Tonight I am remembering my Great Uncle Fred Hotchkiss as he passed away on Monday morning. Fred was the youngest brother of my Grandma.
I really like this picture of Fred along with my Grandma and her twin brother. They were the three youngest of the family.
My Great Uncle Fred lived far away as I grew up, so I did not get to see him much. However, I have heard many stories about him through the years and was able to spend a little bit of time with him since I moved to California. I have also enjoyed getting to know some of his family better through social media.
About three years ago I was able to visit him where he had moved to near Dallas, Texas and we spent a wonderful afternoon together. See: A Great Uncle Visit
I got to hear some interesting stories about my mother and aunts. He told me that he taught them how to ride bikes and also that he taught my mom to drive.
Also, one of my aunts would take his picture with her while searching for eggs in the hen house and would talk to the hens about her uncle who was in the army.
Great Uncle Fred enlisted in 1948 at the age of 17 just after the end of WWII. He was assigned to the Freedom Train and was able to see all 48 states as the train toured the country displaying the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Fred then saw the world as he served as an Army nurse for 33 years serving in Germany, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Great Uncle Fred could still wear his original uniform when he was in his early 80’s and would wear it to parades and other events.
When I visited him in Texas he told some really interesting stories about his years as a nurse. I felt like I had a special bond with him since I also work in the medical field.
One of the things that I found while looking through some pictures was this short little clipping from a newspaper about an Army Commendation Medal that Fred received for his meritorious service as a clinical specialist in Vietnam.
Here is another picture that I took of Great Uncle Fred. This was from a visit to Petaluma along with my Mother. It was really interesting to hear them talk together about growing up in Iowa. They also shared some interesting family stories.
Plans are being made for a memorial service to be held in or near Petaluma and I am looking forward to seeing some of my cousins. It will be a great time to share stories about the life of a wonderful man who gave so much for his country through the years of his service as an Army nurse.
Great Uncle Fred is one of my family members that I always remember on Veterans Day.