Frederick Ernest Engelken

Published 8:25 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

Frederick Ernest Engelken, 96, of Hillsdale, New Jersey died October 10, 2019 peacefully at home in Southern Shores. Fred was born in Paterson, New Jersey on April 12, 1923.

He attended St. Paul’s Lutheran church school in Paterson where his maternal Grandfather Louis Luecke taught. He then graduated from Paterson Eastside High School in 1939 and attended Paterson State Teachers College for three years. His college career was put on hold as he entered the service under the V-12 program attending Drew University and then Columbia University four months each to obtain his Navy commission. From 1943 to 1946 he served as a Lieutenant J.G. executive officer in the U.S. Navy and spent 2 years in the Pacific during World War 2 on LCI’s (Landing Craft Infantry). Fred saw action in the Philippines and during the battle of Leyte Gulf his LCI was severely damaged by a Japanese Kamikaze suicide bomber.

Following his discharge from the Navy he earned his bachelor’s degree from Montclair State, and later, his master’s in education. Frederick’s first teaching job in 1947 was at Garfield High School and then in 1948 at Tappan Zee High School and finally, at Westwood High school starting in 1949. Fred was a history teach for 40 years until his retirement in 1987.  He coached many sports on the Varsity and JV levels over the years, but his longest tenure was coaching varsity basketball at Westwood where his teams won over 100 games.

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Fred met the love of his life at Paterson State in 1943, Ruth Simpson. They married in New York City on April 20, 1944 and two weeks later Fred went off to war. In 1950 their first son Cort was born and the Engelkens put down roots in Hillsdale. A second son, Blair, came soon after in 1952. Their strong faith led them to join Zion Lutheran Church in Westwood.

After Fred retired in 1987, they enjoyed traveling around the US and internationally. Ruth, his bride of 74 years, passed away on May 13, 2018 and a week later Fred moved in with his son Blair of Southern Shores.

Fred is survived by son Cort Engelken and his wife Lorraine Chouinard of Nanuet, New York, son Blair Engelken of Southern Shores, predeceased by wife Judith tenHove, grandchildren Molly (partner Jon Mason), Joshua (Spouse Carrie) and Kyle (spouse Mary) and four great grandchildren; sister Eleanor and brother Donald.

A visitation will be held at Friday, October 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8:30 p..m at Becker Funeral Home in Westwood, NJ and the funeral will take place 10 a.m. Saturday, October 19 at Zion Lutheran Church in Westwood, NJ.

Condolences to the family may be expressed via the online register at Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was entrusted with local arrangements.