Stuart Hamilton Fredericks
The local community lost a special member in June when Santa Barbara native son Stu Fredericks left us for the next set of waves.
Stuart Hamilton Fredericks, was born at St. Francis Hospital in 1941. He attended Garfield grammar school, La Cumbre Junior High School, and graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1959. In high school, he belonged to the Knights car club showcasing his prized wheels and there he began his career as a local surfer. Ken Kesson and Renny Yater had introduced him to a new way of life. Stu used his drawing skills to design the iconic logo for the Santa Barbara Sportsman Club, alias “The Ranch”. He attended Santa Barbara City College for three years. His math teacher, Geno Brady, was sympathetic when they both saw waves at Leadbetter Point.
Stu moved to San Francisco to finish his education at San Francisco State, receiving a double major in Physical Science and Geography. Alas, he found much more surf than expected, and he and Andy Neumann logged hours outside of their schooling at Ocean Beach, Taraval Street and Fleischhaker Peak. Stu helped form the Pedro Point Surf Club in order to compete in contests between Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Cruz and Wind N Sea. At this time, Stu was taking orders for Yater Surfboards from the front seat of his car.
While at San Francisco State, he met Linda Pardo. He introduced her to Santa Barbara, and proposed, ever so romantically behind Foster Freeze on De La Vina Street. They married in 1966.
During that summer Stu lifeguarded for small Carpinteria State Beach where they won the coveted State Championship Relay Race. He was the team board paddler. After his stint as a guard, Linda insisted he take a full-time job. He took her advice, and some 33 years later retired from the County of Santa Barbara’s Building and Surveying department. During those years he became a proud father to their daughter Brooke and later their son, Matthew.
These were busy years filled with learning and giving. He enjoyed raising ferns, cymbidiums and laelias. He collected unique rocks, antique bottles and cans and books. He honored the Chumash history, Rincon “Queen of the Coast”, and the topography of the backcountry of Santa Barbara. He loved antiquing and searching for rare bottles and California art. An ardent fly fisherman, he accepted the fact that he could not tie flies! He began to draw in earnest and built a portfolio of original western scenes and also spent time illustrating Santa Barbara historical buildings.
Stu also took up mountain biking in the 80’s. He rode the Indian and Lions Canyons, the Sespe and the Tepusquet. These rides often included Mark Mittermiller and fishing. He also used his Ritchie mountain bike to get all around the town he loved.
He included his family on many of these hiking and biking trips. Stu’s preferred region was the Eastern Sierras. For many years he hiked throughout the range.
Decades ago, Stu began to realize symptoms of his declining health. With the loss of his incredible balance, he was forced to end surfing and pen and ink illustration. He then turned to painting and later photography as an outlet for his creativity. He could be seen many days at the Santa Barbara Harbor with his great companion of 14 years, a Jack Russel Terrier named Charlotte. In this way, he could remain close to the ocean and chat daily with the fisherman.
When driving was no longer an option, Stu walked every day to breakfast. He shared his mornings with friends, Sal the cook and waitress Elena. Then he would proceed to walk to the SB Public library, find his favorite chair, and study a stack of books about California history and art. All the while being watched over by the library staff, the community’s unsung heroes. He would smile while referring to this place as “my office”. Stu enjoyed his lively conversations with friend Steve Rafetto. Bike racing was also a favorite topic, especially the Tour de France, with his son-in-law Ken Doyle.
A man of few toys other than the necessary sporting equipment, he was never worried and took time with everyone. He understood that life is not about possessions but the encounters you make along the way and the adventures that you have. He knew he was fortunate to live in Santa Barbara and did not require more.
Due to excellent care from his local doctors as well as the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA he was able to extend his life to the fullest despite his very challenging disease known as Huntington’s.
His son Matt and partner Jessica gave birth to little Theodore Fredericks in 2017 bringing Stu newfound energy, profound happiness, and peace as a first time grandfather.
Stuart Hamilton Fredericks left this world on June 20, 2018. He rode every single wave. He never paddled in!
A celebration of his life is planned for Friday September 21 at Leadbetter Beach Park at 2:30. Please bring a towel or chair and your welcomed stories.