Fred Marshall Shurtz was born in Waltonville on March 5, 1917,
the second son of William Ray and Edna Mae Campbell Shurtz.
When he was an infant his father died and as a young boy he was
informally adopted by his paternal grandparents, William and Minnie Shurtz.
At age 20 he joined the navy and was aboard the USS Maryland during the attack
on Pearl Harbor. He eventually became a Chief Gunners Mate and during his
career he served on several ships including the USS New Jersey which sustained
a direct hit on her gun turret during the Korean conflict. He retired from the
navy in 1959, settling in Spring Valley, Ca, a suburb of San Diego. His second
career was working at San Diego State University, first as a custodian and later
as an auto mechanic. He loved to bet on horse races at Agua Caliente in Mexico,
loved telling a good story and was a master craftsman at many jobs.
He was the "go-to" person in his neighborhood wherever he lived. He retired
a second time in 1979 and until his death on Dec. 24, 1998 he and his wife Melba
Hodge continued to travel. He and Melba knew each other growing up and they
corresponded during the war years. When he came home on leave they married on
March 25, 1944 in Mt. Vernon. he was the proud father of two daughters,
Sandra Sue Nickell (1945-2003) and Kathy May Balsley b.1950, and the even prouder
grandparent to his four grandsons, Mike and Robert Blunt, and Allen and
Lucas Balsley. He is also survived by four great grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents, and brother Arthur Glen Shurtz, and was
also survived by four half-brothers, Robert, Marvin, Thurmon, and Billy Gale
Williams. He was laid to rest at Singing Hills Memorial Park in El Cajon, Ca
with full military honors and a tribute from the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Sesser, and the United Church of Christ
Congregational church of lemon grove, ca. Ten years after his death, two more
great grandchildren have been born, his daughter Sandra died from ovarian cancer
on Feb. 9, 2003, and his wife Melba died on July 19, 2003.
Fred's cause of death was congestive heart failure with diabetes complications.