Fred William Enke

Enke, Fred William
December 15, 1924 - April 13, 2014. Fred W. Enke passed away on Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014, in his family home in Casa Grande surrounded by his loving wife, Marjorie, and his four children: Debbie, Diana, Denise and Freddie. He was 89 years old. Fred W. Enke was born in Louisville, Kentucky December 15, 1924. His parents were the legendary Fred A. Enke, of University of Arizona basketball fame, and Ollie Charlene Enke. Enke attended Tucson High School and was selected Arizona High School Football Player of the Year in 1942. He helped the Badgers to state championships in football, basketball, and baseball before graduating from THS in 1943. After high school, he entered the Navy as a WWII Naval Aviator, 1943-1946. In 1946 he entered the University of Arizona where he lettered in three sports: basketball, baseball, and football, and became one of U of A's greatest athletes. He lettered two years in football under Coach J.F. "Pop" McKale, three years in basketball under his father, and another three years under Pop McKale in baseball. In 1947 he was All-American and All-Border Conference Quarterback. Fred set a U of A record leading the NCAA in total offense as the Wild Cats' quarterback with 1,941 total yards. In 1948 he captained both the U of A baseball and basketball championship teams. After his successful college athletic career, Enke went to play in the NFL for seven years. He played quarterback for the Detroit Lions for four years, the Philadelphia Eagles for one year, and the Baltimore Colts for two years before a shoulder separation ended his NFL career in 1954. He was the first Arizonan to start as quarterback for the NFL. During the off-seasons, Fred completed his Bachelor degree in Education and earned a Masters degree in Administrative Education. In 1952, he married his wife of 62 years, Marjorie, a former flight attendant for American Airlines. When Enke retired from football, he became a cotton farmer in Maricopa. Smith-Enke Road in Maricopa is named after Fred and his good friend, John Smith. The Enke farm is now the U of A Maricopa Agricultural Center; a 2,100-acre research farm within The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. Fred was a leader in the cotton industry, serving as chairman of the Arizona Cotton Growers Research Committee, Director of Calcot Inc., and a delegate to the National Cotton Council. He was also named "Man of the Year" in Arizona agriculture. In 1976, Enke was inducted into the first class of the U of A Sports Hall of Fame. Enke's name is also on display at the "Ring of Honor" at the U of A Football Stadium. Enke was also very accomplished in tennis, becoming the #1 ranked, age group tennis player in the Southwest Region. He continued his sports tradition by building a tennis court at his home in CG and the entire family was involved for 39 years in the Sedona Family tennis tournament. As successful as Enke was in both sports and career, he always thought his greatest accomplishment was his family, "having a family is the greatest thing a person can have". Fred and his wife, Marjorie, spent much of their time watching their children's sporting events and continued in the later years watching their grandchildren's events as well. Mr. Enke is survived by his wife, Marjorie J. Enke, of 62 years; his three daughters, Debbie (Jeff) Gundry, Diana (Jack) Keller, and Denise Latimer; and his son, Freddie W. Enke Jr. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren: Bryce (Tonya) Gundry, Eric (Brenda) Gundry, Bret (Day) Keller, Todd Keller, Carly (Jacob) Gibbs, Greg Keller, Dustin Latimer, and Shani (Tom) Boesen; as well as by his 10 great-grandchildren: Payton and Liam Gundry, Kacie, Kennedy and Howey Keller, Cade and Mackenzie Keller, Colton Misheski and Addison Gibbs, and Life Latimer. The Celebration of Life for Fred will be held on May 10th, 2014 at 11:00am at the First Presbyterian Church, 702 E. Cottonwood Lane, Casa Grande, AZ 85122. The reception will be held at the church and will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the University of Arizona Athletic Department and/or the First Presbyterian Church in Casa Grande in Fred's honor.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Apr. 20, 2014