Remembering Fred Stephens

Fred’s family has established the Frederick Stephens III Memorial Scholarship Fund so that those who wish to contribute to the memory of Fred may do so.‚  Michael Hesamer will be going on trial for Fred Stephen’s murder on March 5, 2009.

At the request of Fred Stephen’s family, I have removed all photos for the time being. Any photos of Fred should be mailed to Marques Johnson at‚  Below, I have reformatted my original post after I removed the pictures so that it may be easier to understand. My thoughts are with the Stephens family during this time of tragic loss.

Fred Stephens Murder Original post from Tuesday morning February 5th, 2008

Faryar Faramarzi has requested that I post some very sad news to my site today. I have never written about someone that I know who has passed on before and I know I will not be able to do the man justice, but I’ll try.

A friend of mine from when I lived in Sigma Chi fraternity was apparently murdered late Saturday night. Faryar sent me an email and an instant message this morning letting me know and giving me a link to the article.

Frederick Stephens III, 25, was in a hot tub around 1 am when a fight allegedly broke out between Fred and his friend Michael Hesamer, 23 in the recreation center of the apartment complex where they both lived in Lake Oswego. A medical call was placed and the medics had the police come after Fred was found drowned.

Michael Hesamer has an arraignment today at Clackamas County Courthouse. Mr. Hesamer will likely face murder or manslaughter charges.

Fred Stephens was a great guy, never violent and rarely even rough-housed much during the time that I spent with him. If Michael Hesamer was his friend, I think that there was a good chance that the heat of the hot tub, playing around and perhaps alcohol were involved. I will not speculate though until further details come out.

Fred Stephens was a great guy and I am extremely shocked by his death. I have never had a friend die before and I feel numb still. I hadn’t talked to Fred recently, but when we lived in the fraternity I spent a good deal of time getting into all sorts of adventures with him, Faryar, Marques and the other guys.

Fred has left many people behind who cared very much for him. He was one of the most sociable people that I know and was friends with literally hundreds of others in the UW community alone. Fred Stephens graduated from Bellarmine Prep in 2000, received a degree in Chemistry in 2004 from the University of Washington and also attended UW for grad school, recently receiving a degree in Health Services Administration.

I have rarely known anyone who was as kind, funny, adventurous and popular. Fred had a great heart and his death leaves the world a significantly grayer place than it was before.

My heart goes out to Fred’s little brother Ramone at this time, I know he really looked up to Fred and appreciated his influence in his life.

I think the saddest thing is that I can hear Fred’s voice in my head making fun of my post and telling me what to say.

RIP, Fred Stephens, you will be missed.

February 5 Update:

I have been amazed by the amount of people who have been affected by Fred’s death. I posted this blog this morning just expecting my usual readers to see it, but more people have responded to this post than to any other I have ever had. His life touched so many people in so many ways. If I hear when and where his funeral or memorial service are I will post it here, though it seems that Fred’s social grapevine will carry the info even faster.

February 7 Update:

I first posted this blog at Faryar’s suggestion when I first heard of Fred’s death on Tuesday morning. I felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks and just shared what I was thinking. People began to find my post and started to share how they felt as well. Fred Stephens passing has left so many people behind who loved him dearly. This blog posting had so many people coming to look at it that my server nearly crashed; I had 35 times as many visitors in one day as I have ever previously received in a day and a nearly unbelievable 2,700 visitors have come in the last two days. Many people who cared for Fred have left comments as well and I have read them all, it’s heartbreaking. Fred Stephens is sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

Further information on the trial and Fred Stephen’s alleged murderer:

A Clackamas County grand jury is considering the charges against Michael Hesamer in Frederick Stephens III’s death. Michael Hesamer is currently being held in the Clackamas County jail on charges of second manslaughter (though these will likely be changed to murder) and his bail is set at $250,000. More details on Michael Hesamer have emerged recently. Mike Hesamer was 23 years old and had attended Lane Community College and was active in Young Life Ministries. At the time of Fred’s murder, Mike was working for an auto dealership. Mike Hesamer had grown up in the Lake Oswego community (the area he and Fred lived) and had attended Lakeridge High School where he had been a football player. Mike Hesamer had participated in numerous Young Life (a Christian student program) and had gone on a mission to Mexico and various camps in Canada. David Hesamer, Mike’s father, described him as the most kind and gentle person he knew. David Hesamer also said that Mike had been friends with Fred and is “at a loss as to what happened.”

Faryar Faramarzi on Frederick Stephens IIIFebruary 5 1:07 pm:

In the past few hours I have been informed of Fred’s tragic death. We have all lost someone very close to us. Fred Stephens was one of the most genuine, kind-hearted and easy going people I have ever met. Fred would never hurt a fly and he was always up for having a good time. He loved being with his friends and helping them out in any way he possibly could. Thats why this is so shocking to me cause incidents like this should not happen to people like Fred. Anyone who ever had the pleasure to hang out with Fred knows that as soon as this guy walked into a room his smile would light up the room and I can’t remember seeing him sad or unhappy even once in my life. I remember taking Management 320 with Fred Stephens at UW and he would walk into that classroom everyday with a huge smile on his face and that instantly made my day better as well. I also remember when we were groomsmen at Ali’s wedding and we were drinking, partying and telling jokes all night. Fred, I love you man and I really miss you and I know a lot of other people do as well. I can’t believe you’re gone but I know you are in a better place. My heart goes out to everyone who knew Fred, especially his family and his younger brother Ramone.

RIP Brother

Marques Johnson requests photos for memorial:

Marques published the following in a bulletin on MySpace and I put it up here because so many people who knew Fred making comments and sending me photos.

Hello friends,

As I’m sure you all know we’ve lost a great friend in Fred Stephens recently. I’m not going to use this as my forum to express my grief, sadness or frustration regarding his loss, but I do make this request:

I’ve just spoke with his family and they are planning on creating a video/digital tribute in memory of Fred. If you have any digital photos of Fred (appropriate of course) that you think his family, and us his friends, would enjoy please email them to me and I’ll pass them along for his family to incorporate.

My email address is

Thank you on behalf of myself and the Stephens family

Fred Stephens Funeral and Memorial Services

Thursday, February 14, 2008, 2:00pm-8:00pm
Southwest Mortuary
9021 Rainier Ave. So.
Seattle, WA 98118

Friday, February 15, 2008, 11:00am
Funeral Services
First A.M.E. Church
1522 14th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Update February 15: Funeral Service for Frederick Stephens III

I took the day off work today to attend Fred Stephens funeral. It was held at the First African Methodist Evangelical Church on the corner of Madison and 14th Ave. When I arrived there was a long line leading up to the entryway to the church and so I stood in the back with a guy I hadn’t seen in quite a while, Matt Gerken and eventually we made it in and signed the guest book. So many people were already there that they had run out of programs. When I walked in the large sanctuary was already packed full of people who knew and cared for Fred. Since I was by myself I managed to squeeze into a pew near the back, but several dozen more people had to wait for chairs to be brought out. The service began shortly thereafter and was like none I have attended before. The only other times I have been to funerals were for elderly relatives and usually there wasn’t very many people and the ones who were there were very aged. Probably 4-500 people were in attendance to remember Fred and almost everyone (aside from his relatives) were between the ages of 20-30. The service itself was very lively and the pastor made a point that this ceremony was to celebrate Fred’s life and not just to feel bad about his passing. My own dad was a pastor and so I have been to innumerable sermons, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who was as powerful of a speaker as the Reverend who led this service. Perhaps part of his charisma came from the fact that he had personally known Fred. The service was very uplifting and watching the video/ photo tribute to Fred affected everyone in the room. Fred’s charm, open spirit and giant smile has touched so many people. If he had been able to live out the full life he deserved, Fred could have really changed the world. Many people have that said about them and for most of them it isn’t true, but Fred had the talent, intelligence and charisma to do anything he wished. Losing Fred is tragic, but the Reverend had a good point that those left behind should not just feel sorry for themselves, but should pick up Fred’s dreams and start to make a difference in the world like Fred did. After the funeral service, I talked to dozens of people that I haven’t had contact with in years and was amazed at the reach that Fred Stephens life had.

Please feel free to share your stories, experiences and memories of Fred Stephens below in the comments.

Published by

Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

104 thoughts on “Remembering Fred Stephens”

  1. I was lucky enough to know Fred for 4 years of college, and I am very thankful for that. Living across the street from Sigma Chi, I got to know those boys well and will always remember Fred as a kind, gentle, funny, smart, sincere person. His radiant smile and personality will never be forgotten. Thank you for the great memories, Fred. I am sad that I was not able to keep in touch after college. My thoughts are with your family and everyone that had the opportunity to know and love you.

  2. Words cannot express how much Fred meant to so many peoples’ lives. The wonderful comments posted by friends and family alike are testament to how much good can be found in a sometimes cruel world. We can all learn so much from a man like Fred Stephens; he was a friend to everyone, and everyone’s friend. Fred, your smile and attitude is contagious and will be forever missed.

  3. When I learned the news of Fred’s passing, I simply couldn’t believe it. To think that a man with the qualities that Fred embodied has been robbed of his dreams and future accomplishments far before his time, is heart wrenching. Like the rest of us, Fred’s infectious smile, genuine sincerity, compassion, and his love for those around him immediately remind me of what a beautiful person he was. My heart goes out to his family- I cannot imagine the pain and sorrow they are enduring because of the loss of their son and brother- a parents’ dream child and a brother’s best friend.

    My deepest condolences,

  4. Fred thank you for letting us all be a part of your life. There are so many people that feel blessed to have know you. I consider myself luckily to be able to call you my friend. You will truley be missed. I know you are in a better place smiling down on all of us right now.

    My condolences to Fred’s family, especially to his brother Ramone.

  5. I was lucky enough to sit and talk to Fred a few times in the short time in which I knew him. It amazes me that one person can have enough carisma to lighten up a room as soon as he enters. A smile so contagious it could wipe a thousand years of hate from a persons face. A ture tragedy for ALL parties involved. I will be praying for you Fred. Your legacy will live on in the people who loved you. Which appears to be everybody!

  6. I had the opportunity to spend time with Fred throughout my time at the U. He definitely had a contagious smile and such a warm personality! This is absolutely devastating news to hear and my heart goes out to all his family and loved ones.

  7. I have been working closely with Fred in Portland for the last 6 months or so and I am heart-broken by his death. He was such a great guy to work with and spend time with. I already do and know I will continue to miss spending time at his desk talking sports, talking movies, sharing snacks, laughing, joking and occasionally actually getting work done together. I do a corny little Friday Trivia contest at work and Fred always actively participated, took it seriously and quite often won. I always looked forward to it after he won…he’d come over to my cubicle with his HUGE smile and collect his Butterfinger. That’s just one of the many things about Fred I am going to miss. (As a side note, Fred knew Barbie’s –the doll- last name and middle initial. I still think that is amazing.)

    It sounds like I knew Fred in a bit of a different way then a lot of you, as a colleague as opposed to a school friend or fraternity brother, but it is very apparent that he left the same impression on all of us. He was just such a kind, courteous, caring, thoughtful and fun young man that will be deeply missed by all those that were fortunate enough to have met him.

    My deepest sympathies go out to his dear family and all his friends. May God’s mercy, grace and compassion reign down on all of us during this terribly sad time. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Noah Salvione

  8. I’ve sat here and read all the stories about our dearest friend fred. such an impact he had on everyones lives whether it be for years, months, weeks or days. He didn’t know anything but good, and that is what he shared with all of us.

    I remember being sick on a night we had planned to hang out and watch the ducks vs arizona game. I told him i was sick, and his response was “I’m not afraid of whatever little cold you have.” Fred wasn’t afraid of anything. He was a determined person, and that showed from the first time i spoke to him. That night i discovered how terribly uncomfortable his sofas are, how ticklish he is behind the ears on his neck, how much family and friends means to him, how the Appalachian State University beating michigan wolverines changed football rankings forever, and after sitting through a commercial for the Pac10 how much the University of Washington meant to him. Pickles, anchovies and green peppered pizza, never a better choice, huh fred?

    The life and legacy of fred will live on through each of us. Although our smiles will never be as huge as his, we can share ours as though it was!

    Philippians 1:27 – whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worth of the gospel of Christ.

    Matthew 5:16 – in the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven

    Love and Miss you ~KRISTI (ps quack quack)

  9. Living across the street from Sigma Chis for four years was one of my favorite memories of college. And even though I lived across the street, Fred walked me home almost every night I went out freshman year just cause he is that big of a gentleman. I will miss that big smile, his distinctive laugh and his gentle manner. When I think of freshman and sophomore year, I think of Fred. I will miss making a hot tub out of a bath tub in whistler or dancing on the dance floor of sigma chis bar room…. I regret that we didn’t keep in touch after college but feel blessed that I got to know Fred during his short time here on earth…

  10. You had an impact on all of us..even back in Montana..Me and Manness were trying to think of the good times we had with you in Seattle…The most hilarious was when it was Brians 21st Birthday and we were at the All American Sports Bar on the AVe. Know one cared it was Brian’s Birthday, but when Fred entered the door…The guy gets on the microphone of the Bar…and says FREDS IN THE HOOUUSSSSEEE!!!you got like a red carpet with Confetti for going to that bar…It was hilarious….We miss you bro …..From Montana

  11. I’m speechless and do not know where to begin. I met Fred through one of my best friends (Ali) and I used to come to Seattle all the time and just chill with Ali and his friends. I used to have the best times in Seattle and I never knew why… Now I think I know why… How can you not have a good time around such a happy person, smiley and great guy??? As soon as I get to Seattle the first person I ask about is Fred!
    Well, Fred your truly going to be missed a lot!!! I don’t know who I’m going to have the pointless debates with anymore when I’m in Seattle and whose gonna send me random texts to annoy me…. But I will deffinitely miss it!

  12. I guess there never really is ‘the right thing to say’ but say what’s in your heart….
    Upon viewing the pictures on this blog my mom commented ‘ I had forgotten how handsome he is’. She is right. That is how to describe Fred inside and out. I went to St. Anthony’s with him in Renton (a k-8th school) and was lucky enough to connect with him again at UW. When we both did a UW summer internship after HS graduation I think he told my mom that he would look out for me….I think sometimes I was looking out for him. He was the only other person I knew, and when it’s your first time to live away from home, you are very thankful for the people around you. I was lucky enough to have Fred. You could not help but smile when you saw him. From enjoying the first time being abele to live in Dorms to working in labs on campus, I was lucky enough to reconnect with such a kind, caring, intelligent, talented, makes you laugh till it hurts, human being. I remember sitting in a Freshman Chemistry lecture at UW with 200+ people. I started laughing a little bit to myself because out of all those students, the only other African American student in the room was Fred. He will be missed and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, to all of you that have had the chance to meet him, and to the rest of the world that will be missing out on the chance to get to know him.

  13. Fred, i couldnt thank you enough for being there and bringing out the best in my sister Alex. I love how incredibly happy she was when ever she talked about you or was thinking about you… (you know when shes thinking about you, because she would always be smiling!)… We had some good times when you would come visit the fam in Tahoe. Singing P-Diddy while boating just pretty much laughing the whole time! i know one thing that i will never fotget is your SMILE! They say memories last forever, i know we all have many amazing memories with Fred and those memories will be with us in our hearts forever.

    See you at the Crossroads- Bone Thugs

  14. Fred,
    Your amazing smile was so contagious. I looked forward to your yearly Vegas trips. I can’t even begin to write how devastated I became, when I heard of your sudden departure from us. You are such an amazing gentleman. I am so blessed that I met you through my cousins ALI and I hope you know that I will miss your Holiday text messages. Your family should be so proud of raising such an amazing and smart son!!! You will never be forgotten. RIP MY FRIEND! We are so lucky to have an ANGEL like you above us 🙂

  15. Fred,
    You were an amazing young man that his life was cut very short. Your smile would brighten up a room. I’ve always remember your smile when you worked for me and calling me “sir”. Fred you will be missed son.
    Uncle Tony
    Joel thank you for the blog and all your hard work to remember a fine young man. Thank you

  16. Fred,
    I’m shocked and honestly don’t know what to say. It was great to run into you last summer. You will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure to know you.

  17. I have never known a kinder heart or a warmer smile than that of Fred. He immediately lit up a room from the moment he stepped into it. My fondest memories consist of lots of laughter and LOTS of dancing. He told me next time he was in Seattle, we’d go out downtown dancing. Still brings a smile to my face. Fred, you have touched so many lives and your memory will continue to do. Thank you for being a part of mine.

  18. I didn’t know Fred as well as the rest of you, but I condsider him my friend. Brian and I found this on the tombstone of Brandon Lee and I feel it is appropriate. “Because we don’t know when we die we get to think of life as an inexhaustable well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon in your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being you can’t even concieve of your life without it? Perhaps for or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet, it all seems limitless.” Fred, you were a shining example of how we all should live. The real tragedy would be for all of us to forget that now that you’re gone.


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