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Frederick “Fred” Thorpe of Grover Beach, CA went peacefully to be with Jesus on Sunday, October 15, 2023. He was 89. Born May 2, 1934 in Pomona, CA to Louis and Ella Thorpe. He had one very special older sister, Louella Rodriguez, who predeceased him in 2005 while living in Taos, NM.
Fred married his wife of 69 years, Carol Lee Hathaway, on July 4, 1954. They have 2 daughters, Lisa Koerner of Chicago and Allison Wolfson of Los Alamitos, CA and her sons ~ Adam (Brittany and daughter, Layla), Kyle (Melissa and twins, Austin and Jack), and Ryan (Nicole and daughters, Taylor and Hailey).
His family moved to So. Electric Avenue in Alhambra, CA when he was starting school in the early 1940’s. Carol’s family also had moved on the same street at that time and they went through school together, attending Marengo Elementary and Alhambra High School.
Sports ~ As a boy, Fred loved baseball and basketball. In high school, he learned to pitch from a skilled pitcher and excelled as a catcher into his 20’s. Little League was where he coached teams over the years and also was a skilled umpire. (He never lost the visual ability to call ‘em as he saw ‘em!) His young daughters grew up at the little league ballpark and years later, all 3 of his grandsons also played baseball in various positions.
He was a good bowler for many years as an individual and also on teams with friends. Sometimes just for fun with family. Lots of fond memories shared.
His love of fishing started early. Even deep sea fishing with his dad, who took him on charter trips with business clients in San Diego and Newport Beach. After moving to Grover Beach, Fred enjoyed local fishing trips with neighbors; Don Arnett and friend, Mark Stuthard on their boats. Also with Lisa, Allison and his grandsons. Fred still laughingly reminisced about eventful small boat trips many years ago with bricklayer friend, Don Livermore.
A detail person, Fred was very good at making carved designs in leather ~ purses, wallets, scrapbooks, belts, etc. Wonderful gifts! A skill he learned from his favorite teacher, Mr. Dawson, at Alhambra High School in the 1950’s.
Trade ~ Fred started working with his dad’s employer, J.T. Thorpe, Inc., (JTT) Firebrick Construction while in high school. He then graduated from the apprenticeship program at Frank Wiggins Trade School in Los Angeles.
He was highly skilled in large, meticulous industrial settings of furnaces, kilns and critical construction. He held like-tradesmen in high regard.
Bricklayers and tenders came to Grover Beach on a JTT job in 1986 and poured our sidewalks before leaving town! What a blessing!
His brickwork, on the side for us and neighbors, was high quality. Sadly, he had to go out on disability in his late 50’s due to pain incurred from the arduous work over the years.
Fred’s work with JTT often took him out of town with long hours and over weekends. Carol was able to spend occasional long weekends out-of-town with him in other states. She kept in touch with regular letters and cards of love and encouragement ~ enough to fill his armoire drawer.
Hobbies ~ Fred continued his love of vegetable gardening for many years. First in Lakewood Community Gardens and then in his mom’s backyard when she moved next door to us in Lakewood after his dad passed away at 59. We enjoyed Grover Beach Community Gardens for our hobby of raising and showing beautiful irises and in the Lompoc Iris Society. His 15 plots also had room for sweet peas and some veggies and Carol’s extra rose bushes.
During his working years, an extra activity was often metal detecting with his bricklayer friend, Dale Wildey. Their search took them out late evenings on local beaches and parks, as well as assisting others find lost keys, rings, etc. in the sand or grass.
As he got less able to do physical projects, he started going through family old coins and collections, sharing small collections with his grandsons. Seems our parents’ generation thought collecting coins was a good thing.
Faith ~ Fred and Carol were immersed in water baptism in Jesus at Parkcrest Church of Christ in Long Beach in the late 1950’s, as were daughters, Lisa and Allison. Church activities and church family friends are still dear to this day!
Fred took our young daughters on several missionary trips to orphanages in Baja, CA with our Parkcrest Church. He also organized and helped lay 30”-high cement block walls along the church driveways, parking lots and perimeter retaining walls. Still standing to this day.
“Bloom where you are planted!” Our New Life Church family in Pismo Beach are still precious, including Sunday School classes with teacher, Bill Raber, so many years ago. Early on, Fred was able to drive church friends to out-of-town appointments as part of his ministry.
Fred’s pride and joy was his 1984 GMC half-ton pick-up truck with camper shell. It was housed in our garage to protect the beautiful magenta paint job and pinstriping detail. Painful when he could no longer drive. After a number of years, it was sold to an out-of-state collector.
Generous, he never passed up opportunities to help less fortunate ~ coworkers or homeless.
Celebration of Life Service
Sunday, November 12th at 1:00
900 N. Oak Park Blvd., Arroyo Grande
Reception to follow service at the church
Wednesday, November 15th at 11:00
Rose Hills Memorial Park
3888 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier
Reception to follow at Bethel Grace Baptist Church
17909 Carpintero Ave., Bellflower