Friday, December 11, 2020
1:00 PM EST
Rosedale Memorial Park
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Life Story / Obituary
Fred Zokoe was a loving husband, father, and friend to many. A caring nurturer, he cherished his years as a father and was delighted to accept Penny, Ben, Julie, and Allie as his grandchildren. Fred was an avid outdoorsman who loved nature and surrounding himself with good company. He leaves behind a wonderful example of accepting all people with compassion. There is no doubt that he will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
The year 1930 was significantly impacted by the effects of the Great Depression. Banks were still closed but there was a promise of a new election year awaiting. On the 3rd of March, John and Clara (Angermire) Zokoe welcomed home the arrival of their newborn son, Frederick Richard, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His father was born in Lithuania and worked as a maintenance engineer at St. Mary’s Hospital where he met a sweet young woman from Ravenna named Clara. Together they welcomed seven children; Joe, Bob, Clarence, Len, Fred, Chuck and Jean into their loving home on Leonard Street in Walker before moving to their family farm on Lake Michigan Drive west of Standale.
Fred arrived during tough economic times, yet he learned the value of a hard day’s work at an early age. He and his siblings were known to pitch in around the farm and help out at the local farmer’s markets. Always active and on the go, they also enjoyed playing baseball and going swimming. Fred attended Delaney Elementary school yet the farm was more important to him. When his older brothers left for the service, Fred remained to run the farm. He graduated with the Class of 1948 from Union High School. No matter what he set his mind to doing, Fred always saw to it that he gave his best to any job before it was completed.
Not long from these years, he met his sister-in-law's niece, Madelyn “Midge” when she moved to Grand Rapids from Saginaw. Although she babysat for Bob’s kids, she also worked at the Delight Restaurant in town and rented a room on a farm down the road. Smitten by Fred’s charm, she frequented the Zokoe Farm until she got his attention! Soon they were in love and joined in marriage at the Holy Spirit Church. The newlyweds were lucky to put work aside and honeymoon at the popular destination of Niagara Falls. Later, they welcomed home two wonderful children; Karen and Freddy. They lived on Lake Michigan Drive just two doors down from the farm until they built their new home on 10th Avenue in Tallmadge where they made their family memories.
Always a strong provider for his family, Fred worked on the farm before heading off to pursue a trade with heavy equipment operation at the Northwest Trade School out of Illinois. Graduating with his Operating Engineer degree he landed a job with Gillesse Construction as a foreman for the pipe crew. He later went on to perform the same duties for Geocon Construction where he remained until he was seventy-four years old! He was a valuable asset to the company. Fred and Midge modeled the importance of family. They would often go for Sunday drives with the kids every weekend. Often after a quick stop to check on the pumps at a job site, they’d get back on the road exploring many areas in Michigan or visiting extended family on the east side of the state. On the way home, he would gladly stop off for a treat from the local store such as a candy bar, book, or magazine to keep them busy while he relaxed with the newspaper at home. Fred was active as a parent and enjoyed attending Freddy’s baseball games or watching him ride his minibike as well as enjoying Karen showing her horse. He was always proud of his children and wanted nothing but the very best for each of them.
He and Midge were very social. They enjoyed entertaining for many years with their friends and neighbors. Midge always prepared excellent dishes and the couples usually played records and danced after dinner. Avid card players, they would also join in a game of poker when visiting friends and family. During winter months, they enjoyed snowmobiling as well. Together they enjoyed traveling and even made the ten hour drive to the east coast to see their daughter, Karen at a horse sale in Pennsylvania. Fred loved to fish and enjoyed countless trips to his brother’s property in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to hunt with his brothers and their close friends.
In his later years, Fred was a regular at the Peppermill in Standale where he had his own coffee cup with his name on it! A lover of gambling for many years, when he and his brothers, Bob and Chuck, became widowers, he’d volunteer to drive them to the local casinos for enjoyment. He also treasured his routine stops to visit friends in the nursing home. When it came time for him to go into assisted living, it was no surprise that Fred enjoyed playing Bingo and Yahtzee. He modeled living life to the fullest and sharing many special moments shared with his loved ones and close friends. May they find comfort in knowing that he held unconditional love for each of them and may his memories be eternal.
Frederick R. Zokoe, age 90, of Grand Rapids, MI passed away December 2, 2020. Fred was born March 3, 1930 in Grand Rapids to the late John and Clara (Angermire) Zokoe. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, Madelyn; brothers and sisters-in-law, Joseph and Delores Zokoe, Robert and Donna Zokoe, Leonard and Joyce Zokoe, Clarence and Ione Zokoe, Charles and Jean Zokoe. Fred is survived by his children, Frederick (Sally) Zokoe of Grandville, Karen (Tom) Drasiewski of Walker; grandchildren, Julie (Craig) Isbell, Ben (Brittney) Isbell, Allie (Dan) Hough; and 4 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Jean (Bernard) Giese and many special nieces and nephews. Fred was a farmer and retired from Geocon Construction. He will be remembered for his love of hunting, fishing and gambling. According to his wishes, cremation has taken place. A celebration of his life will be held once the COVID restrictions are eased. Memorials may be made to Emmanuel Hospice. To leave a memory or condolence please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.