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Earthman Funeral Directors

8303 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX

OBITUARY

Fred Charles Yaggi

October 2, 1923June 17, 2020

Our dear dad and Pepaw, Fred Charles Yaggi, peacefully left this earth for God’s tender loving arms on June 17, 2020. He was born the youngest of eight children to Wilhelmina and Emil Yaggi on October 2, 1923 in Houston, Texas. Even at the young age of 96, our dad had a fervent will to live and a zest for life. He was a simple man with great ideas. Up until his final days, his mind was full of projects - always working with his hands.

Like so many patriots, Fred enlisted at the early age of 17 to fight in World War II. He served as a flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-17s in the 414th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group H, 15th Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Corps in the European Theater. Fred completed his 50 mission requirement ahead of his own crew, in record time of 90 days, by volunteering to fly on other bombers for men who could not or would not fly. He was trying to hurry home to his sweetheart, Ethelgene. Because he felt uneasy about his replacement on his crew’s 50th and final mission, a dangerous bomb run over Munich, he asked Captain Mayer if he could fly instead. Fred’s 51st unrequired mission resulted in his saving the lives of his entire crew.

By the end of the war Fred had attained the rank of Technical Sergeant, had flown in eight European bombing campaigns, and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with seven stars. He credited the military for “saving his life” as it gave him direction and purpose. In his words, “It was the best part of my life.”

Our dad grew up in the Heights during hard times and with a very limited education. Following the war he returned home to his bride Ethelgene Ferguson to whom he was married for 34 years. They were known as a handsome couple who tore up the dance floor “jitterbugging.” He worked a second job to provide for his family and eventually began a business in his garage which evolved into a successful tool and die company, Fyco Tool & Die, Inc. He also co-founded Excel Stamping & Manufacturing, Inc. He was highly respected, trusted, and a master of his trade.

Fred is survived by his daughters Charlotte Schoedinger and husband Bob Chovanec, Pam Slovacek and husband Joe, and his son Freddie Yaggi and wife Debra; his grandchildren Matt Yaggi, Preston Yaggi, Marlee Calvert and husband Jess, Samuel Slovacek and wife Natalie, Madison Kauffman and husband Jake; his great grandchildren Wyatt, Caroline, and Mary Elizabeth Calvert; Michael, Charlotte, Mae, Samuel, and Joseph Slovacek. He is also survived by Joy McNamara, the love of his life in his sunset years. She was the spark and motivation for him and is responsible in part for his long and fruitful life.

He was a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Many years of his life were spent hunting, fishing, and golfing with family and close friends. Fred enjoyed 35 years of sobriety and was blessed with many meaningful relationships during his journey.

Fred will be remembered as a fiercely independent man, a person of integrity, one who appreciated hard work and lived by it. He was proud to be a patriotic member of “the Greatest Generation.” A day did not go by without his thanking God for his life. He spent his last day holding his family close and exchanging love and gratitude. We are forever blessed and give God the glory.

Those honored to serve as Pallbearers are Jess Calvert, Wyatt Calvert, Jake Kauffman, Michael Slovacek, Samuel Slovacek, Matt Yaggi, and Preston Yaggi.

Following a private family burial, a celebration of our dad’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, June 24, at Chapelwood United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Savior Lutheran Church, to which he was thankful for being a member, or to a charity of your choice.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Memories

Fred Charles Yaggi

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Yvonne Nelson

July 5, 2020

He was the best UNCLE I had. I am so sad he passed away. I loved him and told him the last time I spoke to him.

Joy McNamara

June 28, 2020

I miss you. I love you.
Joy

Doak McBryde

June 22, 2020

Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. His service to his country brings great pride which I’m sure you have all felt.

Biography

Our dear dad and Pepaw, Fred Charles Yaggi, peacefully left this earth for God’s tender loving arms on June 17, 2020. He was born the youngest of eight children to Wilhelmina and Emil Yaggi on October 2, 1923 in Houston, Texas. Even at the young age of 96, our dad had a fervent will to live and a zest for life. He was a simple man with great ideas. Up until his final days, his mind was full of projects - always working with his hands.

Like so many patriots, Fred enlisted at the early age of 17 to fight in World War II. He served as a flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-17s in the 414th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group H, 15th Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Corps in the European Theater. Fred completed his 50 mission requirement ahead of his own crew, in record time of 90 days, by volunteering to fly on other bombers for men who could not or would not fly. He was trying to hurry home to his sweetheart, Ethelgene. Because he felt uneasy about his replacement on his crew’s 50th and final mission, a dangerous bomb run over Munich, he asked Captain Mayer if he could fly instead. Fred’s 51st unrequired mission resulted in his saving the lives of his entire crew.

By the end of the war Fred had attained the rank of Technical Sergeant, had flown in eight European bombing campaigns, and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with seven stars. He credited the military for “saving his life” as it gave him direction and purpose. In his words, “It was the best part of my life.”

Our dad grew up in the Heights during hard times and with a very limited education. Following the war he returned home to his bride Ethelgene Ferguson to whom he was married for 34 years. They were known as a handsome couple who tore up the dance floor “jitterbugging.” He worked a second job to provide for his family and eventually began a business in his garage which evolved into a successful tool and die company, Fyco Tool & Die, Inc. He also co-founded Excel Stamping & Manufacturing, Inc. He was highly respected, trusted, and a master of his trade.

Fred is survived by his daughters Charlotte Schoedinger and husband Bob Chovanec, Pam Slovacek and husband Joe, and his son Freddie Yaggi and wife Debra; his grandchildren Matt Yaggi, Preston Yaggi, Marlee Calvert and husband Jess, Samuel Slovacek and wife Natalie, Madison Kauffman and husband Jake; his great grandchildren Wyatt, Caroline, and Mary Elizabeth Calvert; Michael, Charlotte, Mae, Samuel, and Joseph Slovacek. He is also survived by Joy McNamara, the love of his life in his sunset years. She was the spark and motivation for him and is responsible in part for his long and fruitful life.

He was a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Many years of his life were spent hunting, fishing, and golfing with family and close friends. Fred enjoyed 35 years of sobriety and was blessed with many meaningful relationships during his journey.

Fred will be remembered as a fiercely independent man, a person of integrity, one who appreciated hard work and lived by it. He was proud to be a patriotic member of “the Greatest Generation.” A day did not go by without his thanking God for his life. He spent his last day holding his family close and exchanging love and gratitude. We are forever blessed and give God the glory.

Those honored to serve as Pallbearers are Jess Calvert, Wyatt Calvert, Jake Kauffman, Michael Slovacek, Samuel Slovacek, Matt Yaggi, and Preston Yaggi.

Following a private family burial, a celebration of our dad’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, June 24, at Chapelwood United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Savior Lutheran Church, to which he was thankful for being a member, or to a charity of your choice.