Frederick Martin Braden was 84 years old. He died on the Lord's Day, the first Sunday in Lent, March 13, 2011.
Fred was born June 6, 1926, in Iberia, Ohio, to Homer and Luella Braden and grew up on their dairy farm. He graduated from Iberia High School in May 1944, volunteering for the Navy. He spent two years as electrician on the USS Pitt, a Liberty ship troop transport in the Pacific area including the Philippines (Manila), Okinawa, Australia and Japan.
He returned home and went to Ohio University in 1946, graduating in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in botany/zoology. During these years he was extremely involved with campus activities, such as student coordinator and president of the Westminster Foundation, president of the College organization of the YMCA and YWCA and founding member and president of the Christian fraternity on campus-Sigma Omicron Nu. Commissioned as trustee, deacon and elder in the Presbyterian Church, Fred participated in "caravaning" in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, where he taught and preached and organized Bible studies and Sunday School classes.
He attended Cornell University in 1951-52 pursuing a master's degree in plant pathology. In 1953 he returned to Mansfield, Ohio, where he was employed for a year at Kingswood Center, a private botanical garden. In 1954-55 he worked at Wooster Experimental Station in Ohio, testing and evaluating chemicals.
In 1956 Fred moved to Redondo Beach, California, where he lived with his sister and family and was employed as a nurseryman.
Fred met Delores at Westminster Fellowship at Redondo Beach Presbyterian Church. They married on June 29, 1957, in the chapel at San Jose State College, Delores' Alma Mater.
They were active together in the church holding various offices in the Mariner young adult groups and teaching Bible studies and participating in activities in the community and at work.
They raised two children - Elisa Jean and Frederick Mark.
Family vacation times included hiking/camping, back-packing and river running on a number of rivers including the Colorado.
Delores and Fred loved to travel, and were fortunate enough to tour throughout the United States and Canada in their campers. They also flew to distant places: Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Isle of Iona, Scotland, Wales, and England.
Fred was employed at the Palos Verdes Begonia Farm in Torrance, California, for more than 35 years. He loved to help people to share in his love of plants. This love spilled over from work into other activities and honors.
He was founding member and president of the South Coast Native Plant Society and president of the Southern California Horticulture Society. Epiphyllum "Fred Braden" King Midas X White Plume is named in his honor by hybridizer Avery Fuller.
After retiring Fred and Delores moved to Northern California where Fred remained active at Willits United Methodist Church and helped to maintain community and private gardens.
Fred is survived by his wife of 52 ½ years, Delores Jean Braden; son and daughter-in-law, Frederick Mark and Linda Iwalani Braden. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Elisa Jean Braden; father and mother, Homer and Luella Braden; brother, Horace Braden and sister, Elizabeth Atwater.
Fred was gentle, kind and generous. He loved his Lord, his family, people and plants. His love was contagious to all around him. He was always ready to help He is loved and will be missed by a large family of cousins, nephews, nieces, in-laws, by his many school friends, and by all the friends he has made over these many years.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2013, from 1 to 2 p.m., at the Iberia Presbyterian Church, 8607 County Road 30, Iberia, Ohio 43325. (419) 468-7224.