CUMBERLAND – Frederick H. Dobbs, 89, an especially intelligent, cultured and witty spirit left us on Jan. 20, 2017. Still leading an active life well into his ninth decade, Fred Dobbs laid down to rest and never reawakened; his dog, Zeke, guarding his side. He leaves behind the Dobbs family – nephews Peter E. (M.J., children Maddie, Peter E.),Sam (Cam, child Benjamin), niece Carrie (Tony, child Catie), sister-in-law, Joan; and the Creager family – nieces Jody (Jean-Paul), Mary (Darryl) and nephews G. Peter (Jill , children Brittany, Topher, Preston ) and Curtis (Skye, children Darcy, Charles). Also mourning are close friends Ron Friend, Sr. (Cumberland), Catie Anderson (Conn.), Wally Quetsch (Washington D.C.) and Harry & Mary McCunn (Hilton Head).
Fred started life in New York, an exuberant, loyal and artistic son and brother. He left for college and a tour of duty in Japan, (courtesy of U.S. Army), an experience during which he cultivated a deep appreciation for Japanese culture. He became adept in Japanese cuisine and Ikebana (floral design). Post-army, his professional life as an information services researcher was based in Washington D.C. where he developed a wide circle of kindred spirits involved in all arenas of Washington life – politicians, federal servants, journalists, émigrés, musicians, artists, educators, researchers, activists, bon vivants. Fabulous dinner parties were frequent; guest lists ever varying, conversation stimulating and hilarious and food divine – family and friends passing through, always welcome. Fred was early accomplished in sculpture and ceramics (sadly his work is not well preserved) later becoming impassioned with garden design. Many Georgetown homes are beautifully embellished with his vision. Preserving traditional recipes was another passion – hence the “sauerkraut crew” (C.A., W.Q.) and the “stöllen” gift circle, among other efforts. A content bachelor, Fred was a beloved uncle who year after year spent holiday time visiting his nieces and nephews with whom he shared his intellect and humor.
Fred retired to Cumberland, MD in the 1980’s, renovating a large house on a steep hilltop with a spectacular view of the valley, town and cliffs opposite. His exquisite sense of beauty and harmony impacted everything he touched – relationships, furnishings, décor, dress, gifts. He created an award-winning, terraced garden on the slope behind his house which produces waves of color across the seasons. Busloads of “garden tourists” visited to see this wonder, topped by a Japanese gazebo. He loved Cumberland, formed close friendships with many residents, and supported local artists, both amateur and professional. He served as president of the Upper Potomac Garden Club (initiating several civic beautification projects) and gave many hours to the Allegany Museum (named Volunteer of the Year 2015). He hosted annual summer and Thanksgiving house parties with the Creagers and Dobbs – charades, brownies, oysters and sharing of wisdom included – hilarity non-stop.
Fred Dobbs was extraordinarily open- minded – a humanist, artist, optimist and a fair and caring man. He is terribly missed.
Donations in his memory should go to the Allegany Museum. Now that the flowers he loved are blooming a visitation (extended family in attendance)will be held Thursday May 18, 2:30 – 4:30 at Scarpelli Funeral Home, P.A. (108 Virginia Ave.) , followed by a lay service officiated by George Peter Creager.
Condolences for the family may be left at www.ScarpelliFH.com.