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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Remembering Fred Fletcher

Posted May 5, 2008

He rolled out of bed every morning wondering the same thing:  “How can I help someone today?”  What a wonderful way to live your life!  That was Fred Fletcher, the legendary broadcaster and herculean parks advocate and volunteer.

We remembered Fred recently during an annual awards banquet honoring volunteers of the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. Bill Fletcher remembered his colorful father and his amazing array of radio voices. I recalled Fred as a playful leader. He was green before green was cool. I recalled chatting with Fred about the importance of protecting the natural beauty of Raleigh when I was WRAL’s environmental reporter. You couldn’t help but love Fred. And admire him, too. Fred served on the Raleighs parks board for 53 years and as chairman for 40 years!  Talk about longevity!

Award winners were given plaques and  green jackets like the one Fred wore to all of his parks and recreation events. Winners included coaches who have planted seeds of volunteerism among players and those who have kept youth out of trouble by serving as strong role models. Other honorees included Raleigh Charter School for a wide reaching volunteer parks program and individuals who have served as one man litter sweeps of area parks.

Fred Fletcher died 8 years ago but as one parks official put it: “I am sure he’s looking down right now, smiling and feeling very proud.”

They don’t make ‘em like Fred Fletcher anymore. He was a colorful character with a kind and caring heart. It’s good to remember good men and women.  Their legacies help inspire all of us to be better people.

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  • Mr. French May 5, 2008

    I've known his name nearly all my life, but I remember him best for appearing on the Uncle Paul show each week as "Uncle Fred" and reading stories.

  • curiousgeorgia May 5, 2008

    He may have been a very nice person to his equals but he was very unkind to me when I waited on him a couple of times. And he said I was smiling too much. He wasn't laughing when he said it, either

  • blytle May 5, 2008

    I got to know Fred when I worked for the NC Association of Broadcasters. I had a chance to interview him for a documentary we produced for the 50th Anniversary of the Association. I, too, remember his book because he gave me an autographed copy after the interview. What a delightful character he was!

  • Brian Shrader May 5, 2008

    I recommend Fred Fletcher's book, "Tempus Fugit." It's a great look at the history of WRAL Radio and TV. I frequently see affordable used copies at Reader's Corner on Hillsborough Street.

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