|Fred W. Schwendimann, Jr. was born in Wilmot, Arkansas on May 1, 1915. As a teenager he was strongly influenced by the minister of his local Methodist Church, Reverend Doyle T. Rowe, who was also Fred’s scoutmaster. After graduating from Wilmot High School, he attended Monticello A & M College in Monticello, Arkansas. He strongly felt the “call” to the ministry during his first two years of college and was licensed to preach by the Little Rock Conference of the Methodist Church in 1932. Fred transferred to Hendrix College, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in 1936. He attended Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and received a B.D. degree in 1938. He joined the Little Rock Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1939, was ordained Deacon in 1941 and Elder in 1943.
Fred married Rita Beth Wood on August 25, 1938. They had been “sweethearts” while college students, and they remained that way for the duration of their marriage of 57 years.
Fred and Beth served a number of charges in the Little Rock Conference, including Amity, Tillar, Altheimer, England, Lake Village and El Dorado (Vantrease Memorial). They transferred to the Louisiana conference in 1955 and served charges in Denham springs, Coushatta, Winnsboro, Franklinton, Alexandria (Trinity), Oak Grove and Shreveport (Morningside). Fred retired in 1979 after 40 years of Christian service. Following his retirement, he served as Minister of Visitation at Noel Memorial Methodist Church in Shreveport. He and Beth were fortunate to have lived in two retirement homes provided by the Retired Ministers Home Board.
Fred was a good minister and shepherd to whatever flock he was appointed to tend. He enjoyed the fellowship of his congregation and had a special affinity for children. He enjoyed music and loved to sing. He loved to play golf and liked a challenging game of chess or dominoes. He was devoted to his wife and his two sons, Fred III and Bob.
Beth did not enjoy good health in the latter years and died in October of 1995. The loss of his wife was more than Fred could bear, and he succumbed to loneliness on September 9, 1996. His two sons survive along with a daughter-in-law, two brothers, a sister-in-law, four grandchildren, five nieces and five nephews.
His cemetery marker is graced by the Flame and Cross of the United Methodist Church with the inscription, “God calls his workers home; God’s work continues on.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1997; p. 269 By Robert N, Schwendimann|