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Freda Grace Witherow Kurtz, age 91, of Tinton Falls, NJ died Sunday, August 28, 2011. Freda Kurtz was born in Kirksville, MO and grew up on the family farm in near-by Edina. She graduated from Edina High School and attended college in Kirksville, where she received her BA degree at Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College, now Truman State University. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Kirksville while at college. Freda was valedictorian of both her high school and college classes. After teaching for a brief time, she furthered her education at the University of Kentucky with an MA in economics. She moved to Dayton, OH where she worked at Wright Patterson Air Force Base for over 30 years. Her career highlights include the original concept project for the space shuttle.

In Ohio, she married Carrol Taylor Kurtz (in 1948) and raised her two children. While working full-time and raising her family, Freda became a den mother for her son’s Cub Scout troop and was also one of the first women deacons in the First Baptist Church of Dayton. She also taught at the local community college and at her church.

In 1982, Freda’s career took her to the Washington DC area where she worked at Andrews Air Force Base until she retired in 1990. At her retirement, she received a commendation from President George H. W. Bush, thanking her for her dedicated and distinguished service. While working, Freda became actively involved in Federally Employed Women (FEW) and served as its eleventh national president from 1986-1988. During her reign as president, she became FEW’s first representative on the Employee Thrift Advisory Council of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. She was one of 14 council members and served until 2006. Freda also was active at Temple Hills (MD) Baptist Church, where she taught vacation bible school after her retirement from government service.

Freda was predeceased by her husband of 50 years in 1999. She is survived by her son and daughter in-law, Russell Kurtz and Brenda Auzenne of Bradley Beach, NJ; her daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Daniel Haynes of Hesperia, CA, her sister, Mary Witherow of Kirksville, MO; and 4 grandchildren, Timothy Kurtz, Rebecca Kurtz, Jonathon Haynes and Mary Haynes.

Funeral Services were held 1:30 p.m. Saturday, September 24, 2011, at Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home in Kirksville, MO. Reverend Marty Joplin officiated the services. Burial was in the Baker Cemetery West of Edina, MO. Casket bearers were family and friends.

Memorials may be made to the Baker Cemetery and may be left at or mailed to Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home, 2100 East Shepherd Ave., Kirksville, MO 63537.