|2015 Kaibab Forest|
We lost a good man this past Sunday. I only knew him for a couple of months, and already it feels odd to be on this journey without him.
RIP Fred Heiman
He was valiantly undergoing treatment for his leukemia and was celebrating a good first round with the chemo when an infection bore down and caught us all by surprise. I suppose, in looking for the positive, we can be grateful that it spread and took him quickly. Fred was active right up to going to the hospital on Friday. Not once, through all of this, did he ever complain. That’s our Fred, and a lot of why we loved him - those of us who knew him, got him, and appreciated him. He was one of a kind.
Here is a pic of his two best friends, Colvin and Bryce.
Bryce and Colvin
And here is a pic of Colvin with Fred’s brother, Steve. This was taken at the RV park where Fred was staying in Las Vegas while undergoing treatment. Three years apart, Fred and Steve are a lot alike. It was surreal and wonderful to spend time with him – a new friendship and another gift from Fred.
Steve and Colvin
Some time ago, Fred had traded in his van for the trailer – long-term planning, just in case – even though his cancer had been in remission for quite some time. Always the thinker and planner, even in the end he was prepared.
He loved my dogs, Nonni and Bentley. Every time we visited, Fred put a towel on the welcome mat for Nonni and made sure she was covered with “her special blanket.” He loved all dogs, often greeting them before us humans.
Bentley and Fred
Fred also loved dispersed camping (boondocking) and hiking. To showcase some of his favorite outings, I gathered pics from his FB page (here), as well as from his friends James and Kyndal, and Colvin.
Fred loved the Kaibab and Coconino Forests outside Flagstaff, AZ.
And Pahrump, NV.
Fred, Bryce and Barbara
He had a wonderful, odd sense of humor. Colvin came up with the title for Fred, “The Last Abyssinian”. It was perfect – obscure, unique, and original – just like Fred. They broke the mold with Fred. He truly was the last Abyssinian.
I got to know Fred while camping in Quartzsite and Ehrenberg, AZ. We had many meals and enjoyed many campfires together.
My first desert thanksgiving. (You can read that blog post here.)
Future Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Attendees
My first and second desert breakfast scramble. (You can read about the first one here.)
Colvin, Barbara, Fred and Ray
Bryce, Barbara, Fred and Colvin
And you might recall that Fred is the one that fixed the locks on my van. Being a Mensa, he could do things like that without trade training. (You can read about that, along with the 2nd breakfast blog post here.)
He also took the first official pic of me and Colvin as a couple. Thank you, Fred.
We enjoyed Christmas Day.
James, Fred, Dave, Ellen, Bryce, Me, Colvin
James, Bryce, Dave, Fred, Ellen
And New Years Day.
Dave, Colvin, and Fred
Fred was committed to staying in shape and walking. A 5-6 mile death march was nothing for him. And “death march” was another title bestowed on Fred by Colvin – after he realized the man would slow down for no one.
|4/2/2015-Fred and Ray Nimblefoot|
11/26/2015-Fred and Michael
On my last walk with Fred, he and Bryce left me in the dust – so to speak – only for Fred to check on me by text as soon as he got home. He wanted to make sure that I made it back okay and offered encouragement for the next outing. That was my Fred. Love him!
Fred and Bryce
Colvin and I will never take a walk again without thinking of Fred, but none enjoyed the morning ritual more than Bryce. Steve was kind enough to let Bryce have Fred’s walking stick. Here he is writing “FRED” on it.
There will be no official service – Fred’s preference. So, a few of us got together yesterday and donned Fred’s hat, sunglasses, and walking stick as we said some parting words. I am grateful for the knowledge that no one or nothing ever really goes away – we simply transition.
COLVIN – “I am going to miss our walks, and I agree with you, Fred – Trump is the best. Jajaja.”
BRYCE – “Hey Fred, gonna miss you buddy.”
RAY – “Fred, you said you were going to come back that morning and you did not. I was hoping you were going to help me with my solar. I guess you are close to the source now so you can help us from heaven. Thank you very much Fred. You’ve been a wonderful friend.”
SUANNE – “Only for you Fred.”
DEBRA - “Here’s looking at you kid. We love you, Fred.”
2/18/16 Update - My good friend, Bob, along with James and Kyndal at Enigmatic Nomadics did a feature video on Fred and his van, 9/19/15: