Walter Fredenhagen, Jr.


AMBOY — Walter Fredenhagen, Jr., better known to friends as “Ted,” passed away in peace on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at his home in Amboy, at the age of 97 after battling COPD and Covid.

Ted was born Feb. 28, 1925, in Naperville, son of Walter and Grace Fredenhagen. He grew up in Naperville, and attended North Central College after serving in the Marine Corp for 3 years during World War II.

Ted was preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother, James Dean Fredenhagen; his sister Jeanne Moen; and sister, Rita Harvard.

He is survived by son James Scott Fredenhagen of Anchorage, Alaska; daughter, Laura Jean Schaefer, of Amboy; son, Gary Robert Fredenhagen of Boulder Junction, Wis.; daughter, Jane Ann Herron of Newburg, Mo.; daughter, Debra Sue Zellhofer, of Amboy; 10 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.

From the time he was a youngster, Ted loved music. His mother, Grace, was an outstanding musician, serving as accompanist for the Marshall Field Choir in Chicago, and Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville. At his mother’s request, young Ted would sing in her church choir to offset the older, out-of-tune gentlemen. When he was in junior high, Ted took up trumpet playing and never stopped. With two friends he formed “The Men of Swing,” a trio that played once a week on the radio in Aurora and wherever they could find a gig.

After high school, Ted joined the Marine Corp. In 1944, in California, he served as a drill instructor, sighted aircraft armament, and played in the Marine Band. As his unit was preparing to ship abroad, Ted was “pulled out” in order to continue playing in the Marine Band. Later in life, Ted was honored to serve as bugler with the Amboy Honor Guard at funerals for many local veterans.

After his Military Service, Ted married Mary Alice Godshalk and together they raised five children: Jim, Lonnie, Gary, Jane, and Debbie. Ted attended North Central College for two years, majoring in Business. He was an outstanding athlete, competing in football and track.

Ted worked with his father, Walter, in the family business, Prince Castle Ice Cream Corporation. The business was started in 1931 and was the “first” in what later became known as the Fast Food Industry. In 1955 Walter and Ted expanded and renamed the business “Cock Robin.” There were 25 stores in the suburban Chicago area. The stores were sold in 1991. Ted and Walter reorganized over time and relocated to Amboy.

His career and family kept him busy, but Ted would occasionally hold jam sessions in his home. During the 90’s, his Naperville High School Class Reunion committee asked him to have his high school band trio come together to play. Ted named them “Class Act.” They began to meet regularly and grew in number. Ted eventually reformed the Band to operate out of Amboy, using musicians primarily from the local region. Class Act expanded to include nineteen members and was a true Big Band. Each year Ted would host a “Barn Bash” at his farm for Class Act and friends. For over 30 years, Class Act Big Band has performed throughout northern Illinois for those who love to listen and dance to the classic music of the Swing Era.

Ted Fredenhagen has held many friends and family members close over the years. His spirit of love and generosity is his legacy, and he will never be forgotten.

A Visitation will be held from 1 - 3 p.m. followed by the Funeral service at Mihm-Jones Funeral Home in Amboy, on Dec. 10, 2022. A Celebration of Life will follow at a later date. 

Online condolences can be left at www.thejonesfh.com.

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