25 October 2012

A Tragic Loss of a Young Life

Source:  Manistee News Advocate-Manistee Daily Advocate, (Manistee, Manistee, Michigan), 26 October 1963, Front page headline and column 8, microfilm owned by Manistee Public Library, Manistee Michigan; Manistee County Historical Museum, Manistee, Michigan.
Brethren Boy, 15, Killed Under Tractor

Michael Fredericks, a 15 year old Kaleva Norman Dickson High School Freshman was killed last night when he and three classmates who arrived early for a Freshman hayride unhooked a tractor from the wagon and rode on it back of the school. The tractor overturned pinning Fredericks under it. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Robert Fredericks of Coates Hwy., Brethren.
State Police said Fredericks and three classmates were riding on the tractor at approximately 6:30 p.m. when it rolled over. They said Bert E. Clements, 15 Route One, Brethren, said he was driving the tractor and that somebody grabbed the wheel, causing it to turn sharply.
He told State Police that the next thing he knew the tractor 'flipped' over and Michael was pinned underneath. He said he did not know who had grabbed the wheel and State Police said none of the other boys knew either. Police said they believed the tractor was moving at a fairly fast rate of speed for a tractor and that when the wheel was turned it went all the way around, causing the tractor to roll over.
The others managed to get clear, but Michael was pinned underneath with the tractor upside down on top of him. The other boys said he was alive for a while, but they were unable to get him out.
A wrecker was called from Onekama and it lifted the tractor off the victim so he could be pulled free.
The other two boys on the tractor besides the driver and Fredericks were Lawrence Lempke and Anthony Skocelas, both 15 and both of Route Two, Wellston.
The tractor is owned by John Urka, Route One, Brethren.
The hayride was to have started at 7:30 p.m.
State Police are continuing to investigate the accident.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church of Onekama with Rev. E. A. Mueckler officiating and burial will be in Brethren Cemetery.
The body will be taken from Terwilliger Funeral Home in Kaleva at noon Monday to lie in state at the church until time of service.
Michael Fay was born March 27, 1948 in Manistee, and besides his parents, he is survived by three sisters; Julie, a student at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Lori and JoEllen, both at home; two brothers, Robert and Steve, both at home; and four grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Nelson of Onekama and Mr. and Mrs. Otto Fredericks of Brethren.

Today marks the 49th anniversary of Michael's death.  I wanted to memorialize Michael, but didn't want to add any pain to his brothers and sisters who are still living.  I emailed his sisters and the one who replied said she was okay with it.  She asked for a copy of his obituary and I sent it to her.

Brethren, Michigan is a very small four corner type of town.  I can imagine the shock that must have went through the town and school community.  Michael was a freshman and had his whole life ahead of him. 

My thoughts and prayers are with his three sisters, and two brothers and numerous nieces and nephews as they remember Michael, today. 

1 comment:

  1. It's always tough when a young family member dies. Luckily with today's knowledge and medicine many diseases which claimed young peoples live a long time ago are no longer a threat.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets