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Fred Hannibal Fahnestock


Last updated 11/3/2018 at 10:34am

Fred Hannibal Fahnestock passed away peacefully in his home with his son, H. James Fahnestock (Jim), and his caregiver, Rose Padong, by his side on October 25, going to join his wife of 75 years in heaven with the Lord.

Fred was born the third of four children (two brothers and one sister) to Fred Sr. and Birdy Fahnestock in Villa Grove, Illinois on January 9, 1914. He is survived by his two sons, Fred M. Fahnestock (Freddie) and Jim Fahnestock, five grandchildren, and a multitude of great-grandchildren and extended family.

After moving to Los Angeles, California in 1937, Fred met Jessie Mae Brooks, the love of his life, and they wed in 1938. They were married for 75 years until Jessie's passing in 2013.

Fred started his career as a salesman for a Pontiac dealership in downtown Los Angeles, where the Staples Center now stands. During this time, he was also a charter member of the Victor McGaglen Light Horse and rode in the motorcycle stunt and drill team. After five years at the Pontiac dealership, Fred signed up for the Army Air Corps to fight in World War II.

He served his country as a tail gunner in a B-24 Liberator, 8th Air Force, 258th Bomber Group. He flew 31 missions over Europe, reached the rank of Staff Sergeant and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, in addition to other awards. Though Fred served in many B-24's during the course of the war, he flew his final missions aboard the Stardust where, in honor of his wife, he emblazoned the name "Jessie Mae" on the tail next to where he manned the twin 50 caliber guns.

After returning from the war, Fred and Jessie settled in South Gate, Calif, where they raised their two sons, and Fred resumed working at the same Pontiac dealership in L.A. They lived there for 30 years before moving to Lake Forest, Calif.

In 1956, Fred began working in Pasadena, Calif. as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army in procurement for their missile division. After 25 years, he retired in 1981 at the age of 67.

In 2001, Fred and Jessie moved to Fallbrook to be closer to their son, Jim. Both were members of the United Methodist Church and active in the community. Jessie belonged to the Fallbrook Women's Club while Fred served as a member of Toastmasters.

Fred was a natural storyteller who would often spin tales from his own life (with varying degrees of embellishment) and capture audiences with his favorite jokes. At 104 years old, Fred outlived every single one of his friends from his old neighborhoods and all of his relatives aside from his children.

But while living in Fallbrook, he developed a new circle of friends which gathered together the Friday after his passing to toast his rich and full life. His friends regaled each other with the many interesting stories Fred had told them over the years, remembering to throw in an off-color joke or two, which is exactly the way Fred would have wanted it.

There will be no service other than the spreading of Fred's and Jessie's ashes at sea, where they will be together forever.


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