Friday, July 1, 2022

Walter “Fred” Ethridge

Walter “Fred” Ethridge, age 74 years, a resident of rural Vienna, passed away Friday evening, February 25, 2022, at 7:34 PM at the Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.
Fred, as he was known to family and friends, was born November 22, 1947 in Cairo, Illinois. He was the son of Ollie and Cleo (Robinson) Ethridge.
On June 17, 2000, Fred was united in marriage to Sandy (Wring) in Marion, Kentucky. She survives.
Fred is also survived by: 4 children – Mike (Sabrina) Ethridge and Tommy Ethridge all of Vienna, Sherri (Jason) Buchanan of Goreville, and Amber (Jeff) Armstrong of Smithland, Kentucky; grandchildren – Colton, Jackson, Addison, Ben, Lainey, William, Adrian, and Audrey; a brother – Vince (Susie) Ethridge of Easley, South Carolina; a sister – Brenda Reynolds of Vienna; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and many friends, including his beloved canine companion, Penny.
Fred was preceded in death by – his father, Ollie Ethridge; his mother – Cleo Ethridge Cravens; and his stepfather – Ted Cravens.
Fred was a 1965 graduate of Vienna High School. He also attended Shawnee Community College as well as Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Fred’s working career began in telecommunications. He installed telephone service in several locations in Indiana, including the city of Portage. Additionally, he was a partner in the Ethridge & White Construction Co. The firm built many homes throughout the region, particularly in the Robin Woods subdivision at the Lake of Egypt. Later, he was employed at the Smithland Lock and Dam project. Fred was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local # 318 at Marion. In 1987, Fred began working for the Johnson County Highway Department. He served as the highway department foreman and retired in December 2009. In his retirement, Fred continued to stay busy and worked as a rural carrier for the U. S. Postal Service and most recently was employed as a associate of Bailey Funeral Home.
Fred loved life and cherished time spent with family and friends. He especially enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s events and activities and supporting and encouraging them. He is fondly remembered as the “Best Papaw Ever” and was lovingly known as the “Papawrazzi,” which gave recognition to his love of the art of photography and his talent as a semi-professional photographer. Fred and Sandy enjoyed beach vacations and shelling. He also loved working in his yard, tending their hummingbird feeders, and accomplishing many home projects. Fred and Sandy raised an abundance of blueberries, harvesting over 40 gallons last year.
Fred and Sandy worshipped together at the First Baptist Church in Vienna. Fred had been a member of the sanctuary choir, and formerly served as a trustee and usher. He currently served on the church security team. Fred enjoyed music and was a talented vocalist. He was a member of the former Messengers gospel quartet for a number of years.
A service honoring the life of Fred Ethridge will be conducted Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at 12 Noon at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna. Dr. Ed Hollis will officiate. Burial will be in the Vienna Fraternal Cemetery.
Visitation will be held Tuesday morning, March 1, 2022, from 10 AM – 12 Noon at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church (Deacon Fund), P.O. Box 727, Vienna, Illinois 62995. Please make checks payable to First Baptist Church and memo “Fred Ethridge memorial.”

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