It is with great sadness that Forest City Gear announces the death of Fred Young, former president and CEO. Frederic Marlin Young, 80, of Roscoe passed away holding the hands of his daughters and grandson on July 17, 2023. Born April 21, 1943, in Chicago, IL; son of Stetler and Evelyn (Joelson) Young. Graduate of Harlem High School, class of 1961. Fred obtained his BA in English Literature from Rockford University, class of 1965, and went on to spend a year in the Navy Reserves. After spending nearly 40 years as an adventuring bachelor outdoorsman, he met the love of his life, Wendy Nutter, marrying her on the banks of the Wolf River on June 6, 1981. Fred's greatest joys were his three daughters, whom he taught to always seek adventure, bestow kindness and generosity, treasure friendship, and work hard and play hard.
Fred took over the family business, Forest City Gear, in 1967. Founded by his parents in 1955, Fred took the small mom-and-pop shop to a global level, leading the company to manufacture some of the world's most difficult gearing for amazing end uses from NASA's Martian rovers and space station to robotic arms and racing yachts. The video below captures his good humor and genial nature and gives a sense of how Forest City Gear grew over the years.
Fred was truly elated to see middle daughter, Kika, take the reins of the family business last year after the passing of her mother Wendy who was president of the company from 2002 until 2012 when she was named CEO and served until last year after a tenacious battle with cancer. Wendy was instrumental in establishing Forest City Gear’s reputation as a world-class, family-owned gear manufacturer. The Young family and the greater Forest City Gear family are grateful for the support of the industry and the community.
Fred was a treasured and devoted Poppa to his many grandchildren, never missing an opportunity to read a story or buy a round of ice cream.
Fred was involved in many community organizations including his temple, Temple Beth-el, Trout Unlimited, the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA), the board of his alma mater, Rockford University, and many more. Fred received dozens of awards over the years including the Award of Distinction from Rockford University, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce Manufacturer of the Year in 2006, and the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for the AGMA.
Fred had many hobbies he took on with gusto including fly fishing and hunting as well as whitewater boating and kayaking in his younger years. He was able to take dozens of trips to New Zealand as an avid catch-and-release fly fisherman, taking his youngest daughter, Mindy, on many of these special trips. He loved eating an excellent meal with friends and family at his favorite restaurant, Greenfire, hosting friends (local and international) in his home, and throwing a good party with wife, Wendy. He felt incredibly blessed to have eldest daughter, Appy, and her family move in with him last year after his wife's death.
Fred is survived by his devoted daughters, Appy (Rustin) Mikel, Kika (Anthony) Risa, Mindy (Ryan Davis) Young, grandchildren Joey, Kysa, Levi, Addy, AJ, Nollie, Clementine, Charley, Evie, Wilder, Stetler; step-grandson, Felix Davis; sister-in-law Lori (Roger) Brandel, brother-in-law Todd Nutter, many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, god mother to his girls, Becca Ivancich, "fishing son" Dan Ivancich, "gear son" Jared Lyford, and a large circle of treasured friends too many to name. Preceded in death by his parents, and his beloved wife, Wendy.
Visitation Sunday, July 23, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., followed by a funeral service at 3 p.m. at Grace Funeral & Cremation Services, 4301 N. Main St. Rockford. Live stream of the service can be viewed here: https://my.gather.app/remember/frederic-young Immediately following the funeral, Fred's family and friends will gather for a picnic, yard games and family friendly activities at the funeral home on the back lawn. Private family interment in Pinnacle Hill Cemetery, Roscoe In lieu of flowers, donation may be made in Fred's memory to Trout Unlimited, Blackhawk Chapter #390: https://blackhawk.tu.org/donate-to-our-chapter Share a memory or condolence at: gracefh.com/m/obituaries/Frederic-Young/Memories