Memorial services for Sherman Edward Fredrickson, Sr., 93, of Chickasha, Oklahoma, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 23, 2017 in the Ferguson Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Michael Oberlender officiating. His ashes will be buried at Coleman Cemetery in Coleman, Texas.
Sherman was a World War II aviation veteran, long time aviator, and 36 year employee and retiree of Halliburton Company in Duncan. He died on Father’s Day, June 18, 2017 in Chickasha, Oklahoma, from complications following a stroke.
Sherman Fredrickson was born on December 15, 1923 to Edward and Otillia Hermansen Fredrickson in Little Falls, Minnesota; Charles Lindberg’s home town. Raised on the family dairy farm, he was the last of 7 children, assuming increasing responsibility in running the farm as all 7 older siblings left, one by one.
With the advent of World War II Sherman attempted joining the Army Air Corps Cadet program and the Navy Cadet program, passing all written exams but rejected due to a heart murmur. The Civilian Pilot Training program (CPTP) did accept him, however, and eventually tests run by the Univ. of Minn. Medical School showed the heart problem to be unwarranted.
In 1942, at age 18, he joined the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) at Mankato Flying School in Mankato, Minn. This was followed by enlisting in the US Army Air Corp Reserve, acquiring his Private and Commercial pilot’s license, and Instrument and Instructor pilot rating while still only 19. He was a primary flight instructor until Sept 1944. In October of 1944, he was finally accepted into the U.S. Army Air Corp Aviation Cadet Training Program after having been flying for 2 ½ years and acquiring over 1000 flying hours. He completed Basic Military training at Sheppard Army Base, Texas, Preflight at Lackland, Texas, Primary at Chickasha, Oklahoma (Class 45-G), Basic at Perrin Field, Sherman, Texas, with AT-6 aircraft, and Advanced training at Enid, Oklahoma with B-25 Mitchell bombers. He completed the USAA CTP in October of 1945 and received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, two months after WWII was over.
He was stationed at Goodfellow Field, San Angelo, Texas as a Senior primary flight instructor and checkout pilot when he met and married Winnifred June (Judy) Smithson of San Angelo, Texas. In August 1946 he was sent to Japan with the U. S. occupation forces where he flew AT-6, P51 and B25 aircraft for surveillance of Russian cargo shipping through the Korean straits.
In February 1947 he left active duty, staying in the Air Corps Reserves (retiring from the Air Force Reserves in 1973 with the rank of Major).
In April 1947 he and a partner established the first airport and flying school at Little Falls, Minn. In July 1948 he moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Dallas Aviation School, obtaining his aircraft Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics license, working on C54 aircraft used for the Berlin Airlift. While in Dallas, one son was born, Sherman E. Fredrickson Jr.
In March of 1949 the family moved to Palestine, Texas where he managed the local airport while teaching flying and working with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) before taking a job with Halliburton Company in 1950. While in Palestine, a daughter, Victoria Suzanne Fredrickson was born.
With Halliburton, he held jobs of equipment operator, Cementer and eventually Field Supervisor. From 1957 to 1961 he moved his family from Palestine to Bridgeport, Tex. to Vernon, Tex. and to Wichita Falls, Tex. From 1959 to 1963 he attended Midwestern University where he acquired a B.S. in Chemistry. In 1966 he was transferred to Duncan, Oklahoma where he eventually became a Senior Research Chemist with Halliburton until his retirement in 1986.
While in Duncan, Sherman also maintained an active role in the local aviation community while working on his own airplanes and helping others with theirs. His knowledge, experiences and stories about aviation were the source of much “hangar flying” over the years and his opinions were highly regarded.
In May of 1998 his wife Winnifred June of 51 years died suddenly. In 2000 he met and subsequently married Freddie Thompson on October 19, 2001 in the First Christian Church of Chickasha, Oklahoma. Sherman then moved to Chickasha, keeping his ties to the aviation community in Duncan for several years. Sherman and Freddie traveled extensively on cruises, road trips, and short airplane rides in his Beechcraft Bonanza. They spent many holidays celebrating with Mitchell and London families.
In 2008 he received from the FAA the Wilbur and Orville Wright award for 50 years of active flying without a reportable accident and the Charles Taylor award for 50 years as an active holder of an A&P license. He was a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPC), Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA), American Legion, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and Rotary of Chickasha.
Sherman was a consummate story teller. Had he ever told you about the time that…? If he knew you well, he probably he had. But the stories were always good enough to be worth hearing a second time. And possibly a third. He was a voracious reader of all things having to do with aviation. His favorite preoccupation, aside from fixing things and flying, was trying to figure out why something worked, or didn’t, or happened the way it did. The ways he approached life, his philosophy, curiosity, opinions and experience touched many lives.
He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and first wife, Winnifred June. He is survived by his wife Freddie Thompson Fredrickson, son Sherman Fredrickson, Jr and wife Linda, daughter Victoria Nix, step-daughter Freddie Lee Palesano and husband Kent, step-son Glen Thompson and wife Kay; numerous nieces and nephews and other extended family and friends.
Services and cremation arrangements are under the direction of Ferguson Funeral Home.