Fred Vernon Bartram was born January 16th, 1929. He was the youngest child born to James Blaine and Dollie Mae Web Bartram of Aflex, Kentucky, They later moved to West Virginia when Fred was 10. Growing up in the Great Depression he gained a new outlook on life, and learned good can come from bad, and meaning can come from tragedy.
In 1947, seeking adventure and a chance to see the world beyond the Tugg River, Fred enlisted in the Army. He forewent a career as a coal miner to take a chance seeking more opportunities, taking a train to California for basic training. During his military career, Fred had his chance to see the world and help as many as he could; he was stationed in Korea, the south pacific, and was eventually sent to Karlsruhe, Germany, as a policeman assisting with the post-war effort. It was there he met, courted, and married our Mother Anni Charmaine Corneli on the 2nd of January 1956.
During the early years of their marriage they enjoyed each other’s company, spending time playing German bowling, known as kegeln, traveling to guest houses, and driving and picknicking the countryside. They made many life-long friendships. Both our parents overcame many obstacles due to their circumstance as children of The Great Depression and World War II, respectively. They forged on, and found happiness and resilience in each other, and started their Family: they welcomed daughters Loretha Mae, Anna Maria, Lisa Charmaine.
My parents laid their first son to rest on the 7th of February 1963. He had tragically passed only days after he first drew breath, due to birth complications.
In September of 1964 they happily welcomed our Brother Fred Vernon Bartram in the world. Four years later, in September of 1968, they had their youngest daughter, Dolly Monique. In 1976, they adopted their youngest son, Joseph Samuel Bartram.
In 1967 Fred retired from the United States army, and became a Federal officer with the United States Capitol Police. He built the family home in Sterling Park, Virginia.
As a father, Fred was always a jokester and his children only further brought out his fun loving spirit. He taught his children God’s values and was a teacher of all things, his method was simple; He taught by example. Fred, as a man and father to his children, was strong in body, Spirit, and commitment to both God and his family.
Fred was always supportive of his Family, and friends. He taught the importance of strong family ties, giving more than you take, and that your word is your bond. When he wasn’t working he was always doing something for his Family, or friends. Fred and Anni were always in the kitchen together. On Family Holidays, Fred was known best for making Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. As a class A Gardener, 0ur home always had fresh fruits and vegetables. Together, Fred and Anni kept their house a home.
Fred had many hobbies, and he always accomplished what he set out to do. And while he never had a purported “best friend” or group with which to play poker with on week nights, as was typical for other fathers in the neighborhood, the number of people that called our Dad friend was innumerable.
He was a pilot, and always maintained a pure and almost childlike joy when it came to flying and airplanes. Fred was a frequent fisherman, and be it fresh water, or deep sea he loved to cast a line. He had a love for the outdoors, a love for animals - though he favored birds, particularly wrens and the guinea fowl. Our mother, Anni, would always say he is a farmer at heart. He loved to sing and whistle, and was an accomplished harmonica player. Fred relished the good things in life, including music, travel, photography, food, and friends and family.
In 1983 Fred retired from the Capitol police. He, with Anni, Dolly, and Joe, moved to Germany where they took the opportunity to spend more time with extended family. Fred enjoyed travelling all of Europe and being apart of St. Stephens Catholic Church in Karlsruhe.
In 1989 they returned back to the United States where they travelled to Minot, North Dakota, where our parents became part of the community at St, John Catholic Church. They enjoyed their time they spent in North Dakota, and the friends that they made, but the wind and cold did not suit either of their aging bones.
From there our parents found Holy Family Catholic Church in 1993. After a brief visit to the church, and Texas, they knew that is where they were supposed to be. The summer of 1993 they moved and built a new house in Kempner, Texas, This is where the real retirement for Fred and Anni began. They spent their time gardening their homestead; Raising chickens, guinea fowl and his peacock, Charlie. They both continued serving God, whether it be working at
the food bank, or church gatherings, or engaging in adult ccd classes. Fred could always be found on a Friday night working the fish fry during lent. Our parents were always helping those in need. They enjoyed helping people in however God introduced himself.
When our Mother, Anni, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in April 1998 our Father never left her side. Again he was the foundation of our family, he was by our Mother’s side until the day she passed, December 7th 1998.
The days, months and, years after our Mother’s passing, with a grieving heart our Father held steadfast with the love, and commitment he gave his family so many years prior. He spent more time with family and friends, served God and his community and with with a faithful heart, He became a knight in the 4th degree. Until massive stroke left him with declining health, in December of 2014. Although the stroke left him handicapped in many ways, he continued to do whatever he could for the needs of others.
In 2016 with continuing health issues that left him homebound, Fred moved to his daughter Dolly’s home in Fort Myers, Florida, where he spent the last 17 months. When he wasn't going to doctors appointments, he enjoyed visiting the public library with his youngest Granddaughter, Kyrstien, whom he lovingly referred to as “Willi,” Spending time with his son inlaw Mark, his children, grandchildren and Great grandchildren. Occasionally enjoying a meal out and seeing a movie. He spent his days leisurely reading his bible, newspapers from Killeen, Fort Myers and Usa Today, . There wasn’t a day that he did not follow CNN, or the current goings-on in the world.
Our father had a quiet dignity, respecting himself the way he respected others, as he faced his final days. He never had one moment of self pity, all through his tribulations when someone would ask him how he was, he gave the same answer everyday, always with a friendly smile: “I’m fine, how are you?”