ESCANABA, Mich. - Frederick Philip Hedberg, of Escanaba, went home in the arms of Jesus on Dec. 31, 2023, at age 89, with family by his side.
Fred was born to (Swedish) Frederick R. Hedberg and (Finnish) Signe W. Hedberg on March 6, 1934, in Woodstock, Illinois.
Fred is survived by his devoted wife, Sheila H. Hedberg (Rice). His three children include, Erick Hedberg, Ellen Frank and Rachel Stone. He is further survived by eight grandchildren, Rebecca Eagle, Breck Frank, Eryk (Abby) Hartmann, Winona Syreini, Johanna Frank, Paul Nelson, Peter Frank and Jacob Stone; his six great-grandchildren, Ava, Anjeini, Lincoln, Saxon, Hayes and a great-grandson on the way. He is also survived by sister, Judy Brach; brother, James (Sharon) Hedberg; and numerous nieces and nephews.
His family moved to his hometown of Bessemer in his early childhood on a back 40 acres notoriously known as "Woodtick Farm." Fred served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years and was able to participate in U.P Honor Flight in 2017 with his daughter Ellen accompanying him.
Fred met his wife, Sheila, at Gogebic Community College. Before attending Michigan State University, they married and later went on to have their three children.
A highlight of this past year was when Fred celebrated 62 years of marriage to his sweetheart, Sheila, in September in the back yard of Pinecrest Medical Care Facility surrounded by their children and grandchildren.
After teaching high school science for nine years in Marinette, Wisconsin, Fred moved his family back to Woodtick Farm in Bessemer, his childhood home he so passionately loved. He built a tree fort and planned some elaborate treasure hunts for his grandchildren on that property. More recently, Fred loved UTV four-wheeling with his wife until he recently moved to Escanaba to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Fred's generosity and humor were evident to all who knew him. His laugh was contagious and he loved his grandchildren more than anything in the world as he included them in every endeavor he pursued. He was always taking home videos of his family every time they gathered. Birdwatching was a favorite activity, as he would teach his grandchildren to hold their hands out to feed the birds.
Fred was passionate about his faith and in recent years enjoyed fellowship at Ford River Community Chapel where he attended with his wife. He loved writing pamphlets to give away on all subjects such as astronomy and interesting Bible facts. He always ended each one with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also cared deeply about preserving his ancestry, creating detailed albums for his children.
Fred was a self-starter, an entrepreneur, a man with ideas and plans. After teaching in the public schools and among other pursuits, he was Director for CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) of the south-central U.P., started a Christian school in Ramsay, and later began a thriving greenhouse business on their property for 20 years. Fred's humorous newspaper ads for his greenhouse was an outlet for his creative and artistic side.
Fred lived out his faith continually. Fred would gather his family in the kitchen to stand and say a quick prayer before long trips home when they came to visit. Fred also loved to "teach" his grandchildren a new truth on a marker board, but he always prefaced it with, "it will only take 10 to 15 minutes," and he always stuck to that time frame he had promised all the while instilling values from his faith.
Fred had a hobby farm with vegetable gardens teaching his family through experience. Homing pigeons, sheep, sled dogs, petting zoo for customers, and chickens were just a few of the animals Fred enjoyed with his grandchildren to enrich their lives. Fred will be greatly missed by his soulmate, family, and all who knew him.
We recognize the undying love and care Fred's wife, Sheila, gave in the last several years of his blessed life on this earth. Fred's family would like to thank Pinecrest Medical Care Facility staff and UPHS Hospice for all their love and attentive care.
The memorial service for Fred will be celebrated by Pastor Jay Gilchrist at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Ford River Community Chapel, 3103 M-35, in Bark River. Relatives and friends may call on the family during a time of visitation one hour prior to the service. Beginning the service, under the auspices of the Delta County Veteran's Council and the U.S. Coast Guard, military honors will be presented. Immediately following the service, you are cordially invited to join the family for a time of fellowship, food, and refreshments at the church. A graveside committal will be held in the spring of 2024 at Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Anderson Funeral Homes of Escanaba and Gladstone. Online condolences may be left at andersonfuneralhomes.net.