Frederick MacLeod Strawson (93) of Casville, NC passed away on November 21, 2021 surrounded by his family at Alamance Regional Hospital in Burlington, NC.
A Celebration of Life will be held 2:00 PM Friday, December 17, 2021 at Prospect United Methodist Church in Yanceyville, NC, officiated by Ms. Allison Lancaster. The family will receive friends following the service in the fellowship hall from 3:00-5:00 PM.
Fred was born to the late Stanton Moore Strawson and Mary (Molly) MacLeod Strawson in White Plains, NY on August 10, 1928. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Studies and after college he joined the Army, actively fighting in the Korean War. He was awarded three Bronze Stars for his service in the mortar unit of the First Calvary Division. Upon his return from war, he married Esther Church, whom he met at Cornell and they enjoyed 59 years of married life before her passing in 2013.
Fred and Esther originally resided in Batavia, NY and relocated to Avon, NY where they purchased a home and began raising their three children: Phyllis, Fred Jr, and Karen. Fred loved his children and in the cold winter months he would build a makeshift skating rink in their front yard and a small ski slope off the back porch, allowing the children to don their snow suits and get out of the house during long winters in western NY.
Fred spent his entire working career with Niagara Corporation (later to become FMC) as a sales representative and received multiple awards for his salesmanship skills. Fred and Esther gradually moved south following his career path, from Avon, NY to Winchester, VA and upon retirement to Caswell County in 1995 where he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning a farm. He has resided at his residence outside of Yanceyville for 26 years and never tired of his farm or the stunning views he observed from his tractor and ATV, or the front porch of his home.
Fred had a heart for Brittany Spaniels and the sport known as “field trialing.” He had numerous successes and trained multiple field champions over the years, culminating in a Second Place at the American Brittany Club National Championship in 2002. Fred had active leadership roles such as serving as the East Coast Director of the American Brittany Club. He also served as President and Field Trial Chairman of the Rappahannock and Tarheel Brittany Clubs. In addition to training his dogs, his passion was to lay out and run field trials on his farmlands. During many Novembers over the years, horses, dogs, and trailers descended on his property for his annual field trial. Fred received the ultimate reward for his efforts when he was named recipient of the American Brittany Club Hall of Fame in 2020.
In addition to raising and training his Brittany Spaniels, Fred spent innumerable hours studying and implementing plans to create a quail refuge on his property. Although told this would be very difficult, he persisted, and of late he had observed wild quail coveys on his farm.
During quiet moments, Fred enjoyed writing and sharing stories with family and friends. He wrote numerous articles for The American Brittany magazine and ultimately wrote a book titled Stories and Ramblings in 2017. Fred loved to sing and would regale any who would listen to versions of “Clementine” and “Mrs. Murphy’s Overalls” to name a few. Fred participated as an enthusiastic member of the Senior Citizens Choir of Yanceyville, and his church choir at Prospect UMC.
Fred grew up spending his summers on Vinalhaven, ME since the 1930’s. This was truly his home away from home and he was proud of being able to swim the Seal Basin rapids at age 80. He was a skilled sailor and he loved puttering around in his motor boat, of course followed by a lobster dinner. Fred loved his time on this island off the coast of Maine and sharing this special spot with his children and grandchildren. Fred was actively involved in transferring 60 acres of the family property over to the Vinalhaven Land Trust to protect the seal basin and the wildlife that resided there, valuing the life it harbored and preventing land development around the basin.
Fred remarried in 2018 to Betty Wilson Byrd. They shared a special relationship built upon friendship, laughter, and adventure. Betty thought nothing of hopping in the pick-up truck or on the back of the ATV for an afternoon on the farm. Betty supported Fred in all his endeavors and the family is thankful they were able to spend their “sunset” years together. We are grateful Fred enjoyed good health and vitality until the last three months of his life.
Fred was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Esther Strawson. He is survived by wife Betty Strawson; children Phyllis Baker (Jim) of Summerfield, NC; Fred Strawson, Jr (Adriana) of Spring, TX; Karen Gross (Tom) of Okatie, SC; grandchildren Kiley Baker (Reed); Scott Baker (Katie); Mac Baker (Annie); Jack and Luke Strawson; Great-grandchildren Monroe Baker and Eastman Baker Hatch; a sister, Jean Tenney, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to either Prospect United Methodist Church, 1900 US Highway 158 W., Yanceyville, NC 27379 or the Animal Protection Society of Caswell County, 836 County Home Road, Yanceyville, NC 27379.
Wrenn-Yeatts Memorial Funeral Home, Yanceyville, NC, is respectfully serving the Strawson family. Online condolences at www.wrenn-yeatts.com