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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Fredrick Lyle “Fred” Sanger, USAFJuly 6, 1944 – May 20, 2018
Fredrick Lyle Sanger, faithful friend and fabulous husband, passed away at his Napa home on May 20, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Sue Sanger, whom he married in Chico, California, on June 20, 1981. Fred was born July 6, 1944 to Willard and Jeanette Sanger in La Jolla, California. Fred’s father was in the military and eventually a geologist, resulting in frequent moves. His family, including two brothers (Billy and Jerry), lived in Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.
Fred enlisted in the Air Force and proudly served with an elite crew of Pararescuemen (PJs) in Vietnam from 1965 to 1968, where he saved the lives of many fellow servicemen and developed lifelong friendships. During this time, he was exposed to Agent Orange, which is linked to the metastatic prostate cancer that eventually took his life. Discharged at Hamilton Air Force Base, Fred remained in the Bay Area for the rest of his days, living in Marin, San Francisco and Napa counties. In San Francisco, he worked as a tour guide for Grayline where he met his wife and many fascinating characters. He later retired from Loomis Armored Car Company.
Harley Davidson motorcycles played a significant role in Fred’s life, and resulted in countless memorable rides, including three European bike tours, two coast-to-coast trips (most recently Ride to the Wall in D.C.), and countless U.S. adventures. A vinyl enthusiast, he loved everything from rock, to blues, to rockabilly. His favorite place to relax and have fun was in his Shed, a structure he built himself next to his Napa home, where he surrounded himself with many reminders of his lifetime experiences and good times with good friends.Fred loved being on the water. He enjoyed sailing on San Francisco Bay, and also cruised in Tahiti, the Caribbean, Alaska, the San Juan Islands and Mexico. Cars were another favorite. Fred often spoke fondly of his first vehicles – two Model A’s purchased in Louisiana, where he got his driver’s license at age 12. Also on Fred’s list of loves were his 180-pound dog Panhead and sweet kitty Sammi. An art enthusiast, he accumulated a colorful collection, including works by a favorite, Peter Max.
Fred will always be remembered as a devoted friend and the best husband a man could possibly be. He was a generous supporter of prostate research and participated in three clinical trials at UCSF. He has donated his body to Science Care, hoping to shine new light on innovations for other victims.
His wife would like to thank his many caregivers in his four-year battle, especially Javier at UCSF Parnassus. Fred had nothing but positive experiences with the VA offices throughout the Bay Area, and his wife also wishes to acknowledge their support and extend her sincere appreciation for their service.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk at support.zerocancer.org.
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