Frederick James Mesman
January 11, 2023
Frederick James Mesman passed away on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022 at the age of 98 at Life Care Center of Mount Vernon.
Fred was born Aug. 30, 1924 on the family farm near Rocky Point, Whidbey Island to parents Sam and Tiena Mesman. He was raised there with his brother Francis and sisters Betty and Darlene, surrounded by relatives, as well as horses, cows, dogs and chickens. He especially loved times on West Beach, searching for agates with his mother or finding salvage on the beach.
He attended school in Oak Harbor through his junior year of high school; riding to school in the back of a canvas covered flatbed truck, often hunting on the hike to and from the truck and leaving his gun with the driver while attending school.
In 1942 the Navy moved many families from their Whidbey Island properties, so Fred and his family relocated to the farm near La Conner. He graduated from La Conner High School in 1943.
Fred worked the family farm his entire life; at first milking by hand and then by machine. He took great pride in his care of the cows and calves. He loved to work ground and enjoyed working on machinery. He was a talented welder and machinist, frequently found in the farm machine shop making parts to repair equipment for neighboring farms. He worked off the farm for San Juan Cannery keeping equipment running through the harvest, and sewing sacks on the combine during grain harvest throughout the area. With his brother he bought a '43 Case hand-tie baler and would travel the region doing custom baling, filling every barn available to them.
He loved the outdoors and was an accomplished fisherman, hunter and rifleman. He shot for many years for Pacific Northwest Rifle Association clubs in Bellingham, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Anacortes. With his wife Arlene he became involved with the Audubon Society and was a master of bird calls and identification. "Hunter's eyes," he would say when asked how he was so good at spotting a hidden bird.
In 1970 Fred and his brother Francis, along with Bill Owens, started the Skagit Valley Horseshoe Club. Fred pitched at the club for years and was dedicated to recruiting new members.
He was an avid rock hound for many years and loved to share his extensive rock collection and display at Northwest Rock and Gem shows. He was an accomplished woodcarver, turning out birds and other carvings to display and give to family and friends. He created walking trails at his home with Arlene that are a favorite resource for the neighborhood, and loved to meet new people on the trail. He was "Grandpa Fred" to many of those people.
Fred is survived by his wife of 48 years, Arlene; sons, Robert Mesman and James Mesman; stepchildren, Laurie McCraney, Jerry Masters, and Cindy Clausen; his sister, Betty Gordon and her sons, Todd Gordon and Eddie Gordon; sister, Darlene May Sullivan and her son Scott May and daughter, Marcie Smith; nephew, Alan Mesman; and is blessed with numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother Tiena, father Sam, and brother Francis.
The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the staff at Life Care Center of Mount Vernon for the excellent care and attention over the past year. He enjoyed sharing stories of his life with you and deeply appreciated your efforts.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Audubon Society of Washington or the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023, 1:00 PM at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery with Pastor Don Robinson officiating. Fred's family is planning a celebration of his life at the family home on Valentine Road in the summer of 2023. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Kern Funeral Home. You may offer Fred's family condolences and share memories of Fred online at kernfuneralhome.com.