Frederick Leonard was born on January 9, 1946, in Sullivan Township to proud new parents Leonard and Mina (Hager) Unruh. Six years later, Fred became an older brother to Richard. Living on a farm on the 12th of Sullivan, the Unruh boys quickly learned the definition of hard work. Fred could often be found following his father on the back of a 1946 Ford Ferguson tractor, on their way to pick stones. Fred attended S.S. #7 Grimston, and then continued to Chesley District High School. Fred continued on to Teacher’s College in Stratford for two years.
After graduating, Fred worked in Chesley as a vice principal for one year, before beginning in Tara, where he stayed for his entire teaching career. During his career, Fred returned to the classroom himself and ultimately received his Master’s in teaching. After every day of teaching, he would head to Richard’s to help milk the cows, and during his summers off, he would spend the day at the farm helping with the crops. In between, he still made time for his faith, attending St. Peter’s with Richard, and then going to McDonalds after for coffee.
In 1973, a friend of Fred’s set him up on a blind date at the movie theatre in Owen Sound. When he arrived, he met an incredible young woman by the name of Diane Agatha Groves. The two quickly fell in love, and were married on August 9, 1975 in Owen Sound. The newlywed couple lived in Owen Sound in an apartment for the first year of marriage, before moving to a farm across the road from his family farm. Here they welcomed their children, Trish in 1977, Derek in 1979, and Troy in 1981. Fred followed in his father’s footsteps, showing his own children the love of farming. Between Fred’s busy schedule of teaching and farming, they didn’t have a lot of time to take family trips, however they made sure to make the most out of every moment they had together.
Fred was a member of the Chesley Kinsmen and loved assisting with the duck races. He collected model planes, trains, lanterns, and antique tractors, with old John Deere being ones he gravitated towards. Fred owned an old convertible that he loved to take for drives. Later in life, Fred and Diane took a Caribbean cruise, which was a highlight for him. He also enjoyed going to the community centre in Chesley and playing euchre, and playing bingo at the nursing home. Fred enjoyed sitting down and watching the Grand Ole Opry, or really anything to do with country music. He loved the classics such as Johnny Cash, and also loved listening to Shania Twain.
Overall, his family was his biggest accomplishment. Fred was so proud of his children, and the lives they created for themselves. When his grandchildren were welcomed into the world, Fred discovered a new type of love. Although there was some distance between them, he still made sure to spend time with his grandchildren when he saw them. Within the last few years, Fred was diagnosed with dementia. In recent months, his health started to decline, and he passed away at Brightshores Health System, Owen Sound, on Saturday, September 16, 2023, in his 78th year.
Beloved husband of Diane (Groves). Loving father of Trish of Mississauga, Derek of Wellesley, and Troy (Michelle Timmerman) of Keady. Cherished grandfather of Noah, Christopher, Aiden, Riley, and Delanie. He was predeceased by his brother Richard and his parents Leonard and Mina (Hager) Unruh.
A visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 7 – 9 p.m. A funeral service celebrating Fred’s life will be held at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sullivan on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 1 p.m. Interment in St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery, Sullivan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Diabetes Canada or the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.