January 29, 1941 – October 22, 2017
On the last Saturday of October in 2000, Frederick Allen von Tress relocated to Jacksonville with his wife, Cheryl. They arrived on a misty day and began a 17-year journey into the most pleasurable years of their married life. Fred passed away on October 22, 2017, following a 16-year experience with prostate cancer.
After earning a BA in Business from San Francisco State University and then a Masters in Social Work with distinction from Fresno State University, Fred became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with a long-term career with the State of California. He then entered private practice both in Santa Rosa, California and later here in Medford, Oregon.
As the child of young parents, who had immigrated to California from Oklahoma and Texas during The Dust Bowl era, Fred learned to work hard and play hard. One experience that was etched into his life was when the young family ran out of money in Northern California when they then traveled to Central California to pick cotton. Fred’s passion for social justice and equality among people had its roots when his family arrived in California to see racially-innapropriate signs at ranches.
At age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and worked as a Military Court and Board stenographer in the Bavarian region of Germany. While in the Army, he gained a desire to seek higher education after having worked for his father from the age of 12 as an auto body and fender repairman and painter. By age 14, he was able to write a full estimate and by 17, was at journeyman level. Fred relied upon these skills throughout much of his adult life to provide a second income for his family.
Fred’s professional career in mental health included working with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (many veterans and survivors of rape and molestation), community care licensing for homes caring for the frail and elderly population, domestic violence batterers and victims. He developed a 52-week Sonoma County Court Certified treatment program, that he called NOVA (Non-Violent Alternatives). A particular area of expertise was marital and family therapy. He served on the clinical licensing board for the State of California and was a field supervisor for licensing candidates.
Fred pursued his passion for road cycling, (100-mile rides and some mountain biking also) motorcycles, (including dirt bike racing competitions) playing guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica and recorder, tennis and running (half marathons and two Bay to Breakers!) and boxing. He loved Russian literature although his favorite book was “Les Miserables.” He and Cheryl enjoyed jazz music, Broadway musicals and live theater, dining out, home entertaining, and quiet evenings on the Applegate River.
Fred was 76 years old and is survived by his wife of 39 years, Cheryl; his daughters, Emily von Tress Sullivan and Ana von Hirtz; sons (in law) Paul von Hirtz and Peter Sullivan; granddaughter Avery Sullivan; grandson Oliver von Hirtz; nieces Shonni Thorne, Malasha Harriger and Michelle Ritter; nephews Brian von Tress, Wesley Harriger, John Blagg, David Neutze and Lee Medford, and sister-in-law Marsha Medford.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at 3:00pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, 425 Middle Street. Donations to Rogue River Greenway or Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity are welcomed in his honor.