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Old 04-17-2012, 10:23 PM
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K'Tesh K'Tesh is offline
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Unhappy "Fred" has passed. :(

Copied from BikeForums.net

Fred Birchmore who is the likely origin of the term "Fred" has passed on 4/15/12 at the age of 100.

Renowned adventurer Fred Birchmore dies at 100

Birchmore, known for riding a bicycle around the world and walking down the steps of the Washington Monument on his hands, also gave generously to the community.

Birchmore belonged to the Athens Kiwanis Club for 77 years and worked out regularly at Athens’ YMCA for 90 years. He was an active member of First United Methodist Church, where he belonged to the Tuck Sunday School Class.

He faithfully attended Kiwanis Club meetings until just a few weeks ago, said fellow club member Larry Dendy.

“He has always been the heart and soul of our club and was certainly an inspiration to me,” Dendy said. “He inspired a spirit and commitment to community through service work. He really showed that our mission (in Kiwanis) is to make our community better by nurturing the people who live here. Fred not only believed that, but he lived it.”

The Kiwanians and others honored Birchmore in November on his 100th birthday, and in March he visited with a group of volunteers working to rid Memorial Park of invasive species.

Birchmore donated about 25 acres years ago for the park and the Birchmore Trail that’s named for him, and lived near the park until his death.

In his 70s, Birchmore built a stone wall adjacent to the property that he affectionately called Happy Hollow.

The hand-laid wall — the Great Wall of Happy Hollow, he called it — draws hikers who marvel at the labor that Birchmore put into the project.

Birchmore also led the church choir for years and always had a joke to tell, said Edd Lowe, who is president of the Tuck class at First Methodist.

“He liked being in the spotlight — and people loved seeing him that spotlight,” Lowe said. “He’s probably at the Pearly Gates right now, standing on his hands. He was such a fun person to be around. Everybody loved him, people of all ages.”

In addition to his adventures and service to the community, Birchmore is known for his dedication to family, especially to Willa Deane, his wife of 72 years.

“It was love at first sight for both of us,” Fred Birchmore recalled at a party for the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary. They met on a Methodist trip to hike Stone Mountain in 1938, shortly after he returned from his epic trip that he wrote about in the book “Around the World on a Bicycle.”

Fred and Willa Deane married a year later and honeymooned on a tandem bicycle trip through Florida, Central America and some of the Caribbean islands, beginning a lifetime of travel. Along the way, they added two sons, Fred Jr. and Danny Birchmore, and two daughters, Rebecca Campen and Linda Musick, who tell of a childhood full of unexpected experiences and surprises.

“His life was just amazing. It’s rare to find a person who packed as much as he did into his 100 years,” Dendy said.

Bernstein Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.
Rest In Peace Fred!
Riding my bike is MY pursuit of Happiness!!!
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