Fred North, 1956-2018

Sometimes there is simply no relief from the pain of life – or more to the point – death. Tuesday night as we lay in bed, me trying to fall asleep, my wife was on her device when she learned that our friend and former next-door neighbor had passed away earlier in the day.

We first met Fred North while looking for a church to attend. He was playing his base-guitar at Living Waters, a church that folded a few years back when our preacher retired.

At first, we figured that we’d never see some of these folks again and for the most part, we were right. One person though, popped up in our lives again; Freddo (I always called him that) purchased the house next door to us.

It was a wonderful surprise. We spent a lot of time traveling back and forth from one front porch to the other and it was amazing how his computer tech business, ‘Doctor Geek,’ took off.

Freddo used to write a blog about his experiences with the business, but stopped posting in 2010. It can still be found here.

Not only did we have Christ in common, but we also had our dogs. He had two, including his favorite, a very old lab retriever named ‘Worf.’

Yes, Fred was major Trekkie fan, having named his dog after Michael Dorn’s character on the Star Trek reboot , “Next Generation.” The dog was nothing like his TV name sake though, as he always had a ‘wag and a lick’ handy for everyone.

After ‘Worf’ died, Freddo changed and his health took a downward turn. In early 2008, he packed up his last remaining puppy-dog pal, ‘Joshie,’ sold his house and move into town.

We didn’t see him very much after that, though we did stay in touch via social media. That’s why I had no idea how ill he’d become — in fact I found out later that he’d been hospitalized after nearly dying once before.

One afternoon, he called me, asking if we could take Joshie for a few days because he was heading home to Battle Mountain, Nevada for a visit and the dog was too old to travel. I jumped at the chance, having him here for three or four days.

The getaway was good for Fred as his health improved, even getting rid of his walker for a while – maybe even permanently — after that trip home. The next time I saw Freddo, he was scootering around downtown Reno on his little red Vespa.

That was last September, during Hot August Night, where he was enjoying his newest hobby, photography. And now I find myself amazed at how quickly things can change in six-months.

Beyond his passing, I also missed the opportunity to stop and see him the day before his death. I was taking some product to my wife’s sandwich shop and drove by his place, telling myself, “When I come back this way, I gotta stop and say ‘hi,’ to Freddo.”

Somehow, I got side tracked and forgot and this has me ‘bummed out,’ as Fred would have said. If he were still here, I’d apologize for having forgot and he’d have said, “No big deal.”

That in a nut-shell was Fred’s mantra – “No big deal.” Laid-back, easy-going, always smiling and friendly — we’re gonna miss that and you too, Freddo.

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Published by

Tom Darby

Former radio personality and newspaper reporter

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