Frederick James Cook Mundt was born April 10, 1929, the youngest of three brothers born in Eau Clare, WI at the start of the great depression. His mother, Mary, a school teacher, and his father, Bill, a railroad engineer in Spooner, WI. At a young age, he moved with his mother and brother, Dan to Shawano, WI, where as a high school freshman, he won the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) 50 yard dash.
Fred attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was the youngest player on the 150 pound football team when they won the Big Ten Championship in 1947. This was the start of a love for the UW Badgers, which would last his entire life and be passed on to future generations. He and his wife, Joan, were blessed to be able to watch the badgers in person as they played in 3 Rose Bowl games.
He married his late wife, Joan (Lucas) Mundt in 1952. They had four children, Merry Jo (David) Harmon, Rick Mundt (Kim Kessler), Randy (Liza Wright) Mundt, Steve (Tina) Mundt; nine grandchildren, Lucas Mundt, Chris Harmon, Rachel Kendall, Sarah Harmon, Abby Mundt, Emily Harmon, Aaron Harmon, Ally Mundt, Bekah (Matt) Hale; and three great grandchildren, Ava Fosdyck, Evelyn Hale and Olivia Carbo.
Fred received his BS (1951) and PhD (1960) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an advanced degree from the University of Illinois. He retired as a tenured professor at SIU-E.
He attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
Fred, was a long-time member of the 1st United Methodist Church in Wood River, serving on numerous boards over the years. He and Joan were long-time volunteers at the Railroad Memories Museum in Spooner, WI. He supported and guided not only his children but many other youth as a Boy Scout Leader and official for swim meets over the years. He and his wife lived for a year in Australia while he taught at University of Queensland in Brisbane while on sabbatical.
A career educator, he was also a lifetime learner and traveler, who, during his extensive travels with Joan, could never pass by a museum without entering and expanding his knowledge of all things pedestrian to exotic. He loved collecting broken electrical gadgets and toys to figure out how to fix them; he was a tinkerer at heart. He was a great, diligent correspondent/letter writer (though his handwriting by his own admission was closer to chicken scratch), and he had the rare gift for observing and sharing the little things that he saw, experienced, and especially ate. Few people enjoyed dining more than he did, and he never met a cuisine or food he didn't want to try, and enjoyed most of what he found. He was a curator of all things, from the mundane to the arcane, and could ace most trivial pursuit games and quizzes. He could recite numerous poems, and on road trips he was an endless jukebox of popular songs from the 20's to the 50's. He nurtured a love of the outdoors at the family property, "The Manner" and on countless camping trips. He was happy to point out constellations and the proper way to handle an ax and build a fire, as well as demonstrating a particularly deft touch with a canoe paddle to whack unsuspecting bow paddlers on the back. He loved music, especially anything with a good beat or syncopation (i.e., Dixieland), he loved to polka dance, and he had a great laugh, which he shared often. As a parent and grandparent he carried on teaching the Socratic Method, but was a practicing sentimentalist. He always encouraged hard work and doing your best, which is usually how he ended his phone conversations.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years; his parents; his brothers, John and Dan; John's wife, Dorothy; two nephews, Chuck and John; and numerous well-loved pets.
A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held at a later date.
Marks Mortuary in Wood River was entrusted with arrangements.