Fred O. Koester, better known as “Fritz” to family and friends, celebrated a century on Sunday, Sept. 2 at a dinner party in the Bowlus Life Enrichment Center at Otterbein-Portage Valley in Pemberville, OH, where he has lived for 6 years.
Centerpieces and flower arrangements for the dinner party were made by Fred’s daughter, Linda Younker. His son, Fred A., presented pocketknives engraved with “Fred O. Koester 100 years” to all the men in attendance, and his daughter, Kay Eberth, made necklaces for all the women.
Children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews traveled from Colorado, Canada, Florida, Tennessee, and Columbus for the occasion.
SouthernCare, Inc. provided a memory book, where many grandchildren and various relatives wrote notes and shared fond memories. SouthernCare Hospice volunteer Sandra Stroshine from Point In Time Photography Studio memorialized the event throughout the evening.
Anthony Frederick and Catherine (Drake) Koester, lived in Michigan when Fred was born in 1912. He was the eldest of three – sister Dorothy Swinghammer and brother Elmer Koester, both now deceased, followed.
They grew up in Toledo and Trenton, Mich., where Fred attended Riverview High School and participated in the band, rowing, and basketball. Fred loved boxing, influenced by his hero, Joe Louis; and at the age of 22 he won the light heavyweight division of the Golden Gloves boxing tournament for the Toledo YMCA.
Fred met and married a young nursing student, Dorothy Myers, from Genoa, in 1940. They had four children, Kay (John) Eberth, of Genoa; Fred A. (Karen) Koester, of Northwood; Linda Younker, of Gibsonburg and Jim (Sue) Koester, of Tennessee. They started their family in East Toledo, and then moved to Genoa in 1955. They were married 40 years before she died, and traveled to California, Alaska, Canada, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Michigan, Tennessee and Illinois together.
Fred worked for the Gulf Oil Company, retiring in 1976 after almost 40 years of service. He also raised Blue Point collies while living on Ottawa River Road in Point Place, Toledo. Later, he began an orchestra called “The Echoes” which played big band music in the Toledo area for many years and he was well known for Cozy Cole’s Topsy Part II drum solo.
He has been a Mason for 67 years. Fred was interested in Colt handguns and knives and participated in many shows in the region. In addition to his hobbies, Fred enjoys Detroit Tigers baseball, Michigan Wolverines football, red cars and perfect Coney Dogs.