Fred J. Tetreault, 92, of Peotone, passed away peacefully at home on May 2, 2022.
Born February 19, 1930, in Chicago, he was the son of the late Frederick A. and Margaret Grace (Sullivan) Tetreault. Fred married Sharon Krantz on August 25, 1962. They were married for nearly 38 years before her passing in 2000, and he missed her dearly.
Fred enjoyed growing up on Chicago’s south side, graduating from St. Francis DePaula Grammar School in 1944 and Mount Carmel High School in 1948. He remained a devoted alumnus throughout his life.
He also attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. His childhood experience included enduring the Great Depression and World War II, which instilled a desire to not waste anything. He developed a group of neighborhood friends, starting at age five. Remarkably, most of them remained in contact with each other throughout their lives.
Growing up, he had many varied and interesting jobs. Starting when he was about six years old, he took his little red wagon to the local grocery store and carted groceries to shoppers’ apartments. He worked the soda fountain at a drug store, serving up ice cream sodas and other ice cream treats (which he loved throughout his life). He was a Merchant Marine on the Great Lakes ship Robert Hobson, where he narrowly escaped death when the ship’s hull was punctured in an accident. He also worked retail, cab driving, and car repossession. He always said he found each job enjoyable, and he usually had a story, or three, about the interesting people he met there.
Fred became a career journalist and worked for the Harvey Tribune. He was named editor of the Markham Tribune in 1963. In 1971, in order to have a more family-friendly work schedule, he moved to Springfield and began working as a public information officer for the Illinois Department of Conservation. There, he reported for the Department’s magazine, Outdoor Highlights, and wrote many of the Illinois State Parks’ informational brochures. In addition, he drafted speeches on state parks and outdoor topics for Illinois governors from 1971 to 1995. He loved his group of co-workers and enjoyed all the interesting topics he covered, including state parks, fishing reports, and the history of natural resources in Illinois.
He was known as a good writer and tough editor, who was committed to outstanding journalism. His children remember learning proofreading marks from him during their grade school years, when school papers would be full of editorial and helpful remarks from his famous red pen, all in his effort to encourage clear thinking and good writing.
Fred's volunteer involvements were almost endless. He loved people and would help organizations he loved whenever he could. He volunteered at many events and served on various committees at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. He was President of the Cathedral Grade School Parents Club, a Cub Scout leader, coach for St. Aloysius Grade School’s girls' basketball team, member of his 50th high school reunion committee, assistant coach with daughter Aimee when she coached girls' basketball, driver for Meals-on-Wheels, and he volunteered at many other activities throughout his years.
He retired in 1995 and moved to Peotone to help take care of his in-laws. While in Peotone, he worked at the Peotone Vedette for nearly 16 years. He volunteered at his beloved Mount Carmel High School, working on the statistics crew for the freshman football and varsity hockey teams.
In addition to weekly Mass, he also kept attending his wife’s church, the Monee Free Methodist Church, even after her death. He volunteered with the children’s Awana program, and he helped run the church’s coffee cart after services, which combined his love of coffee and snacks with his passion for serving people and engaging in friendly conversation.
Those who knew Fred enjoyed his always-present humor and quick wit. They frequently heard his open-hearted laugh. Fred was a voracious reader, with a wide knowledge of topics from Illinois high school football to current political events. He was difficult to defeat in trivia or word games.
He was always ready for interesting conversations with friends and strangers alike. There was nothing he liked better than to have a meal or coffee with friends and engage in lively conversation about their lives and reminiscing about the great memories they shared.
Fred’s Catholic faith was very important to him. He always made people feel like they were one of the most important people in the world, regardless of their social or economic status. He opened his heart to people easily. When asked about life lessons, he said one thing he learned in life was to give other people the benefit of the doubt.
Fred was a devoted husband, a loving and proud father, a doting and encouraging grandfather, a loyal friend, a noble example of how to live a good life, and a patient, kind, compassionate, grateful, unselfish, easy-going, loving, family man. He made an impact on many lives, usually without fanfare or attention. He was loved by many and will be missed tremendously. (And, hopefully, the grammar in this obit is correct or his red pen will be out.)
He is survived by their three children: Fred (Jeannette) Tetreault of Kankakee, Suzanne (Anthony) Cervantes of Matteson, and Aimee (John) Maxedon of Peotone; eight grandchildren: Nicholas (Jessica), Evan, Daniel (Nikki), Lane, Taylor, and Caedan Cervantes, and Benjamin and Grace Maxedon; one great-granddaughter, Elaina Cervantes; one sister, Jeanne Vinezeano; and many dear nieces and nephews. Family was always of primary importance to Fred.
Visitation will be held from 2-8 p.m., Friday, May 13, at Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home. Visitation will continue at 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Mass on Saturday, May 14, at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Peotone. Fr. Roger D. Kutzner officiating. Share a memory at www.feddehelfrichcrossfh.com
Memorials may be made to the family’s wishes.
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