Deceased August 17, 1988
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One should not judge a person from an Olio candid, but when it is as memorable as the photo of Fred Estey seated on a Beta barstool, shirt open, mouth too, in a laugh that exposes the famous gap where incisors used to be, you’ve got an image that has to be reckoned with. Clearly this was not the whole Fred.
Born November 13, 1938, Fred came to Amherst a graduate of Governor Dummer Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts, a place 30 miles north of Boston. His family home was in Norwood, south of Boston. In between, in a place that Fred liked to call Waban-a-village-of-Newton, lived Martha Frederickson. By 1957, Martha and Fred were a couple. All through Fred’s college years Martha, driving to see him from the city, or later from Wells College, became a familiar visitor on campus, as did her red Thunderbird. On one of those visits Martha’s father and two of her brothers came to watch Fred play hockey. That was the day he lost his front teeth to a hockey stick.
“Fred was a very good defenseman on the hockey team,” Ike Twombly remembers.” He played like a real hockey player and looked like one with those teeth missing. Fred, David Cruickshank [’62] and I used to train during the hockey season down at the Belchertown Townhouse on their bowling machine. Sliding the lead puck down the bowling alley while keeping hydrated helped our hand eye coordination on the rink handling a rubber hockey puck. I don't think that coach Red Richardson liked our approach for staying in shape.”
Off the rink and outside taprooms, Fred was often perceived as quiet and reserved, even shy, though he made good friends among his Beta brothers. Dolfo Muñoz and Al Greenbam, especially, kept in touch with Fred and Martha in later years.
After Fred graduated from Amherst with a degree in economics, he wanted to experience a different part of the country. He chose to attend law school at Stanford., where he graduated in 1964. By that time he had decided he liked California well enough to want to live and practice there. There remained one bit of eastern business to take care of—a wedding. He and Martha were married, with Sr. Muñoz serving as best man. They then moved to Woodland, California, where Fred had found employment with a local firm. In due course the firm became Rodegerdts, Means, Northrup, and Estey. Fred’s specialties were probate, estate planning, taxation, and corporate law. The California outdoors appealed to Fred and he joined organizations that took him way beyond the hockey rink: the Yolo Fliers Club, Ducks Unlimited, and the Stanford Bucks Club. He continued his professional and social interests, including the several bar associations one is expected to belong to, but also the Sutter Club, the Woodland Elks Lodge, and the Woodland Rotary Club. Fred was also vice president of the Yolo County Family Service Agency.
Whenever Dolfo’s business travel took him to San Francisco, he would round up Al Greenbaum, sometimes some other Amherst friends, and arrange a rendezvous with Fred and Martha, either in the city or at their Woodland home. It was a pleasant existence, but Fred began to experience health problems that made such encounters and in general less carefree. Dolfo reports Fred suffering a bout with meningitis sometime before he was diagnosed with cancer in December 1987, which proved fatal for Fred the following August 17.
Martha continued to live in Woodland for a while, in part because her sister Barbara lived nearby, having married a friend of the Esteys whom she had met on a visit to them. Eventually, though, Martha returned to the East to be near other relatives. She now resides in Delray, Florida.