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Frederick I. Dretske

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Frederick Irwin Dretske
Frederick Irwin Dretske died on July 24, 2013, bringing an end to a happy and productive life. He was born on December 9, 1932, to Frederick and Hattie Dretske in Waukegan, Illinois, where he grew up. Thinking that he wanted to be an engineer, he first attended Purdue University, but after taking the only philosophy course offered there he realized that philosophy was the only thing he wanted to do in life. So, after graduating with a degree in electrical engineering and serving in the Army in order to get the GI bill, he enrolled in graduate school in philosophy at the University of Minnesota, where he received his PhD.
Fred's first teaching position was at the University of Wisconsin, where he remained until 1988 when he accepted a position at Stanford University. His work was very influential in his field, and was respected internationally; he was widely published and held named chairs at both Wisconsin and Stanford. Following retirement from Stanford he became associated with Duke's Department of Philosophy.
The last 25 years of Fred's life, when he was married to Judith, were idyllically happy. Especially in retirement they were able to travel, attend the theater, and do the many other things that make life enjoyable; but most of all they just loved being together. He is greatly missed.
In addition to his wife, Judith Fortson, he is survived by a daughter, Kathleen Dretske (Richard Gaudet) of Princeton, Wisconsin; a son, Ray Dretske (Connie) of Winona, Minnesota; a step-son, Ryan Fortson (Laura Schulz) of Anchorage, Alaska; and three grandchildren.
In keeping with Fred's wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be made at
Published in The News & Observer on July 31, 2013
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