Fred Charles Yoerges of The Villages in Lady Lake, Fla., died April 21, 2016, surrounded by his family at The Villages Hospice House at age 82, after a year-long battle with lung cancer.
Like his wife Dorothy, who passed away four months earlier, Fred was one of a kind. Born in the Bronx, NY, in 1933, Fred graduated from Concordia High School in White Plains and spent two years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of corporal. Shortly thereafter, Fred married the love of his life, Dorothy Whiting Burns, and went to work at Masback Hardware Company, a major hardware distributor once located on Hudson Street in Manhattan.
During the early years of their marriage, Fred and Dot raised their first two children, Karenann and Roger, in eastern Nassau and western Suffolk counties and Fred rose through the ranks at Masback, becoming the company’s top salesman. The family eventually grew by two more children, Jennifer and Christopher, and settled in the rural hamlet of Mattituck on Long Island’s picturesque North Fork.
Fred was the life of every party, including the many that he and Dot hosted, the many more to which they were invited, and even a few that they somehow managed to attend without a formal invitation. He was loved by everyone. Fred’s gregarious nature and remarkable gift of gab led to an exceptionally wide circle of friends from all walks of life, and he made them all feel like they were part of the family. Fred was the center of attention without making any effort to be so. Somehow, the spotlight found him, no matter where he stood.
When Fred retired from the hardware business in his early fifties, he shifted gears and helped Dorothy run her successful fabric, window treatment, and upholstery business, By the Yard, on Mattituck’s fabled Love Lane. When he wasn’t in the store selling fabrics, patterns, or sewing machines, he was installing window coverings in many of eastern Long Island’s finest homes. To Fred, it didn’t matter whether he was selling hardware or herringbone; as long as he was surrounded by genuinely good people, he was in his element.
Above all, Fred thrived when he spent time with his four children, and he was intensely proud and supportive of each of them and their families. At the time of his death, Fred had eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and he loved them all with the same gusto that he brought to all that he did.
Fred was, at bottom, a man who lived by a simple set of values, premised on the notion that we should treat others fairly and with compassion and that we should never take ourselves too seriously. Fred was a genuine role model, evidenced no more clearly than during the final years of his life, during which he quietly defined true love as he cared for his wife’s every need while she suffered from the ravages of dementia. Although he never sought the position, Fred was unquestionably the “Leader of the Band.” All who knew him would agree that our loss will be heaven’s gain, as we imagine him leading chorus upon chorus of his legendary arrangement of “Sweet Caroline” – “hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me . . . touching you.” Rest in peace, Fred.
The family is planning to hold a memorial service followed by a gathering to celebrate the wonderful lives of both Fred and Dorothy Sunday, July 31, 2016, in Mattituck.
This is a paid notice.