Northup Sr., 93, “The Wizard of Ruby Street,” passed away Monday, July 1, 2019, at the Grand Island VA Medical Center, surrounded by his family.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. The Rev. Martin L. Egging will celebrate the funeral mass. Interment will be in Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Military honors will be rendered by the United Veterans Honor Guard and the U.S. Army Honor Team.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, with a vigil rosary at 7. The family requests casual attire. Your thoughts and prayers may be given at www.curranfuneralchapel.com under Fred’s obituary. Curran Funeral Chapel is assisting the family.
Fred was born Dec. 24, 1925, in Narragansett, R.I., to William Stephen and Sarah Susan (Ryan) Northup. He grew up in Narragansett, playing basketball, caddying, fishing, lifeguarding, and participating in any sport available. He graduated from South Kingston High School in 1944.
On Feb. 14, 1944, he entered the U. S. Army Air Corps, serving until his honorable discharge on May 7, 1946. During his military service in Lincoln, he met the “love of his life,” Donna June Alderman. They eloped and were married on April 1, 1945, in Biloxi, Miss.
Returning to Lincoln, Fred attended the University of Nebraska, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Social Studies in 1950.
He taught and coached for numerous years while raising nine children with Donna by his side. Fred’s first teaching/coaching job was in Deshler. He continued his teaching and coaching career in Haigler, Laird and Fleming, Colo., and Burwell. For the majority of his career, Fred taught and coached at Grand Island Central Catholic.
During his long career, he taught social studies, biology, history, government and science while also coaching basketball, track, football, cross country, golf, swimming and tennis. During the summers, he returned to school, earning his Master’s Degree in 1965. His basketball teams made 5 state tournament appearances and won 21 conference championships.
In May of 1974, Coach took time off from teaching and coaching to manage Riverside Country Club for two years. He returned to Central Catholic, “his second home,” and his true calling of teaching and coaching in the fall of 1976. He continued his career at GICC until 1991, retiring as head basketball coach in 1986 and retiring from teaching in 1991, but continuing to substitute teach as long as he could.
Fred had a big personality, tender heart, ready smile and always had a twinkle in his eyes. He was greatly admired for his sense of honor and integrity. He had a gift for making people feel special. He never met a stranger.
Coach was always active, enjoyed watching sports (sometimes three at a time), playing golf, fishing, playing cards, doing crossword and jigsaw puzzles, and shopping at rummage sales, where he saw many friends and former students. He was happiest being among people and especially proud of watching his family grow.
His many awards and honors include: Mr. Narragansett Jr. for roller skating; Nebraska Coaches Association North All-Star Assistant Coach in 1972; Mike Heck Award winner in 1991, and lifetime membership; KRGI Sportscasters Award in 1974; Best of GI Coach in 1986; GICC Honorary Hall of Fame; Three Master Angler Awards, 1968, 1976 and 1995; Sports Afield Master Angler in 1968; Hole in One at the Woodland Golf Club in 1974; and GI Independent Extraordinary Person.
Fred was a member of Knights of Columbus, Platt Duetsche, Nebraska Coaches Association and Blessed Sacrament Church.
Those left behind to cherish his memory include his loving and devoted wife of 73 years, Donna, of Grand Island; and his children, Donna Grimes of Central City, Joe Northup of Lincoln, Susan (Brent) Ahrens of Lincoln, Anne (Frank) Riebschlager of Grand Island, Charles Northup of Axtel, Bill (Karen) Northup of St. Paul, Tom (Pam) Northup of Grand Island, Mike Northup (Heather Hudlemeyer) of Grand Island and Kathy (Jim) Muhlbach of Grand Island.
Other survivors include 42 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren, a brother-in-law, Bob Alderman of California; and two sisters-in-law, Vi Alderman of Nebraska and Paty Alderman of California.
He is welcomed into heaven by his parents; one granddaughter and two great grandsons; brother, John Northup; son-in-law, Ron Grimes; and brothers-in-law, Floyd, Donald and Teddy Alderman.
He will forever be our hero!
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Grand Island Central Catholic High School, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church or Alzheimer’s Association.