Life Story for
Fred F. Grabos Jr.
Fred F. Grabos, Jr.
Fred Francis Grabos, Jr. passed away Saturday, July, 18 at St Luke’s Medical Center in Meridian, ID. Fred was born in Seattle February 16, 1946 to Fred F. Grabos, Sr. and Helen Churchill Grabos. He grew up in Burien, graduating from Highline High School. He spent many idyllic summers with his grandparents, Jake and Maude Churchill in the (then) remote and beautiful community of Shine, WA on Squamish Harbor at Hood Canal. It remained one of his most cherished places on the earth. Fred attended Eastern Washington State College and thought he might teach U.S. History someday. He completed his Tool and Die Apprenticeship with the Boeing Company and worked both there and for Acro General Machine as a quality control manager, where he established and maintained a quality control system to meet the requirements of clients, including the U.S. Air Force and Boeing.
Fred married Dixie Lee Girts in 1969. They enjoyed many good friends in Seattle including the members of the infamous Beater Squad, leaving their mark throughout the Washington countryside. His pals referred to Fred as “Kudux.” Their son Aaron (AJ) was born in 1976. Soon after AJ’s birth they set out on a once in a lifetime adventure, traveling the United States in a van – camping, exploring and meeting many new friends along the way. Fred always said it was the most special of times – getting to spend every single hour of each day with his infant son, AJ. They landed at Boundary Campground, on Trail Creek in August and woke up to snow the next morning. Fred decided this might be a place he wanted to stay. He endured the infamous winter of ’76/77 during which he met many of you, who became his life long friends.
Fred’s life in the Wood River Valley was full. He, Dixie and AJ enjoyed the many wonderful aspects of living here – beautiful outdoors, wonderful weather, good friends and most importantly, life as a family. He relished his time with AJ, teaching him many of the things that were beloved to him – skiing, ice skating, hiking, camping, love of the outdoors, learning, and using his great mind to create and innovate. Fred and AJ lost Dixie in 1990, after a valiant battle with cancer.
Fred’s career was spent designing and creating products, mostly in the outdoor industry. Eyewear, ski poles, skis, gloves, boots, bike accessories, numerous consumer products – the list goes on and on. He worked for many of the top companies in the outdoor sports industry – Smith Optics, Scott USA, Reflex, Gordini, Swix - this list goes on and on as well. He holds several patents, including an international one. Many of us have benefitted from the products he created - in one outdoor activity or another. He was so proud to envision and then design functional and beautiful products for us to use and enjoy. In the few years before he retired, he owned and operated Gotcha-Cornered Picture Framing, making beautiful keepsake frames for his clients. He was honored and proud to serve as a member of Hailey Rotary during his years as a business owner in Hailey.
Fred married Carol O’Loughlin in 1991. Fred and Carol’s life together was busy and full. They shared a love of the outdoors - skiing, mountain biking, camping, canoeing, and hiking. Fred also loved to windsurf, sail catamaran and golf. He taught Carol to appreciate and enjoy Formula One Racing. For his 50th birthday, they attended the Grand Prix of Canada in Montreal, spending three amazing days taking in all there is to experience at a Formula One race. It was an adventure of a lifetime. Fred had a great passion for music – all kinds of music – classical, rock, funk, jazz. He attended as many Sun Valley Summer Symphony concerts as he could each season and truly loved this gift of live classical music. Fred and Carol also enjoyed many trips to beautiful Shine on Hood Canal spending bucolic days with Fred’s parents and friends - boating, clamming, sitting around the campfire and just common beach living. Fred loved to visit Carol’s home state of Montana. The O’Loughlin family welcomed Fred and AJ into their extended family and shared many notable occasions together over the years. Fred loved the beauty and history of the wide open spaces of the state and was happy sharing it all with Carol.
Shortly after his retirement, Fred suffered a stroke. For such an active person, the physical effects were challenging and difficult to accept. Fred fought it every step of the way and worked so very hard to come back and regain his mobility and independence. His sweet black cat, BC, was a great source of comfort during this time. In his last years he was able to walk, bike, do yoga and most importantly, return to his beloved mountains in Sun Valley to ski each winter. He was proud to say he had skied 63 years of his life, including the opening day at Crystal Mountain. And as always on his birthday, including this past February 16, he held up the tradition and skied. That night he enjoyed a party with family and friends, including his precious grandsons, Hudson and Huxley. He and Carol will always be indebted to Higher Ground Sun Valley for giving him the opportunity to ski once again and feel the thrill and beauty of the snow and terrain under his feet. It was truly a gift.
Fred suffered several falls this spring and summer. His body and soul simply could not recover, though he fought hard to do so.
Fred is survived by his devoted wife, Carol O’Loughlin, his son AJ and wife, Rosa, his grandsons, Hudson Lee Grabos and Huxley Churchill Grabos, his father, Fred F. Grabos, Sr., sister Jeannette Hall and her husband, Brian, Dixie’s parents, Janet and Dick Girts, her sisters, Debbie Girts and Jennifer Daly and their families, Carol’s family, including aunt Mary Thronson, siblings, Mary Kay Olson and husband Jim, PattyO Murphy and husband Ed Flaherty, Mick O’Loughlin, Frank O’Loughlin and his wife Sue Stearns, nieces and nephews and spouses, Ryan and Layne, Patrick, Heather and Neil, Erin and Erica, Mark and great niece Madeline and great nephew, Finn. He loved and treasured his families.
He will forever be remembered for his kind and giving spirit, love of family and friends, pure enjoyment of all life had to offer, having fun – lots of it - and keeping us all entertained. You deserve to do all those things that were so precious to you, my friend. Let ‘er buck!
A private graveside service was held on Monday, July 27 at the Ketchum Cemetery. Per Fred’s request a party will be held 4:00 pm, Monday, August 24 at Rotary Park in Ketchum. Please see wrchapel.com for full details as well as where memorial gifts can be made.