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Warrend P. Frederick | 1918-2012

Warrend P. Frederick, music teacher and hospital volunteer, dies


He was born at the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. His mother, who hoped the world would never again have to endure such horror, gave him his unusual first name.

But when he was a young man, Warrend Frederick became a war hero. He fought in two of the bloodiest battles of World War II, the Battle of the Bulge and the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. He was wounded twice and received numerous medals.

He never told anyone about his D-Day injuries. He bandaged the wound and kept fighting. In his memoir, he wrote that after training a year and a half for his job he was determined to get it done. Shrapnel wasn't going to stop him.

Advancing age and declining health eventually did what German artillery couldn't. Mr. Frederick died on New Year's Day (Jan. 1, 2012). He was 93.

He didn't talk much about his war exploits, his sons said. But he remembered them vividly and wrote about them in detail in his memoir, which he worked on for years but forbade his children to read.

"He told us we couldn't read them until after he was gone," his son Bryan Frederick said. "Then finally, just three or four days before he died, he said 'Okay, you can go ahead and read them.' "

The memoir is massive, in three handwritten volumes. The war was a significant but short part of his life story.

For nearly a quarter century, Mr. Frederick was the band and orchestra leader at Wilson Junior High School in South Tampa. Even in recent years, decades after he had retired, former students from Wilson stayed in touch with him. It wasn't unusual for them to say he was the best teacher they ever had, his son Bruce Frederick said.

Mr. Frederick's early life didn't seem to point to a career in education. He grew up very poor on a farm in Wisconsin during the Depression. When he was in 10th grade his parents moved into town to take jobs, and young Mr. Frederick remained alone on the farm, milking cows and feeding a pig every day before he rode off on his bike to catch a bus to school. Authorities soon forced him to move to town with his parents.

He was the first in his family to go to college, and he took jobs to pay his own way. He was a gifted musician and not only played in the Northland College band but held a paid position as an assistant to the band director.

One day he spotted a French horn player named Bonnie. He was immediately attracted to her. They dated through college, wrote love letters through the war and married soon after. They remained together until she died in 2007.

Meanwhile, Mr. Frederick earned a master's degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin. In 1953, the Frederick family, which by then included three children, moved to Tampa. They wanted to get away from the Wisconsin cold, and Mr. Frederick eagerly accepted the job at Wilson.

"We didn't even have a place to stay," Bruce Frederick said. "We stayed at the principal's house. The next day we went out and found a house to rent."

He loved his work at Wilson and never had another full-time job in his life. But he also worked as a professional musician and often played trombone in bands for events around Tampa.

The family lived in Palma Ceia for most of Mr. Frederick's career at Wilson. They moved to Lutz in the early 1970s, and then Mr. Frederick and his wife moved to University Village, where they remained the rest of their lives.

After retirement, Mr. Frederick became a dedicated volunteer at University Community Hospital (now Florida Hospital Tampa) and at James A. Haley VA Medical Center. He put in more than 12,000 hours of volunteer service at the two hospitals. His picture hangs on a wall at the entrance of Florida Hospital, alongside the hospital's most important financial benefactors.

When he wasn't volunteering at a hospital, Mr. Frederick was writing his memoir, which his children estimate took about a decade to complete.

"My father was not one to sit around doing nothing," Bryan Frederick said.

Besides his two sons, Mr. Frederick is survived by his daughter, Linda Shaffer, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

Marty Clear writes life stories about area residents who have recently passed away. He can be reached at

Warrend P. Frederick, music teacher and hospital volunteer, dies 01/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 7, 2012 3:30am]
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