Frederic F. Topel

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MENDOTA - Frederic F. Topel, 83, of Mendota entered heaven on Aug. 11, 2021.

A celebration of life will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26 at Faith Church, 800 Wenzel Road, Peru with Rev. Steve Adamson officiating. Private burial with military honors will be held at a later date. Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota is assisting the family.

Fred was born and raised in La Crosse, Wis. to Lawrence and Verna (Spears) Topel. He met Patricia L. Howell in 1958 on a blind date. They were married on Jan. 20, 1960 in Oakland, Calif.

Survivors include his loving wife of Mendota; two daughters, Cheryl (Mike) Sterling of Mendota and Laura Topel of Kirbyville, Mo.; three granddaughters, Rachel (John) Kelley, Nicole Sterling and Alexis (Jake) Haegele; four great-grandchildren, Jaylin, Ian, Caleb and Gabriella; two brothers, Harold Topel of La Cresent, Minn. and Alan Topel of West Salem, Wis.; two sisters-in-law, Mary Topel of Veazie, Maine and Lynn Topel of Clermont, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Kenneth, Philip and Robert Topel; and four sisters, Marilyn Hollis, Barbara West, Violet Rediske and Rita Kaiser.

Fred’s family moved to Onalaska, Wis. when he was 11 years old. He graduated from Onalaska High School in 1956 where he excelled in football and baseball. While still in high school, he joined the Army National Guard and completed 18 months of service. He then completed six months of an Army program. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served with honor for four years working primarily in communications. Fred and Patricia remained devoted to each other for over 61 years. They were blessed with two daughters and moved to Illinois to be closer to family. After studying communications at a local business school, Fred worked as a terminal manager, dispatcher and truck driver in California, Illinois, Alabama and Oklahoma. He also worked with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations as a communications officer. He retired from Fast Freight where he had worked for many years transporting U.S. mail. A man of strong faith in God, Fred was always active in the church. He served as a deacon, Sunday school superintendent, and lay minister for many years. He loved to spend time with his family, play with the family dogs, go fishing and watch westerns and sports on TV. He continued to play baseball until a shoulder injury forced him to stop. He also loved music and he and his wife regularly sang duets in church and occasional trios with their youngest daughter. Their family enjoyed traveling the country on vacation. He and Patricia especially enjoyed the Ozarks, retiring to the small town of Powersite, just outside of Branson, Mo. Recent health issues led them to move back to Mendota in July 2021.

Memorials may be directed to the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be left at www.merrittfh.com.