Title: Naval Reserves Lieutenant Commander, World War II; police detective
Birthdate: January 31, 1904
Death Date: October 7, 1976
Plot Location: Section F, Range 1, Lot 2

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Fred’s parents had been married 19 years with three teenagers by the time he was born. He was the last of nine children, but two boys who were twins only survived one day. Fred and his two brothers were outnumbered by four girls, and they grew up in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of Philadelphia, where their father was an ironworker.

His brothers were Daniel, born in 1892, and Frank, born in 1901. Daniel set a precedent for the others to follow when he enlisted for a tour with the Navy from 1910-1914. Frank somehow managed to join the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1917 and the Army took him to France the following year. (Frank’s own Notable story can be found here.

Fred served his country at an even earlier age, going to sea with the Navy after enlisting on July 1, 1919. He told them he was born in 1902, but he was actually just 15 years old. The USS Nevada was his home when the 1920 census was taken, stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The battleship cruised to South America for various events, including the Peruvian Centennial Exposition in 1921 and the centennial of Brazilian independence in 1922. 

After his discharge, Fred stayed on with the Naval Reserves from 1923 until the start of the Korean War. He was following once more in his brother’s footsteps because Frank was with the Army National Guard until World War II. However, Fred did beat his brother in one career move when he joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1925, a year before Frank did.

In 1924 they lost Daniel to tuberculosis. He was a lumber inspector for the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden. They used a lot of wood to build 8.2 million Victor and Victrola phonograph cabinets between 1906 and the end of the 1920s. Then their mother died in 1929 and their father in 1930.

One of Fred’s best decisions in life was finding his wife, Mary McGuckin. They made their home on South 28th Street for over 40 years and had two boys, Fred Jr. in 1928 and Frank Daniel in 1938. During his 42 years on the force, Fred rose to the rank of Detective Sergeant, and won a number of citations and commendations, including the 1940 Policeman of the Year from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The country required his service during the second world war, where he held the rank of Lieutenant Commander. For 14 months Fred was overseas, attached to Utility Squadron #6, Service Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. His active duty discharge came in November of 1945, he retired from the Naval Reserve in 1950, then officially retired from the police in 1967.

Fred’s life set a precedent for his sons to follow, which they did. Fred Jr. served in the Navy from 1946-1948, was a Philadelphia police officer, and had a career as a longshoreman when he died in 1987, leaving 11 children. His younger brother, Frank, started with the police, was a detective for the District Attorney’s Office and later became Captain of the city’s South Division detectives. 

Fred Sr. and Mary are listed on the lower right side of this stone beneath his sister, Ethel, and brother, Daniel. His parents, Margaret and Daniel, are on the left side above his brother, Frank, and Frank’s wife Olga.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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