Fred Richard Hamilton April 4, 1914 - August 4, 2011 Fred, a Gardena resident for more than 60 years, passed away surrounded by his children after a brief fight with cancer. After 97 years he has gone home to be with his loving Savior. His family drove to California in Model T Fords loaded with all their earthly belongings, from his birthplace of Texhoma, Oklahoma, in 1923. He graduated from Narbonne High and worked for the Gumm family in their theater as a projectionist. While there, he became friends with their daughter Judy Gumm, who later became the star known as Judy Garland. He joined the war effort in 1943 as a radio operator / top turret gunner in a B-24 bomber with the 455th Bomb Group operating in the European Theater. While in the Army Air Corps, he met his future wife of 64 years, Carolyn Schneider. After WWII ended he returned to Douglas Aircraft and later worked for TRW Systems. Fred was instrumental in the early years of the space race with cutting edge design and fabrication of guidance systems for satellites such as the OGO, Vela and Nimbus. Fred was an award winning wine and champagne maker. He enjoyed golf, was involved in scouting, and was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Gardena. He single handedly built five houses in Gardena while still working a full time job. At the young age of 81 he joined his son and son-in-law and began racing his Buick Regal sedan, the "Sunday-go-to-meeting" car with the Alfa Romeo Owners of Southern California. He competed for the rest of his life, known to most as "Fast Freddy". Fred is survived by his loving children; daughter Rebecca Smith (Phillip, Jr.) of Indio, CA; daughter, Nanette (Paul Ellis) of Arroyo Grande, CA; and son, Steven (Cathy) of Torrance, CA. He is also survived by his precious grandchildren; Phillip Smith III (Lisa); Sean Hamilton; and Allison Hamilton. He also leaves behind many in-laws, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Carolyn, his parents, four brothers and two sisters. A public viewing will be held on Saturday, August 13, 2011, at McMillan & McCormick Mortuary, 1016 W. 164 St, Gardena, CA, 90247, from 4:00 to 6:00pm. Reception and memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 14, 2011, at First Presbyterian Church of Gardena, 1957 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena, CA, 90247, at 11am. At the family's request, flowers and donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Gardena.

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  1. Fred was truly a friend. We battled grief together by sitting next to each other in church after Carolyn passed away. I had lost my dad four years ago, and the grief is difficult to handle. Fred was like my dad, as he held my hand during the Our Father prayer, and he joked with me about being late, and he complimented me on who I am. We would joke around about not getting a ticket because there is a camera light right in front of the church. I told him not to drive 125 mph through the camera or else smile for your picture! He truly inspired me to be free of guilt about my dad’s passing, and the songs we would sing turned into what felt like positive connections to those who had passed away. It was such an honor to sit with Fred and to worship God with him. He is always in my heart. -Lee

  2. We shared many hours and miles walking on golf courses far and wide while following our favorite PGA Pro. I had a bad leg one year and the people running the tournament furnished small electric scooters for those needing one. I got one and came rolling along toward Fred. He took one look and asked, “Do you think they would give one to me?” I replied, “Fred, you’re 86 years old and they’ll give you one.” We had a glorious time running all over Inverness G.C. all week! We will miss him a great deal. I agree wholeheartedly that he is so pleased to be reunited with his beloved Carolyn. God blessed us by allowing us to spend time with such a wonderful man!

  3. To the Family…May the memories of Mr Hamilton and the special times you shared be of comfort to all of you now and in the days ahead. We will certainly miss his presence and wonderful smile… Del Amo Staff

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