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Surprise Funeral Care

16063 W. Bell Rd, Surprise, AZ

OBITUARY

Fred Martell French

July 30, 1943August 6, 2019
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Smokey (Fred M.) French How do we tell you about this wonderful man who served his country and his family in so many honorable ways? The milestones of his life are the Navy, the Police, his family, his church, and his friends. His life’s impact is what we come to celebrate. Fred “Smokey” French was born on July 30, 1943 to Edward and Dorothy French in Denver, Colorado. He was the 3rd of 4 sons. Smokey grew up in and around Thornton, Colorado. In High School he not only played football, he boxed. In those times, to be on the football team meant your team was your family. They ate together, played together, worshiped together. He was part of the First Free Southern Methodist Church of Thornton. He came to know his Savior during this time. Smokey joined the navy in 1963 and the biggest adventure of his life began. He served in many capacities, initially, he went to sea. He loved his time at sea, but soon we was called into the role that would lead to his life’s careers. He became a part of the shore patrol as a deserter chaser. This led him to 53 countries and many adventures to bring deserters back. It was also during this time that his father passed away at the age of 56. Once there wasn’t the need for deserter chasers, the navy reassigned him, and he became a yeoman. He had many duty stations, including The Pentagon. As his naval career progressed, he used his Yeoman skills as part of the active duty team at Reserve Centers around the country. He loved the opportunities this role brought him. In June of 1978 he was to meet the ultimate love of his life. Patti Bohm came into his life as a 2nd class CTA Reservist. She wanted something that had never been done before. She wanted to change rates out of the CT community. Everyone had told her that wasn’t going to happen, she would have to get out of the Navy first, well Smokey made it happen and she got her rate changed. Smokey and Patti dated on and off for the next 4 years. In 1979 he went back to school, and became a Reserve Police Officer for the City of Long Beach, California. This was going to be his Career after he left the navy. In 1982 Smokey and Patti got back together, and became each other’s soul mate. They were married Christmas Eve. Smokey adopted Patti’s two children (Cyndi and Debi). A whole new world had come into his life, Girls! He was raised in a family of boys, he had no experience with girls. But he made them his own. He became the best Dad, participating in their lives in so many ways. In 1988 he retired from the navy, and the family returned to California. He went back to the Police reserves for a while, and of course loved it. But the police was not to be his career. He was getting too old, so the hunt was on for a new career. He put his skills together, and tried many different things. He was a Jewelry Courier in the Los Angeles Jewelry market, he was heavily involved in the Security Industry, which ultimately led him to be the Director of Security for the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. This position was his dream job. He loved every moment, but it was not to last. His health was getting the better of him. He retired from work in 2008. He met and made many friends throughout his life. He was finally able to become active in Church, and did so with Gusto. At the same time, he was going through many medical conditions that would be with him through the rest of his life. In 2013 Smokey and Patti moved to Arizona so they could take care of her parents and make a home with her brother. His medical issues continued, his wife, Patti and daughters took care of him and on August 6, 2019 he was released from this earthly life to meet his Lord and Savior. He has joined his Grandparents, parents and two of his brothers. Smokey is survived by his wife, Patti, His daughters, Cyndi Denson and Debi French. His grandchildren, Grace, Joseph, Katherine and Jack Denson. He is also survived by his brother Michael French. Joint us as we mark his passing and celebrate his life. Smokey's final place of rest will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.

Services

  • Graveside Service Friday, August 16, 2019
  • Memorial Celebration Saturday, August 17, 2019

Memories

Fred Martell French

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