Frederick Dean Margrif

MARQUETTE, MI – Frederick Dean Margrif, age 78, of Marquette, entered eternal life Wednesday, September 22, 2021, in the presence of family at Trillium House. He fought a valiant fight since being diagnosed with ALS in January, but that is a fight one cannot win.

Frederick was born on a dairy farm at home September 29, 1942, in North Branch, Michigan. He was the second of three sons born to Christ and Lois Margrif (Mabery)

He was co-captain of the football and baseball teams and received the Athlete of the Year Award. He also received an athletic award at the Football Banquet. After a long day doing farm work, his father, Christ Margrif, would give him one cent or sometimes a nickel. Then he would go up to the dairy store to buy baseball cards. His sons, Trent and Lance, also participated in card collecting and this was the impetus for traveling to watch baseball games in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit.

Fred received an academic scholarship at Michigan State University, receiving a BS in Accounting in 1964 and an MBA in 1966. He met his wife of 55 years at MSU and the summer after graduation Fred married Carol Jean Brown from Brown City, another small town in the thumb area of Michigan. Trent Elwyn Margrif arrived in July of 1976, and Lance Christopher Margrif was born in November 1977. Trent has had a career leading historic preservation non-profit organizations in the states of Oklahoma, Delaware, and Wisconsin. He presently teaches at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina along with his wife, Dr. Andrea Burns and both are involved in various historical projects in and around that area. They are parents to 2 girls; Amelia Rose, 10 and Lydia Marie, 5. Lance recently moved back to Marquette after working in Hospitality Management in Lansing for 18 years. He works for Staybridge Suites as Assistant General Manager and Sales Manager and lives with his wife Barbara and 2 girls; Lily Alice, 9 and Emma Lynn, 6.

In order to finance his MBA at MSU, Fred worked for an international public accounting firm and the cost and internal audit departments at Buick Motor Division. After obtaining his MBA, he taught 2 years as an accounting instructor at Ferris State University. He also taught one year at Central Missouri State University. During the completion of his PhD at University of Missouri at Columbia, Fred was in charge of the International Accounting program at Mizzou with students from China, Japan and South Korea. Upon receiving the degree he chose to teach at Northern Michigan University (NMU) and Fred and Carol have resided in Marquette ever since.

In 1991 Fred received the NMU Distinguished Faculty Award (DFA). The DFA is the top academic honor at Northern and nominees are evaluated on their teaching and other campus responsibilities, academic research, scholarship and creative activities, and university or professionally related community service. While at NMU he published in 8 refereed journals with 2 receiving front page coverage. Most of these involved cost management in hospitals. He was also the first person in the UP to receive the Certificate in Management Accounting (CMA) and was involved in establishing the first National Association of Accounting organization in the Upper Peninsula.

Fred was a man with a strong Christian faith; he was a Stephen Minister, Certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church as well as a UM hospital visitor at UPHS. While at the First United Methodist Church (now Marquette Hope), under the leadership of Reverend Ben Bohnsack, Fred, as Finance Chair, was instrumental in providing financial information for a “Miracle Sunday”ù to retire the mortgage on the Education Building. He also sang tenor in the church choir for 49 years and was involved in many different committees during that time, chairing many of them. As a board member of Camp Michigamme he developed a cost benefit study which allowed the camp to remain under the ownership of the UP churches and not part of the Conference Camping Program downstate. He also was a Camp Counselor for many years.

In 1997, he went to Detroit Tiger Fantasy Camp with Jim Godell. He received instruction from the 23 Tiger Alumni, played 7 games against the other campers, playoffs, and then played another game against the Tiger Alumni. Since Fred was the only catcher on the team, several days he caught 2 games in one day because some pitchers wanted a real catcher. He still managed to bat .500 and loved this experience.

Another unique experience was teaching in Vienna, Austria for the Fall semester in 1997. Fred was the only American professor, while the rest were from Vienna; he taught “Cost Accounting in Central Europe”. His sons transferred from Michigan State while his wife was able to get a part-time sub for the ALAM office in town and the family went together and enjoyed a phenomenal experience. The family picked grapes from the field and saw how they processed the wine having lunch in the wine cellar. This was a fourth generation family’s vineyard of Trent and Lance’s host. After the teaching experience, they visited Switzerland, Germany and Hungary. The positive overseas experience resulted in subsequent traveling to Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Belgium, Netherlands (bike and barge trip), Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Scotland, nearly all Canadian Provinces and 3/4 of the United States.

One disappointment was never traveling to Antarctica; they thought it a little too risky for age and health issues.

They enjoyed sharing their beautiful trips by presenting classes for the NCLL and other groups. Upon retiring, Fred was a medical transporter 15 years with the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). His qualities of being courteous, considerate, amiable, and empathetic made transporting a great fit for his retirement years. He also volunteered for night shift at RATI (Room at the Inn) and spent 2 years with the Pathways Community Mental Health Board and with Northcare Governing Board before being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He enjoyed the variety of cultural arts Marquette has to offer and helped support their programming. He was a member of the NMU Retirees Association and watched many NMU volleyball and basketball terrific baseball games the past 20 years. Besides traveling and biking with his wife Carol, particularly on Hilton Head Island the last 15 years, Fred loved baking tasty treats, picking blueberries, adding to his collection of outstanding baseball memorabilia, his nearly daily visits to swim at PEIF and read the newspapers at PWPL. Until the last 10 years he could be found on the local ski trails.

Survivors include his wife; Carol, sons; Trent (Andrea), and Lance (Barbara) and four granddaughters, a brother; Frank (Monica) of Imaly City, MI, brother; Ralph (Joyce) Margrif from Davison, MI, brother-in-law; Dale Brown (Margaret) of Holt, MI and sister-in-law; Edythe Williams of Apple Valley, MN, 98 year old aunt Dorothy Martus who never missed sending him a birthday card, many nieces and nephews, and so many supportive neighbors and friends of the Marquette community.

He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father in-laws. Fred was a kind, gentle man and loved to talk with friends and strangers alike about anything that was on his mind. He had a very warm heart and loved assisting anyone in need of help. His four granddaughters occupied a special place in his heart and he enjoyed having them help him with putting on his BlueRocker braces and teaching them his PT exercises, reading stories, and listening to newest reading skills as they developed. Generous, practical, rational, reliable, resourceful, and sensible described this good accountant.

A time of visitation will be held at Marquette Hope United Methodist Church from 11 am – 1 pm, Wednesday, October 13, with a service celebrating his life beginning at 1:00. The family requests masks for all who attend and a social event will be held in their home at a later date as well as a summer event downstate. The family would like to express their appreciation for the staff at Lake Superior Hospice and the Trillium House for such excellent compassionate and professional care during his last few days as well as all the nurses, therapists, home health aides, nurse case manager Maureen Jensen, and Dr. Christopher Dehlin and his staff who tended to him throughout the past 9 months. The guidance and knowledge of the ALS Multidisciplinary Team at the University of Michigan was a great help early on.

Please consider a memorial donation to ALS Association at ALS.org/donate, Trillium House, UP Land Conservancy, Iron Ore Heritage Trail, or Peter White Public Library.

“Tonight I stand here overwhelmed as my name is linked with the great and courageous Lou Gehrig. I know that if Lou Gehrig is looking down on tonight’s activities, he isn’t concerned about someone playing one more consecutive game than he did. Instead he’s viewing tonight as just another example of what is good and right about the great American game.” – Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles, address to crowd in Camden Yards the night he broke the consecutive games played record. The crowd began to chant, “Lou, Lou.” Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderswansonhansen.com.