Russell Fredrick Fechter, 92
Russell Fredrick Fechter, 92, of Red Wing, died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, Dec. 24.
He was born May 29, 1921, in Mankato, to Fredrick and Irene (Kendall) Fechter and graduated from Mankato High in 1941. During his senior year, he set a record in high school athletics that has never been matched - he was All-State in football and basketball and won the quarter mile at the state track meet. He continued his education and athletics at the University of South Dakota, where he was first string in football and basketball and was on the track team. Mid-way through his sophomore year, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was first pilot on a B-17. He flew 15 missions over Germany and during his 15th mission was shot down and became a German P.O.W until the war ended in 1946. While a pilot, he received the Air Medal twice and the Distinguished Flying Corps, the highest medal in the Air Corps. On Aug. 15, 1945, he was united in marriage to JoAnn Lowe, and after Russell graduated from college with a degree in teaching, they moved to Red Wing where he became the head high school football coach. During his 8 years as the head coach, they won the Big "9" championship twice. He left his coaching job and went to work for Red Wing Shoe Company where he retired as vice president of distribution in 1985. JoAnn died in 2001. On April 20, 2012, he was united in marriage to his second wife, Roxanne Dunn.
He was a past member of the Red Wing Lions Club, chairman of the Goodhue County Centennial, president of the board of directors of the YMCA, president of Red Wing Associates, served on the board of directors of the Minnesota Better Business Bureau for 10 years, and he also served on the board of directors for the development of Bergwall Arena.
Russ became active in amateur baseball when he was a co-chair for the fundraising of the building of the Red Wing Athletic Field. He also served as the co-chairman of the 1985 and 1991 MN State Amateur Baseball Tournaments. He was very active in the care and development of the Red Wing Athletic Field and received the "Grounds Keeper Field" award from the MN State High School League in 2000, as well as the Loren "Mike" Downes award from the MN Baseball Association in 2001. He was president of the MN Baseball Hall of Fame for 14 years and was inducted into it in 2003.
Russ is survived by his wife, Roxanne of Red Wing; a son, Victor (Christine) Fechter of Sacramento, Calif.; two granddaughters, Lindsey (Quentin) Fechter-Godbouldt and Kayla Fechter, both of Sacramento; great-granddaughter, Jaela Godbouldt; and one brother, Ken (Delores) Fechter of Salt Lake City, Utah.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, JoAnn; son, Thomas Fechter; grandson, Judson Fechter; 2 sisters Shirley, and Marguerite; and a brother, Charles.
Memorial service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at First Presbyterian Church, with The Reverend Dr. David Reiter officiating. Burial with Military Honors by the Leo C. Peterson American Legion #54 will be at Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel and for one hour prior to the service.
Memorials preferred to Mayo Clinic Health Systems Red Wing Hospice.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.