Frederick J. Roberts Jr.
March 12, 1932 - November 4, 2019
Frederick “Fred” Roberts, passed away in his Torrance home of 61 years on Monday November 4, 2019 surrounded by loved ones. He was 87.
Fred was born in March of 1932 in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Sheepshead Bay. He was the first of 2 children born to Frederick J. Roberts Sr. and Caroline Roberts during the Great Depression. The family was very fortunate at that time since Fred Sr., took a pay cut in order to keep his job at the Brooklyn Bank and Trust, where he worked at for the previous 8 years. From a young age Fred Jr. did everything he could think of to help bring money into the household, from shining shoes to diving off the pier for coins, to selling newspapers, and working clam bars shucking clams and bussing tables.
He knew at a young age that he wanted to, “do something with planes,” and be involved with aeronautics in the aircraft industry. After graduating from High School, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic during the Korean Conflict. Soon after being discharged from the Marine Corps in 1952, he continued his aeronautical education and received his Diploma and Airman I.D. Card from the U.S Dept. of Commerce Civil Aeronautics Administration on Feb. 25, 1955. Later that year, Fred was hired at American Airlines… at $2.10 hr!
It was during this time that he met his wife to be of over 52 years, Audrey Jane Holznagle, at a dance at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, where they both attended services. Fred and Audrey were married on a light snowy Saturday on January 14, 1956. Their honeymoon was spent driving across the country to Southern California where Fred had been transferred to LAX, with American Airlines. They later settled and bought a house in Torrance, where they raised their two sons, Dale and Glenn. Their middle son, Karl, died in infancy.
Fred was an insatiable reader and a man of many trades and talents. With American Airlines, he was an A&P Aircraft Mechanic, repairing and re-building piston powered aircraft, and later, jet propulsion turbines. He then rose in ranks to Crew Chief, then Avionics/Fleet Inspector. His last years were as a Certified Avionics Welder. He kept the planes in the air, helping to connect MILLIONS of people to their families, loved ones and travel destinations around the world. Away from the hangers, he did everything from maintaining and building car engines, laying concrete, adding additions to his house and garage, running household electrical & plumbing, to repairing and rebuilding firearms… and everything in between. He always said, “If you can read, and comprehend what you’re reading… THAN YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!” That is one of the many traits he passed on to his family and countless friends he made throughout the years… Leading by example.
Fred’s love of shooting and baseball inspired him to pass it on to his sons. Many days, nights and weekends were spent practicing, or competing, at different shooting ranges throughout the state of California and Arizona. Fred was the Range Master, and President of, the Los Angeles Small Bore Gun Club, where it all started for them. The family also spent a great deal of time at the Fre-Way Baseball fields and the batting cages.
With the boys having grown up, Fred and Audrey enjoyed traveling across the U.S. in their 1970 Ford Falcon Wagon. They revisited many of the places they had previously stopped at when they drove across the U.S. on their honeymoon. Of course, they made numerous new stops, destinations and memories along the way. Fred and Audrey fell in love reading about New Zealand, and ended up traveling there numerous times as well, each time touring the island by RV.
Fred’s life was busy and full even after retiring with 39 years from American Airlines in 1994. From building and flying remote control airplanes, to enjoying the Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festivals At Old Town Music Hall with Audrey; to his love of shooting, reloading and rebuilding firearms. He even went back to his other love of Little League Baseball, by becoming a District 27 Umpire. In between all this, Fred and Audrey still found time to travel the county.
Fred will be remembered as a Strict, but Fair; Strong, but Gentle; Honest, Kind, Funny, Hardworking, Diligent, Focused man of Dignity and Honor, that earned RESPECT from all that knew, or came into contact with him. He left numerous lasting positive imprints and impressions on those who knew him… and even those who did not. This world is a lesser place without him in it.
Fred was predeceased by his parents Frederick Sr. & Caroline, his son’s Karl and Dale, and his wife, Audrey, of 52 plus years. He is survived by his brother Alfred; son’s Glenn & Kyle, Daughter Gloria; Grandchildren Rhiannon and Sara and a Great Grandchild, Arianna Alice.
Visitation will be on Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 5:00pm - 9:00pm at:
Lighthouse Memorials & Receptions 901 Torrance Blvd.
A private burial with full military honors will be held at:
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive,
San Diego, CA 92166