Frederick George DeMien, a longtime resident of St. Charles, Ill., died Oct. 16, 2012, at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, IL. He was 90. Fred was born Jan. 16, 1922, in LaPorte, Ind., the fourth of George and Celia (nee Yocum) DeMien’s eight children.
He grew up on farms in Indiana and later Philip, S.D., a tiny town with no paved roads. In Indiana he attended a one-room schoolhouse during the depths of the Great Depression. In South Dakota, he rode a horse to school, took care of cattle and learned to catch rattlesnakes. He graduated from Philip High School in 1940.
After a chance meeting with his future wife, Helen Pfeiffer, Fred quickly followed up with two dates (one for dinner and one roller skating) before he entered the service.
The couple married Oct. 5, 1943, at the First Presbyterian Church in Rochester, Ind. Their wedding reception was held a few days later at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles. A week after their wedding, the couple moved briefly to the University of New Hampshire where Fred was a student and then Virginia where he was stationed with the U.S. Army before being sent overseas to combat in France, Belgium and Germany. He served with Company “K” of the 311th Timberwolf Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division. He once earned a three-day pass personally from Gen. George S. Patton after being singled out during a troop inspection.
Fred and Helen’s son, Ronald, was born in Indiana while Fred was listed as Missing in Action in Germany. Eventually the Red Cross was able to locate Fred with his unit to share the news. After the war, the couple settled permanently in St. Charles, celebrating with the birth of their daughter, Dyana, in 1946. In 1955 the DeMiens built a new home on the west side where they have lived for the past six decades.
For 40 years, Fred worked at Moline Malleable Iron Company in St. Charles, first as a metallurgist and then as superintendent of production and personnel director. He retired in 1986.
Fred also was an elected St. Charles township officer for 29 years, and a lifetime member of the American Legion. Fred and Helen were involved in many other community organizations, including the Baker Memorial Methodist Church and the American Red Cross. Fred enjoyed working outdoors in his yard and gardens, tending apple and pear trees, and maintaining a backyard putting green.
Always quick with a joke, story or song, Fred loved holding babies and never hesitated getting down on the floor to play with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He started each day with a cookie with breakfast (usually oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip). And it was no secret he liked Rice Krispie Treats. He was a philatelist, numismatist, genealogist and also a prolific writer (especially detailing his early life and military career) as well as a speedy typist. His fun and generous spirit will be greatly missed.
Fred is survived by two children, Ronald (Judy) DeMien and Dyana Beeh; three grandchildren, Jenny (Jeff) Banowetz, Mark (Dawn) DeMien and Heidi (Ryan) White; and seven (very lucky) great-grandchildren, Nathan, Aubrie, Grace, Troy, Megan, Brooke and Owen; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Frederick is preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly 69 years, Helen (who passed in July); his sisters, Henrietta Seider, Julia Milkey, and Carroll Alwine; and his brothers, Al, Walter, Gene, and Wally DeMien.
Visitation will be held 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, at Moss-Norris Funeral Home, 100 S. Third Street (three blocks west of the river and one block south of Rt. 64) in St. Charles.
A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, at the funeral home. Interment will follow at Prairie Cemetery in St. Charles.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warrior Project, 230 W Monroe Street, Suite 200. Chicago, IL 60606.