Cover photo for Frederick Eugene Goetz's Obituary
Frederick Eugene Goetz Profile Photo
1946 Frederick 2021

Frederick Eugene Goetz

November 12, 1946 — October 1, 2021

Frederick (Fred) Eugene Goetz died suddenly Friday, October 1st at his home on Bainbridge Island, WA. Up until his passing, he was a very vibrant, energetic man, who only the previous day had exercised for three hours, been under the house in the crawl space and up on the roof cleaning out the leaves. He was born in Minneapolis, MN to Lillian (Miller) and Leonard F. Goetz.  He was the oldest of five children. When he was young his parents moved their growing family to Bagley, MN where his Dad worked as a typesetter for the local paper. Throughout his life, he found joy in being in the great outdoors.  He enjoyed growing up in Northern Minnesota up there on "Da Range" and the many days he spent hunting and fishing with his father. Later his family moved to Hibbing, MN. It was at this point in his life, his teen years, that his love of science began to flourish. To his mother's dismay, he spent many hours conducting "experiments" in the basement of the family home. Years later Fred's mother learned from a home inspector that he had left "enough chemicals down there to blow up the entire neighborhood".  After graduating from Hibbing High School in 1964 Fred went to Hibbing Junior College for two years and worked at Hibbing Hospital as an orderly. Back then things were a bit different, and orderlies did more than bedpans. He participated in autopsies and sewed people back up. After earning his Associates's Degree, he transferred to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN where he graduated with a BA in Biology in May 1968. It was there, at a dance he met Mary Julia Seery who would be his wife of 53 years. They were married on July 6, 1968, in Lawler, Iowa. They began their married life in St. Paul, MN with Fred working at 3M Corp.  After they had their first child, Jennifer Ann in 1969, Fred was drafted into the US Army and for the next two years, they lived near Ft. Baker in San Francisco, CA. While there they were blessed with their second child, Nathan Frederick in 1972. After Fred's time in the Army, they headed back to St. Paul, MN. Within a year Fred's passion for science led him to graduate school at the University of Minnesota. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics in August of 1981.  Fred and Mary were also blessed with a third child, Theresa Marie, that same year. Shortly thereafter they moved to Mankato, MN where Fred worked as a Professor of Microbiology for the next ten years at Mankato State University. He thoroughly enjoyed working in the Lab as well as teaching and mentoring his graduate students. They became like family over the years. During this time Fred embarked on a sabbatical at the Woods Hole Institute in Massachusetts, enriching his scientific knowledge at Holger Jannasch's Lab. The highlight of his time there was an ocean descent in the Alvin, a deep-ocean research submersible in 1989. From there Fred went out to Point Hueneme Naval Base in California where he worked as a contractor doing microbial remediation. He traveled all over the country doing work for the navy. While there he joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Research Professor, which was the highlight of his career.

Sixteen years ago, Fred and Mary decided to move to Bainbridge Island because it reminded Fred of Northern Minnesota, without the snow. Over the last sixteen years, Fred and Mary's goal has been to make their home a warm, inviting, and fun place for their family and friends who regularly visit. Since they arrived on the island their children, grandchildren, and Theresa's language students from Japan have all enjoyed their fine company, beautiful home, and the boat dock/swimming area on Fletcher Bay. He loved hanging out with his grandchildren, tinkering around the house, working in his beautiful hillside gardens, following his favorite progressive websites, and listening to his music (Johnny Cash, the HighwayMen, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Nicks). And yes, he is the Sasquatch found here on the Google Earth feed. Yes, he did plan this, and let's just say this is his last 15 minutes of fame. And check out those long brown locks of hair of his. He was quite proud of his hair, maybe even a little vain.

Fred is survived by his wife, Mary Julia (Seery) Goetz of Bainbridge Island;  his three children, Jennifer Ann Hayes of Bainbridge Island (Christian), Nathan Frederick Goetz (Enkhee) of Wiesbaden, Germany, and Theresa Marie Nakagawa (Yuki) of Toyokawa, Japan; his grandchildren, who brought him his greatest joy: George Goetz (19), Zakk Goetz (18), Margaret Hayes (17), Liam Hayes (15), Grace Nakagawa (15), Rylan Nakagawa (12), Ronan Hayes (11), and Alex Nakagawa (9); his younger sisters, Patty Boll (Rick), Marine on the St. Croix, MN, Darlene Abt (John), Maui, HI, and Cathy Carlstrom (Dale), Ramsey, MN; and many nieces and nephews. In addition, he is survived by his dog, Lela. Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Lillian and Leonard Goetz, his younger brother, Leonard (Lenny) Goetz, and his dogs, Roxy, Gandalf, and Fletcher. Ultimately, Fred gave and gave until he had nothing left to give. He was truly a kind man, who loved life and was interested in the people of the world. He has left a gaping hole in the lives of the people who knew and loved him. He will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Flower of Hope Outreach Middle School (, Kitsap Humane Society (, or the Bainbridge Public Library

Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Frederick Eugene Goetz, please visit our flower store.


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