In memory of
Fred Gilbert Secrest
SECREST FRED GILBERT aged 94, died peacefully in his home in Dearborn, Michigan, on October 12, 2016, 6 weeks after his loving wife of 72 years, Stephanie Jenkins Secrest. Fred will be remembered most for his warmth and his wit: to his final days he had a smile on his face and an ability to charm those around him and make them laugh. Born in Lakewood, Ohio, Fred was an only child in a loving, extended family. He graduated from Lakewood High School as valedictorian in 1939 and went on to Ohio State. Fred remained a loyal Buckeye fan throughout his life, despite the fact that all five of his children attended the University of Michigan or Michigan State University. In the midst of WWII, Fred left Ohio State early to enroll in an ROTC program at the Harvard Business School. Fred was then stationed for 4 months at Stanford University, where he met his wife-to-be, Stephanie Jenkins. They married on July 29, 1944 and immediately Fred was sent overseas where he served with distinction in both the European and Asian theaters. After two long years, Fred was reunited with his bride at Harvard, receiving his MBA in 1947. In 1948, at age 26, he and Stephanie and their baby, Steve, moved to Dearborn, Michigan. There he launched his career at the Ford Motor Company where he worked as the junior staffer to the "whiz kids" Edward Lundy and Robert McNamara. He enjoyed a story-book career at Ford that propelled him to executive vice president of the company. Throughout his life Fred used his financial talents to assist civic, educational and charity organizations across Michigan. He loved working with colleges and served on the Boards of Michigan Tech University, Alma College and Henry Ford College. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Alma and was named a Director Emeritus of the Henry Ford Community College Foundation. Fred was a co-founder of the Michigan Economic Alliance and set up the financial structure for the Michigan Parkinson's Foundation. He also was a founding member of the Detroit Executive Services Corporation as well as a leader in the First Presbyterian Church of Dearborn and later with the Littlefield Presbyterian Church. Fred was a devoted family man. He was home for dinner with his five children every night and spent countless days with his extended family at their cottage on Walloon Lake. Fred remained active well into his late eighties, enjoying bicycling, kayaking, tennis with the grandchildren and travels with Stephanie and the 'Supper Club.' Known for his open mind, prodigious memory and self-deprecating wit, his children, their families and their friends reveled in his conversation. Above all, Fred adored his beautiful Stephanie. This love shone through during the final years of both of their lives. Fred is survived by his five children, Stephen (Darlene (Blackman)), William (Misty Callies), Daniel (Lily (Menor)), Marion (Arthur Gold) and Fred (Fritz). He spent many happy hours with his four grandchildren, Maryli (Keith Rodgerson) and Lawrence Secrest (Ashle') and David and Zachary Secrest Gold. Fred also had four great-grandchildren, Sean, Chase and Aubrey Secrest and Jasper Rodgerson. Special thanks is sent to the many loving caregivers at Henry Ford Village who took care of Fred and his beloved wife Stephanie in their final years. The Service will be on Saturday, October 22 at 11:00 a.m. at the Chapel, Henry Ford Village in Dearborn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Secrest Professorship of Performing Arts at Alma College, 614 West Superior Street, Alma, MI 48801 or to the charity of your choice. www.howepeterson.com
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