Frederick H. Deering, 86, of Monroeville, passed away Monday, March 15, 2010, after a brief illness.
He was born May 9, 1923, in Oxford Township. He graduated from Monroeville High School in 1941 and attended The Ohio State University. Fred established Deering Farms in Oxford Township and was selected as Ohio Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer in 1955. He served as a World War II Veterans Vocational Agriculture Instructor through 1960 during which time he helped establish 7 Limers Inc. of Bellevue.
Beginning in 1952, while building the family farming operation, Fred began his 51-year-career as an elected public official. He served 20 years in the Ohio Legislature, serving as an Ohio State Representative for Erie and Ottawa counties and portions of Lucas and Wood counties. He also served as an Erie County commissioner; a Perkins school board member; and as an Erie MetroParks commissioner.
Serving in the House of Representatives, he was responsible for more than 80 bills and amendments that became law. That legislation included establishing the Ohio Sea Grant Program; conservation laws including Ohio drainage and pesticide laws; solid waste and recycling legislation; the Current Agricultural Use Value law; research funding for the Ohio Wine Industry; and programs for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State Extension Services.
Fred served as an Erie County commissioner for 12 years. His service included establishing the Erie Regional Planning Commission, the Erie County Landfill and the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport.
He was a Perkins School Board member for nine years, serving as president for four years, during which time a full 12-grade-Perkins school system was established (1960-61).
Fred most recently retired as Erie MetroParks Commissioner (13 years) from 1993-2006, overseeing the park system that he helped establish in 1975 when he persuaded the State of Ohio to sell a prison farm that is now known as Osborn MetroPark to Erie County. His efforts as a commissioner were recognized with the Ohio Parks and Recreation Leadership Award and the National Parks and Recreation Association Outstanding Commissioner Award.
Fred had a passion for the Huron River Greenway as a corridor for all to enjoy a scenic river and historical canal in Erie County. He volunteered countless hours landscaping BGSU Firelands McBride Arboretum with an impressive array of crabapple trees whose magnificent blooms complement the terrace that he donated over Parker Lake.
Fred loved gardening and landscaping that included an extensive Hosta garden and fruit orchard. He delighted in sharing his fruit and produce with friends and family. A visit to the farm would always include a tour of the gardens.
He was a member of the Ohio Farmers Union, Men's Garden Club of Erie County, Erie County Democratic Party, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Erie MetroParks and St. John's United Church of Christ in Oxford Township. He was honored by many organizations including The Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame and The Perkins School Hall of Fame and Monroeville School Hall of Fame, and received many state industry awards.
Fred is survived by his wife Margaret (Bruens), to whom he was married for 10 years, children Daryl (Joyce) Deering of Sandusky, Diane (Karle) Nolte of Burnsville, Minn., Steve (Sandy) Deering and Brian (Julie) Deering, both of Monroeville, step-children John (Kay) Bruens of Lexington, Ky., Trisha (Terry) Meese of Huron and Ron (Cheryl) Bruens, Versailles, Ky. in addition to 15 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Joan Deering of Greenwich, and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Dorothy Deering, in 1998; granddaughter, Kara A. Deering in 1997; brother, George Deering; and stepdaughter, Cindy Bruens Grimm.
Friends may call 4-8 p.m. Friday in Groff Funeral Home, 1607 E. Perkins Ave., Sandusky. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John's United Church of Christ, Mason and Thomas Roads, Oxford Township. The Rev. Wendy Schindler-Chasney will officiate. Internment will be at St. John's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to Huron River Greenway MetroPark or James H. McBride Arboretum, c/o Erie MetroParks, 3109 Hull Road, Huron, OH 44839; or to St. John's United Church of Christ, 2712 W. Mason Road, Milan, OH 44846.
Condolences may be shared with his family at grofffuneralhomes.com.