By Norb Garrett
As you all know by now, our dear friend and fellow journalist Fred Swegles passed away last week after battling a debilitating brain tumor.
For the past 50 years or so, this one-of-a-kind storyteller has memorialized our community’s most important moments for all of us and future generations through his writings and photographs.
For that, we are eternally grateful and fortunate.
Personally, I feel blessed to have been able to work with Fred and call him my friend. Guys like Fred are a rare breed—and we were thrilled to have him grace the pages of the San Clemente Times for the past four years as columnist of Coastlines.
Over the past several months, my wife Alyssa and I regularly visited Fred and sat with him, reading all of your cards and letters. He was truly moved by them, and he would light up when we read a name he recognized.
Try as he might to comment, the aphasia (a symptom of his tumor) made it impossible for him to speak effectively. But he loved knowing that all of us cared and were thinking of him; his sisters strung all of the postcards and letters up around his room—it was beautiful.
This prideful guy, who shunned praise, tearfully appreciated your kind words, thoughts and prayers. He always said “thank you” as we left—but it was us who were most thankful for those moments with Fred.
As per Fred’s wishes, according to his family, there will be no formal memorial services. However, with their permission, some of us have rallied to organize a memorial paddle-out to remember Fred for Sunday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. on the north side of the San Clemente Pier.
Please come down and join us as we come together to share stories, paddle out, cry, laugh and say thanks to a man whom we will never forget.
If you’d like to send his family a card, please do so by mailing them to: Chamberlin Family, P.O. Box 631, San Clemente, CA, 92674.
Thanks for everything, Fred. You’ll be missed, but never forgotten!