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Koenig owner worked hard, played hard

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May 15, 2013 - Norman J. Fredericks, Jr. worked hard, played hard and accomplished much during his time on this planet.

Sadly, Norm, who owned and operated the Koenig Sand & Gravel mining operation in Oxford Township for many years, won't have the opportunity to continue enjoying the fruits of his labor as he passed away on Monday, May 6, 2013. He was 73.

Diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2012, Norm "never complained" about his health situation, according to his brother Peter Fredericks.

"He had always hoped that he was going to beat it and lived every day as if he would," Peter said. "He fought to the very end and maintained his sense of humor."

The Fredericks family has owned Koenig since the company's founding in 1870. Koenig's been mining in Oxford since 1924 and mining the 1,200-acre property it currently owns between Lakeville and Ray roads since 1928.

"He worked his entire life at the company," said Peter, who's currently president of Koenig Sand & Gravel and one of its owners.

Norm, who graduated from Detroit Jesuit High School and lived in Bloomfield Hills, started working at the family business in 1962 after graduating from Georgetown University with a degree in business with an emphasis on computers.

"Our father would not let us come into the business unless we had some special background or trade," Peter said. "(Norm) came in as a computer specialist. He wrote and did all the programming for us for many years."

But Norm didn't limit himself to computers.

"He did a little bit of everything," Peter said. "We weren't able to work here unless we had done every single job. He did sales. He did quality control. But really, his specialty was computers with the old punch card systems."

Norm became president of Koenig Sand & Gravel in 1997. Prior to that, he had served as president of Koenig Fuel & Supply since August 1980.

Koenig Sand & Gravel supplied the materials for Koenig Fuel & Supply, which was sold in 2004, to make ready-mix concrete.

As a businessman, Peter described his brother as "a very organized, hands-on individual, who liked working with the customers and employees."

Norm retired from his role as Koenig Sand & Gravel's president in 2009.

"He liked working, but he really loved life," said Peter, who described his brother as "a very social, outgoing person," beloved by all of his family and friends.

"He liked to be around people and have a good time."

Norm loved to play sports. He excelled at a variety of athletic endeavors, particularly handball and squash. He was ranked Number One in the United States as a handball player for many years.

Norm was recently honored as a 50-year member of the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC), where he spent many hours playing handball and squash.

As a DAC member, he was president of the Beavers, the Blackballers and the Bowlers, all of which are various athletic groups at the historic Detroit club. He was the only person to ever hold all three positions.

An avid golfer, Norm scored two holes-in-one – one in Acapulco, Mexico and the other at the Melbourne Country Club in Australia. He was a member of both the Bloomfield Hills Country Club and The Yacht & Country Club in Stuart, Florida.

Norm was a serious tennis player and belonged to the Birmingham Tennis Club. He also enjoyed yachting and kept a 22-footer in Florida that he named "eNORMous."

"He had a great sense of humor," Peter said.

Outside of sports, Norm had an appreciation for birds and was a member of the Audubon Society.

A Memorial Mass was held on Friday, May 10 at Holy Name Church in Birmingham, where Norm was a longtime parishioner.

Memorial tributes can be made to Beaumont Hospice, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Oakland Family Services or a charity of the donor's choice.

Norm is survived by his wife of 48 years Marjorie (nee Toth) and children Norman J. Fredericks III (Lisa-Marie), Jill Fredericks Schmidt (Joseph) and Susan Fredericks Bruce (Steven).

He is also survived by his grandchildren Nicole, Michael and David Fredericks, Taylor and Jaime Schmidt, and Walker and Carter Bruce; siblings Lois Thornbury (the late Michael Thornbury), Marcia McGratty (Edward), Dick Fredericks (Stephanie), Anne Fredericks (Marc Fasteau) and Peter Fredericks (Michele); and many nieces and nephews. He was the brother-in-law of Anne Sommerfeld (Dave), Susan Currier and Mickey Cooney (William).

He was preceded in death by his parents Norman Fredericks, Sr. and Lois (nee Foley).

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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