Frederick M. Strange
Cold Spring, KY – If you have a tattered United States flag flying outside your business or home, you ought to get a new one. If you don’t, Frederick M. Strange’s beloved widow, Mary Luella (nee Pester Listermann) will be knocking on your door. The flag was a source of pride for the former United States Army Staff Sergeant. He served eight years during the Vietnam Era and believed the flag and our country’s military deserved respect. He also took great pride in teaching elementary school children how to appreciate the flag by teaching them how to properly fold the flag, raise the flag, and care for the flag. He believed that respect would stay in their hearts and help them have respect for themselves.
Mr. Strange, 68, died unexpectedly Wednesday, April 17, in Cold Spring, Ky.
Following his late ‘adopted’ mother-in-law, Betty Listermann’s funeral, he noticed the cemetery’s flag was ripped and torn. He drove the car around to the office of the cemetery, which has a dedicated Veteran’s burial ground. Mr. Strange marched into the office and told them he would give them one week to rectify the situation. Fortunately, the cemetery raised a new flag. He made sure this was true by driving back to the cemetery to check. Mrs. Listermann is now buried next to her husband, Jim, a World War II Navy veteran who worked in the engine room of an LST at Normandy and then in the Pacific Theater where he was stationed until the war ended.
At the time of his death, Mr. Strange was the Maintenance Supervisor for the Northern Kentucky Educational Cooperative (NKCES) and the Regional Schools Programs in Cold Spring, Ky. Prior this position, he was the Lead Custodian for Grants Lick Elementary and Alexandria Elementary Schools in Alexandria, Ky.
Executive Director of NKCES, Amy Razor shared her thoughts in an email which exemplifies how Mr. Strange affected the lives of others, “As I reflect on the past 28 years of my time with Fred — as a teacher, principal and now, the executive director he was most importantly my friend.
“When I think about the significance of his support in so many aspects of my educational journey, I realize that he was the steadfast teammate that every leader dreams of having as their counterpart who served selflessly in any role.
• He Planted Seeds: As a first-year teacher, he was the head custodian and taught me the “right” way to hang learning visuals in my classroom so that they would stay up in all temperatures. He would come by every evening to check on me and see how my day had gone. He was one of the first people to come into my classroom and plant the seed of treating all staff members equally.
• He Helped Us Shine Brighter: Later in my career as a first-grade teacher, I had a strong belief that glitter made every project shine brighter and felt it was my mission to pass this love on to every new teacher that entered our building. Fred did not share the same love as he was the custodian who cleaned up my “glitter” spills. However, in the true spirit of “the Fred we all know and love”–he held a ceremony and crowned me the first ever glitter queen in 1998. He continued that tradition and everyone would wait to see who would be crowned the new glitter queen. There is now a long line of glitter queens who proudly brighten the world with this Fred-appointed title.
• He Served All (and always knew when a joke was needed): He was exceptional at the support he provided. When I tried to figure out a better way to display my “big books” for students—Fred designed shelving for my classroom. When my class began performing the Nutcracker Ballet—Fred helped build the sets and work the lights. Grant’s Lick Elementary is a special place—with a love for people but Fred did it the best! On the lighter side, when it was time to tell a joke or play a great prank—Fred was always ready. As a matter of fact, April Fool’s Day may have been his favorite Holiday! He had a way of making us all feel like we were his favorite and he did special things for us…but the truth is that he did this exceptional work for all.
• He Used His Talents to Nurture Others: As a teacher and principal, I saw Fred care greatly about sharing his talents with kids to help grow their expertise. From working with the Metropolitan Opera to leading the Robotics team, Fred worked with great love.
• Fred was my right-hand person when I became a principal. When I had the crazy idea of changing the traditional open house to a “Party on the Playground” and the day of the event was declared a heat emergency….he was outside putting up the pop-up tents for shade. The list of making the impossible possible with Fred at my side goes on and on.
Fred’s willingness to do ordinary things with exceptional love was noticed by many. He was named as the first “FRED” Award recipient at Kentucky Association Superintendent Association State Leadership Conference. The award was adapted from a book called, The Fred Factor, written by Mark Sanborn. The entire school staff attended the conference wearing red, “Got Fred?” t-shirts in solidarity.”
“Mr. Strange gave his heart mightily and used the love language of service to all who crossed his path,” his wife said.
Mr. Strange was born in Dayton, Ky. to the late Hobert and Catherine Racke Strange of Alexandria, Ky., formerly of Newport, Ky.
Along with his wife, survivors include cherished his twin sons, Scott and Steven Strange, daughter, Krista (William) Hubbard, and step-daughter, Emily (Mark) McCafferty. He was the much loved Papaw of Kylie Hubbard, and Pop Pop of Anthony McCafferty. He was the dear brother of Jim (Jean) Strange of Alexandria, Mary (James) Hallis of Lexington, the late John (Judy Smith) Strange of Fort Thomas, Hobert (Linda) Strange of Florence, Joyce (Clay) Schirmer of Cold Spring, twin with David (JoAnn) Strange of Alexandria, Leroy (Valerie) Strange of Independence, and the late Deborah (Tommy) Kilpatrick of Manassas, Prince William, Virginia. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
Visitation 4-8 p.m. Monday, April 22 at Alexandria Funeral, Home, 325 Washington Street, Alexandria, KY 41001
A second visitation 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, April 23 at HighPoint Baptist Church, 6 Washington Street, Alexandria. Service will follow at 11 a.m. at HighPoint Baptist Church, 6 Washington Street, Alexandria. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.
Memorials: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, P.O. Box 5202, Cincinnati, OH 45201-5202.Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Apr. 21, 2019