Obituary: Frederick Ernest Juliano

Frederick Ernest Juliano passed away peacefully on December 6, 2022 at the age of 91 in Bozeman, Montana.

Frederick was born in Chicago to poor Italian immigrants, the last of nine children, three of whom died in infants. The timing of his birth at the beginning of the Great Depression was financially challenging for his family. Italian-Americans were widely discriminated against, particularly for jobs. When Fred was two years old, his father was unemployed and applied for every job he thought he could hire. Unable to afford to take the tram, he walked to and from potential employers. After returning home from such an exertion in the cold rain, he contracted pneumonia and died.

After that, Fred’s mother sewed clothes at home for piecework wages while raising 6 children as a single mother. Most of Fred’s siblings had to drop out of school before entering high school, driven by the need to work and earn money for the family. Although the financial situation was tight, the family was strong and the music was always important. With financial support from his siblings, Fred learned to play the trumpet as a child, his mother wanted his lungs to be strong enough that he would never succumb to pneumonia like his father.

Some of Fred’s friends who lived in a rough neighborhood weren’t considered good influences by his mother. She was able to get him into Sacred Heart Seminary in Melrose Park IL from the age of 13 – the youngest student there. While there he studied piano and graduated in early June 1948 at the age of 16. He then entered DePaul University and majored in music (trumpet).

Fred worked multiple jobs to pay for college while caring for his mother, and soon realized that his musical talent and education, while strong by neighborhood standards, would leave him with limited career prospects as a professional musician. He left DePaul and enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 with intentions of becoming a fighter pilot in the Korean War.

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Soon after joining the Air Force, he learned he was too young to start pilot training and went into meteorology instead. This specialization led to him being first stationed at Thule Air Force Base (in Greenland), where he helped maintain the US’s northernmost radar stations nearby, which would give the US the first notification of bombers arriving from the Soviet Union . His last posting in 1954 was on T-3, Fletcher’s Ice Island – a huge iceberg floating around the Arctic Circle. As part of a small crew of 9, he took weather readings to be used in the event USAF strategic bombers needed to be sent over the North Pole.

On T-3, Fred worked with a civilian geophysicist to conduct scientific marine measurements. Intrigued and nearing the end of his Air Force tenure, he decided his next move was to pursue an engineering degree. He did this by earning a BS in Civil Engineering (majoring in Building Construction) from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1958. He was the first in his family to earn a college degree.

In 1964, after a few shorter jobs and a brief first marriage, Fred began working as a civil engineer for the Metropolitan Sanitary District of the greater Chicago area. There he met the woman who would become his lifelong wife, Frances. Fred earned an MS in Environmental Engineering from IIT in 1967.

Frederick and Frances married in April 1969 and had their first son, Daniel, in January 1970 while living in downtown Chicago. Fred, then a smoker, tried his best to keep the smoke away from his newborn son and wife, opening the window of their apartment for the cold Chicago winter. This effectively resulted in the apartment becoming both smoky and cold. Disgusted by this result, Fred exercised his strong self-discipline and abruptly (and permanently) quit smoking while simultaneously going on a diet.

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The young family moved to the Chicago suburb of Roselle in 1971. The second son Patrick was born in 1974. The family led a generally idyllic life there for almost three decades, surrounded by wonderful neighbors and a friendly community. Leading by example, Fred returned to playing both trumpet and piano, and also took up the cello while his sons played in the school band. Fred arranged several pieces of music and even composed an original Italian-style “Old Time March” all for the middle school band’s performance. He played trumpet with the DuPage County Symphony Orchestra and in numerous musicals at St. Marcelline Church in Schaumburg.

In his 40s, Fred played competitive tennis in his spare time. In his 50s he injured his right shoulder and was no longer able to serve. Undaunted, he simply learned to serve with his left arm. What he lost in physical prowess he made up for by playing two-handed, a nerve-wracking experience for opponents.

A lifelong learner, Fred became interested in computer science in the 1980s and attended night school at DePaul University. He retired from the Sanitary District in 1989 and received his master’s degree in computer science in 1990. In 1991 he began teaching at two local community colleges (College of DuPage and Harper College).

Fred took up golf and tackled it with the same intensity and frugality as his other pursuits – he began watching over 30 golf-related videos from the local library, writing summaries, and grading each one on an A to F scale.

He also used his intellect and discipline to learn to sail, something he’s always wanted to do but didn’t have the time to do before. In 1995, Frederick and Frances purchased a 33-foot sailboat and sailed Lake Michigan from Winthrop Harbor for years, occasionally accompanied by one or both of their sons.

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In 1998 they moved into a new Fred designed home on a golf course in Morris, IL and gave up their sailboat to focus on golf.

In 2014 they moved to Mesquite NV where they enjoyed the warm weather, played bridge and Fred joined the local pistol club (competitive target shooting). However, in later years, Frances was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Frederick took care of her as long as he could. But in late 2021, Fred developed symptoms of metastatic colon cancer and was no longer able to care for Frances. In early 2022 they both moved into Highgate senior living in Bozeman MT, close to son Daniel. There they spent most afternoons and evenings together until Frances died in late April.

Throughout his life, Fred maintained the strong values ​​that allowed his family to endure the depression while he worked to find his own way up from humble beginnings. What his family lacked in financial resources and privilege, he made up for in determination, discipline, achievement, and a healthy contrarian instinct. He aspired to share his hard-won knowledge to become a leader and example to others close to him – nephews, nieces and friends as well as his sons. His favorite piece of advice for a happy life: You need someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.

Frederick was preceded in death by his parents, 7 of his 8 siblings (excluding Jerry, now 103 years old) and his wife. He is survived by his two sons, Daniel and Patrick; and 6 grandchildren: Daniel, Ellie, David, Sarah, Claire and Francesca.

The family is planning a private celebration of Frederick’s life in the Chicago area this summer.

The arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]

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