Frederick Hermann Saavedra was a man who loved his family, church, and God. He passed away on August 14, 2019, surrounded by his beloved family. Born March 9, 1929, to Hermine Scheel and Federico Saavedra in New York City, his parents soon moved to Bremerhaven, Germany to be closer to his mother’s extended family. He always expressed fond memories of his time in Germany with his Opa Scheel.
The family fled Germany in 1935, returning to New York City, where his family grew to include a sister, Hertha, and a brother, Carlo. Fred enjoyed playing on the streets of the city with Johnny Finn and many other friends in the Yorkville neighborhood. Fred attended Seward Park High School and subsequently earned a scholarship to City College to study HVAC engineering. Not afraid of hard work, he delivered refrigerators to city apartments, worked in the Horn & Hardart pie factory, as well as the commissary kitchen for the Automat throughout his college years. After graduating, Fred got a job with Gibbs and Cox, a Naval contractor, designing and repairing HVAC systems on Navy ships, which sparked a great love for the massive ships and America’s military for the remainder of his life.
While in college he began attending the youth group at Marble Collegiate Church where he met the love of his life, Dorothea Whelan. They married in 1952 and started growing their family, Dora Camille, Jennifer Dawn, Martha Eileen, Laura Cecile, Vivian Louise, Frederick-George Cedric, and Anne-Marie Henrietta. Fred and Dorothea tragically lost twin girls shortly after birth in 1958.
Fred obtained a position with Rosenblatt and Sons and moved his growing family to Kendall Park, New Jersey in 1962. However, New Jersey was not to be the family’s permanent home, as the Navy called and he accepted an opportunity with Naval Sea Systems Command in Maryland. It was then that the family moved to Bowie, Maryland.
Fred’s career was satisfying and challenging, but he was also active in his church and community. Fred was part of the team that founded the South Bowie Boys and Girls Club. This team of men and women ensured that South Bowie had a community center and a thriving sports program. One highlight was the enormously successful 1976 multi-state soccer tournament. Fred also contributed by running the concession booth at games and several Independence Day celebrations at Allen Pond.
Fred and Dorothea’s already large family expanded as they were blessed with many grandchildren: Carol, Peter, Andrew, Nicholas, Crystal, Justo, Dirk, Noelle, Amy, Samantha, Miles, Elias, Brianna, Landon, Manni, Christian, Patti, Julian, Levi, and Sofija. Both Fred and Dorothea experienced the joy of adding great-grandchildren: Alicia, Natalie, Michael, Jonathan, Nicodemus, Mya, Victor, Julietta, Icarus, Connor, Ender, Kyleigh, Lillian, Vera, Georgia, Max, and Samara.
During Fred’s tenure at NAVSEA, he traveled the world but was proudest of the Battleship project in the 1980s that was responsible for upgrading and restoring to service the USS Iowa, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Missouri. Fred retired from Federal Civil Service with the Navy in 2001. He loved his work so much, he promptly joined John J. McMullen Associates so he could continue working on the ships he loved. He finally retired in 2008.
In retirement, Fred served with his church on missionary trips to Peru to build facilities for orphans with Scripture Union, as well as many monthly visits to Pennsylvania to work in a United Methodist Mission Central in Mechanicsburg, where he helped to pack school kits, health kits, and flood buckets for disaster relief in the USA and overseas. For many years, Fred served as a trustee at Mt. Oak United Methodist Church. Fred also worked part-time with his long-time friends reupholstering seats for the WMATA at Randy Owen’s shop.
Fred loved history, most especially that of the U.S. Civil War. His library holds many tomes, some contemporary, on the war. He took advantage of his location in the Mid-Atlantic to visit as many Civil War battlefields as possible. In the early 1970s, Fred’s love of history found a hobby sport outlet when he joined the Washington Blue Rifles, a club of the North-South Skirmish Association. He took up the sport of skirmishing enthusiastically. Many weekends were spent on the lines at regional and national skirmishes. Fred’s favorite part of this hobby was that he could bring his wife and children along for camping and costume competition.
Fred was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dorothea, and twin girls, Donna Marie and Laura Celeste. He is survived by his brother and sister, seven children, twenty grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren.
Fred has had a life filled with family, work, and God. He leaves behind a grateful and loving family and many dear friends.
Instead of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to either Mount Oak Fellowship http://www.mtoak.org/, the Michael J Fox Foundation https://www.michaeljfox.org/ or the National Parkinson’s Foundation http://www.parkinson.org/