Frederick Walter Phelps Jr.

April 25, 1937May 4, 2021

In 2 Timothy 4:7 the Apostle Paul is at the end of his life. He writes “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

We believe that Fred Phelps fought the good fight…finished the race…and kept the faith. We know we will get to see him again in Heaven someday. We mourn his loss, but not as those with no hope…we just miss him. We miss his good humor, love of family and friends, his spiritual example, and his presence with us.

Frederick Walter Phelps was born on April 25th, 1937 to parents Frederick Walter Phelps, Sr. and Aletha Smyers Phelps, and passed unexpectedly on May 4th, 2021. He had a sister Deborah Phelps Walker who preceded him in death. He married Jill (Cuchetti) Phelps who passed away May 28th, 2010. Fred truly became part of the Cuchetti family as a mentor to her younger siblings and an integral part of their family’s structure. Fred and Jill were married almost 48 years and have 4 children who survive: Michael (Kim) Phelps, Jennifer (Jeff) Keessen, Corey (Ed) Sutter, and Joanna (Shannon) Poynter. Fred was thrilled to be “Pops” to his and Jill’s eleven grandkids: Charlotte, Tess, Alexander, Isaac, Nick, Sam, Jonah, Jack, Abby, and Piper who survive, and Isabelle who preceded him in death. Fred and his first great-grandchild, Lily, were delighted to meet each other shortly after she was born last year.

In November of 2015, Fred married Judy (Foster Detering) Phelps, who survives. He loved her dearly and cherished her, and was blessed to be welcomed into her wonderful family. Todd (Amy) Detering, Chris (Becky) Detering, and Lori (Jeff) Broadwick along with grandkids (they called him Mr. Fred!) Caroline (Carrie), Luke, Lily, Jessica, Kelsey, Zach, Emy, and Becca shared a close bond with Fred with many wonderful memories made over his last several years.

In the “dash” between 1937 – 2021 Fred lived an exemplary Christian life. After growing up outside Pittsburgh (leaving his mark as an all-state, state champion football lineman), he received his business degree from Davis and Elkins University. He retired early from his job as Senior VP of Michigan Physician’s Liability Insurance Company in Lansing, Michigan to care for his wife Jill. He exemplified true love and devotion as he cared for her to the very end. Beyond family and friends, he loved Michigan State sports and built relationships with many others through their mutual love for the Spartans! His favorite clothes were green! Fred collected and fixed clocks and watches - and for many years the family home ticked, tocked, chirped and chimed (much to the dismay of his kids) every hour around the clock. He loved his Pittsburgh Steelers, animals, his classic Ford Mustang and his antique Ford truck! He loved wintering in Florida and entertaining friends and family down there.

Fred’s was a life well and fully lived!

A Memorial Service will be held Friday, June 11, 2021 at 11:00 am at Trinity Church, 3355 Dunckel Road in Lansing with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. Contributions can be made to Trinity Church or to Capital Area Humane Society.


  • Memorial Service

    Friday, June 11, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Friday, June 11, 2021


Frederick Walter Phelps Jr.

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