Fred Mentzer, 77, was born in Sacramento, Calif. At a young age he moved with his mother and sister to Medford, where he enjoyed “hanging around” with his Uncle Glenn, who remains to this day a beloved friend and mentor.

His mother later married Donald O. Mentzer, who was in the Army.In later years Fred took his stepfather’s name of Mentzer.

Fred attended George Washington High School in San Francisco, Calif. where he excelled in competitive swimming. He wore the title of the champion Bay Area swimmer during the mid-1950s.

Being the son of a military man, Fred lived in many places and gained a lot of insight into the “world at large,” especially when he enlisted in the Army after a few years in college in California.

Fred is preceded in death by his paternal father Charlie Williams, mother and adopted father Donald O. and Louise Mentzer (Cornwall), brother Michael and daughter Rebecca Mentzer-Learman. Fred is survived by his wife Karen and daughters Tatjana Trueman and Lavina Kiernan, as well as many beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Fred had an exemplary career as a helicopter pilot and was especially close with the men in 281st Assault Helicopter Company in one of his Vietnam tours. He was instrumental in helping to establish the 281st AHCA group, which has brought this “band of brothers” together, honing their friendship and remembrances at an annual reunion. Fred handled the group’s newsletters throughout the year, as well as their website. These men have had “the backs” of their brothers for many, many years. In addition, Fred continued to hone his skills by taking various classes, especially those that aided him with his advanced computer skills.

Being a true people person gave Fred the ability to visit with anyone, as well as listen. He maintained the countenance of a quiet man, and was always willing to help and offer a quip or two to the delight of many. He especially enjoyed the men with whom he had coffee two or three times a week, and regular treks to the Keizer Elks Lodge.

A memorial service will be held at the Keizer Elks Lodge Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

Fred will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, April 14, 2015, which celebrates his birthday.

Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.