Amherst Magazine

Burton David Fretz '62

Submitted by Craig H. Morgan

From The Olio

2621 College Ave., North Newton, Kansas
Prepared at Newton High School
Phi Delta Sigma, Vice President
Sailing Club, IRO,
STUDENT, Assistant Managing Editor

Burton David Fretz '62 died April 5, 2001.
(view alumni profile - Log-in required)

In Memory

When next we don our purple jackets and stand around the bonfire to sing praises of Amherst heroes, let us save one verse for Burt Fretz. Although you will not find his photograph hanging in the Alumni gymnasium, or mark him as one of the leaders in campus activities, our Mennonite Warrior was a soldier "loyal and true" in is career, with his family, and in his devotion to "the Fairest College".

Those who knew him well will forever remember his gentle spirit, his kindly words, his wry sense of humor and his steadfast devotion to his brothers of Phi Delta Sigma. Those qualities served him well in life, first as a public servant who dedicated his legal talents to defense of the rights of minorities, including leadership of the National Senior Citizen Law Center and before that with the Legal Services Corporation, next as a loving and steadfast husband and father, and lastly as a committed supporter of Amherst College and the dedication to excellence that it continues to uphold.

With due respect to Anne, one anecdote from our college days captures for me all the qualities that made Burt a special human being. At one low moment of their courtship, Burt found himself in Anne's proverbial doghouse, and Burt, being Burt, set about to make things right...immediately. Memory fails to serve whether the incident in question had any relationship to the customary Saturday evening activities, but suffice it to say that Burt delivered himself to Anne's dormitory at Mount Holyoke, demanded to see her and when he was refused, charged upstairs to plead his case in person. Now remember that this was the early sixties and men were not allowed above the first floor of a Mount Holyoke dorm under any circumstances. Needless to say, Burt's foray was a major scandal for the dorm, a source of great embarrassment for Anne, and a further deepening of the do-do in which Burt was mired. Bur our hero was not through yet. Anne's birthday was a few days off, and Burt resolved to bake her a birthday cake. Now again remember that this was the early sixties and fraternity houses were not generally stocked with cooking equipment. Undaunted, Burt resolved to bake Anne's birthday cake on the radiator in his room, which he did, and in due course presented it to her. It must have been appropriate atonement because Burt and Anne enjoyed thirty-four wonder years of marriage afterwards!

Burt passed away April 8, 2001, of leukemia at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. He leaves his wife Anne (Holyoke '64) and two children, Nathaniel and Rachel, along with his parents and siblings.



Link to National Senior Citizens Law Center In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Burton D. Fretz 1940-2001