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Frederick I. White ’50

Frederick I. White ’50, January 11, 2011, in Coquille, Oregon. Fred attended Reed for the better part of five years, earning a BA in psychology. A modest man, and a natural comedian with great musical gifts, Fred had parts in numerous Gilbert & Sullivan productions at Reed and was in New Savoy productions in the ’50s in Portland. Rosemary Lapham Berleman ’48, who sang and performed with Fred at Reed and throughout his career, told us that he was famous for his wonderful performance as Ko-Ko in The Mikado and as the Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers. From Rosemary, we also learned about his later work. “What some may not know is that after retiring to Bandon, Oregon, for several years, he was coaxed back onto the stage by members of the Bandon Playhouse.” Fred played the shopkeeper in Annie Get Your Gun in 1987 and his duet, “Doin' What Comes Natur'lly,” brought down the house. He also played a “fantastic” Elwood Dowd in Harvey. Fred directed and wrote for playhouse productions. For the orchestra in My Fair Lady, which he directed, he recruited high school students and local musicians from nearby towns. “It could have been a disaster, but he pulled it together. Another triumph!” Audiences loved his work. “All he had to do was to walk onto the stage in a pair of tights and he would bring down the house.” Before entering Reed, Fred served in World War II. He made the crossing to Normandy on D-Day, his birthday, and was severely wounded during the operation. He received a medal for his bravery in a raid on a German machine-gun position. Fred also volunteered with Free Flight and owned a 1946 Ercoupe 415-C airplane. Thanks to Rosemary for her tremendous assistance with this piece.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2011

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