterans Chair. He held several committee chair positions while a member of the Hackettstown Lodge and was a Trustee at the New Port Richey Lodge. He served in several volunteer capacities from being House Chair, Veterans Committee Chair, to cooking in the kitchen. He was named Elk of the Year and recognized by (national) Grand Lodge as the New Jersey Veteran Volunteer of the Year, two Outstanding Service Commendations and a  Making a Difference Special Citation. As an Elk, Fred formed an alliance with Home Depot to facilitate four large grant projects to support veterans in need and, as a result, Home Depot  honored him with two awards for his service.
Singing always was a big part of Fred’s life having sung in the high school chorus and being selected for the All-State and All-Eastern Choruses. He sang many solos in school and in church. He continued singing as a member of the Sussex County High Point Harmonizers Barbershop Chorus as a bass in 1981. The group named him Barbershopper of the Year. Singing with his quartet Forever Yours was his favorite barbershop activity. The quartet won an award in the district competition as the Best Novice Quartet. When he moved to Florida in 2021, he joined the Hernando Harmonizers and continued to his end singing his last song with a quartet while in the hospital. God has another bass in His choir Fred met his wife, Carol Lee (Meyer) the last class of the first day of high school in 1958. He sat behind her and pulled her ponytail. Ten days later he asked her to go steady and they were in a relationship ever since. Together, they faced life’s challenges and celebrated its joys, creating a strong and enduring bond built on love and mutual support having celebrated 55 years of marriage May 25.

He leaves behind a daughter, Tracie Lynn (Johnston) of Delaware, two grandchildren, Carrie Ann Hawk of Pennsylvania, Paul Johnston Starling of Florida, two great-grandchildren, Mavis Jane Hawk and Thomas William Starling and his sisters Linda Green and Ellen Sheehan. He also leaves behind a multitude of family members and friends who will forever hold him close in their hearts.  Fred leaves a void that will be deeply felt by his loved ones and friends. His memory will forever be cherished by all whose lives he touched. Though he is no longer with us, his kindness, wisdom, and the love he shared will continue to inspire and guide us. May he rest in eternal peace, knowing that he made a lasting impact on the lives of those he loved and  everyone fortunate enough to have known him.
There will be a Celebration of Life at a later date to which family and friends will be invited. To honor his memory, donations are encouraged for submission to Tunnel to Towers in is name.

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  • March 28, 2024
    Eileen Eiserle says:
    Fred was an amazing man. I was fortunate enough to meet up with him at the community garden in North Jersey. We worked together on some projects around the farm. He was so kind. I enjoyed getting to know him and working with him. When I was a child my mother was a Girl Scout leader and worked with Carol and my sister went to school with Tracy. Small world. Rest in Peace

  • September 20, 2023
    Peter Petracco says:
    Fred, sang with me for many years " Forever Yours" Barbershop Quartet. He was one of my best friends and I was thrilled that he moved to Florida and we could sing together as we did in the past. I miss him dearly and nothing will ever fill the void that is in my heart. Rest in peace my friend!

  • August 14, 2023
    Linda Gordy. Niece says:
    You were a great man and my favorite Uncle. I will cherish my memories of you. Luv you.