W. Frederick Stevens
SIDNEY — W. Frederick Stevens (Fred) of Sidney, 67, departed this life on Sept. 7, 2013, in Phoenix, Ariz., after a long but frustrated battle with several cancers, complications of exposure to Agent Orange wounds suffered in Vietnam.
Fred was born on 6 Nov. 1945, in Troy, to Marjorie Wendler Stevens (born, 1 May 1915, Watervliet, died, 20 Dec. 2008) and William Parsons Stevens (born, 28 Sept. 1914, Norwich, died, 11 May 2003), both formerly of Sidney, Castleton and Troy.
Fred was predeceased by his parents; his wife, Michelle; and son, Scott.
He is survived by his adopted son, Andrew of Greene; brother, Robert and sister-in-law Carol of Littleton, Mass.; sister, Sue and brother-in-law Robert Larsen of Averill Park; nephew, Mark Larsen of Rochester; niece, Ann Larsen Roberts and husband Jason of Averill Park; nephew, Lawrence and wife Patricia; with grandniece and grandnephew, Natalie and Benjamin of Framingham, Mass.; niece, Stephanie Stevens of Nashua, N.H.; and many cousins.
He grew up in Sidney, graduating from SHS in 1963, attended Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, earned his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Cornell University in 1968, and was drafted then enlisted into the Army in 1968, after a short Professional Boy Scouting tour in Mayville.
He served in the Army Signal Corps in Vietnam (1969 to 1970), where he received two Purple Hearts, Army Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Army Good Conduct Medal and where he earned a USARV Direct Commission from Sergeant to Second Lieutenant in May 1970, was reassigned as a Forward Area Signal Platoon Leader on LZ Bayonet in Americal (23rd Infantry) Division.
Following relief from Active Duty in 1972, he stayed in the Army Reserve Signal Corps until his retirement as Lieutenant Colonel in 1992. He never quite recovered from his Vietnam injuries and suffered from ill health for many years prior to his death.
His civilian occupation as a Wildlife Biologist also ended early in the 1990s, due to his wartime injuries following which he became a dealer in rare coins.
Fred was an active Scout and adult Boy Scouting Volunteer since 1953, throughout his life in Otschodela Council, Oneonta. He earned Eagle Scout Rank in 1961, worked on the staff of Crumhorn Mountain Scout Camp (now Henderson Scout Reservation), Maryland, as a youth (1960 to 1967), and again as an adult in 1983 and 1993 to 2009.
He spent many happy years at camp in various functions from Dining Hall Steward rising to Program, Nature and Field Sports Director. He was also a Professional District Executive in Chautauqua Co. Council (1968), and Susquenango Council (1984 to 1986, Chenango County).
In recent years, he established and ran the Henderson Camp’s Fishing, Radio and Technology Programs and maintained observations on the environmental health of Crumhorn Lake.
As a wildlife biologist, Fred earned his M.S. degree from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1974, after which he was employed by his sponsor, the U.S. National Park Service on San Juan Island, Wash., and the Pacific NW Region where he conducted studies in Alaska, Washington and Oregon.
In 1976, he left the USNPS to establish a wildlife and environmental consulting firm with himself and employees investigating throughout the Pacific NW until 1983, when he relocated to his home state of New York, where he continued his consulting business until he was disabled due to an accident.
As a biologist, he was the North American authority on the European rabbit, an introduced pest species in various parts of North America. His profession and Scouting background made him into a true outdoorsman with expertise in wilderness camping, canoeing, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and an expert wilderness survival specialist which he happily shared with youth, adults and Army personnel.
Fred was also an active Ham radio operator (call sign K2FRD), earning his first license in 1961, and attained the highest license class of Amateur Extra in 2000. He was very active as an Emergency Communications specialist and was activated for duty at Ground Zero shortly after 9/11 and for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, with service in many other regional emergencies across the U.S. He also conducted several long distance Ham radio expeditions from Labrador from where he made thousands of contacts around the world in over 150 countries. He also earned his Canada Ham radio license VO2FS in 2004, and was a devoted member and secretary of the Chenango Valley Amateur Radio Association for many years.
Fred was also an avid model railroad hobbyist and was a fairly competent craftsman kit and scratch builder, modeling the New York Ontario and Western and Unadilla Valley Railroad. As such, he belonged to several historical groups including the NYO&W Historical, Sidney Historical (life member), Guilford Historical and Unadilla Valley Historical Societies.
Family genealogy was also one of Fred’s major interests following in his father’s footsteps and through original research found and documented his great-great-great-grandfather, Caleb Stevens of Ball’s Town (Ballston) of the late 1700s. Direct ancestry traced back to Gov. William Bradford of the Mayflower.
In late 2002, Fred decided he was fed up with the cold upstate New York winters which greatly aggravated his arthritis and war injuries, became a full-time RVer and settled in the SW Arizona desert during winter months, traveled during summer months. As a traveler throughout his life, he visited all 50 states and 11 Canadian Provinces.
Fred will have an immediate burial in his ancestral burial grounds in Maplewood Cemetery in Mount Upton.
A memorial service will be held at noon Oct. 19, 2013, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 25 River St., Sidney, NY 13838
He requests no flowers nor other transient memorials, that all dedication funds in his memory be donated to Otschodela Council, BSA, P.O. Box 1356, Oneonta, NY 13850. Alternatively, memorial funds may be donated to the Chenango Valley Amateur Radio Association, c/o N2CHD, 52 Canal St, Oxford, NY 13830.
Condolences and memories may be shared online at www.landersfh.com.
In final tribute to Fred, he reminds everyone of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem” which seems to fit Fred’s life: “This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be, Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.”