Animals Pets 12

Frederick Samuel Sterns

December 13, 1928 ~ February 9, 2022 (age 93)

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Obituary

FREDERICK S. STERNS 1928-2022

Frederick S. Sterns passed away peacefully on February 9 2022 at Brookdale Sakonnet Bay in Tiverton, RI. He was in his 94th year and had only recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, which progressed very quickly.

Fred was born on December 13 1928 in St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford to Dr. Albert H. Sterns and Marion Sterns. He was the first of three boys, and he is survived by both of his younger brothers, Warren (Carol) of Monument Beach, MA and Robert (Judith) of Dartmouth, MA. Fred was always proud of having graduated from Harrington School. He went on to New Bedford High School, where he was active in the ROTC and was a member of the Student Council. He also joined a professional big band, the George Ladino Orchestra, which played regularly at local clubs and events. Fred played the clarinet and saxophone and even as a teenager he was a fast and accurate sight reader.

During his summer vacations, Fred worked for the Martha’s Vineyard Steamship Authority, a job he loved. After graduating high school in 1946, he went to Tufts University in Boston for his Bachelor’s degree. He then spent a year working as a substitute teacher before completing a law degree at Harvard University. During his time in Boston, he often played bridge and it was there that he met Ann Shela Kaufmann, who was studying to be a dental hygienist. Ann was also from New Bedford, and the two of them were married August 8 1953.

Fred began his law career in private practice. By 1958, he and Ann had two children (Ilene and Cathy). They moved to Maryland and Fred began a new job with the U.S. Department of Justice. He soon became General Counsel for the Office of the Navy. He stayed with the Navy, as a civilian, for the rest of his career. Fred retired in 1994 as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and the Environment. Some of his career highlights include a stint at the National War College and receiving the Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

As a young man, Fred joined the Massachusetts National Guard and moved from there to the Maryland National Guard. He was well respected as an artillery officer and he enjoyed army life. In 1964, he received an Honorable Discharge as a Captain from the US Army.

Fred’s hobbies and interests ranged from jazz and international cuisine to pai gow, a Chinese casino game. He loved sports cars and motorsports. He also enjoyed flying and qualified as a private pilot. Fred travelled widely, for business as well as pleasure, and was proud to have visited 52 countries. As an animal lover, some of his favorite trips were to East Africa. His great love of wildlife led him to support many animal charities. Fred always said that his favorite job was serving as a volunteer keeper on the Africa Trail at the Washington National Zoo. He also loved cats and adopted two rescue cats, who brought him much joy.

As Fred approached retirement, he took up music again after a gap of many years. He attended Jazz Vermont, where he re-established contacts in the music world and made new friends. He went on to play bass clarinet and other woodwind instruments in a number of bands and orchestras including the City of Fairfax Band.

After living in the Washington, DC area for more than 50 years, Fred returned to Massachusetts to spend the last seven years of his life living happily in a cottage at The Pinehills in Plymouth, close to his family. During his long life he made many friends and they all use the same words to describe him: loyal, kind, generous and a real gentleman. They also loved his sense of humor, as well as his wonderful stories and anecdotes.

Fred is survived by his daughter, Ilene, and her husband, Phil Atkin, of Upper Minety, England, as well as his brothers, their wives, their children and grandchildren. He had a special place in his heart for his niece and nephew, Gerri and Jon Sterns, of East Freetown, MA. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

In lieu of flowers, Fred has requested donations to his favorite environmental education charity, EARTH Ltd at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA.

Private services will be held at a later date.

 

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