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. Although I only worked with Fred for a short time, I will always remember his friendliness and charm. Fred carried himself well with the upmost respect for himself and others. I believe Fred made his mark very apparent in many ways in many peoples lives and is now living the real “good life” in heaven. My condolences go out to his family and friends. He was a man that I wish everyone had a chance to meet.

  2. Fred,

    You were like a big brother to me. I never could express in words the effect your life has had on my family and me. Whether it was scavenger hunts as kids or working at the boat launch during the summer, a day spent in your company was always a day worth cherishing. You were one of the last few people on this earth who knew how to truly live, and at the same time live truly. You were always an inspiration to my brother and me, and a reminder that life was meant for living. You taught people more about life with one smile then some people do their entire lives. All I know is that when you get the Pearly Gates all you have to do is flash that smile of yours and heaven won’t ever be the same. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. and Mrs. Stephens, Ramon, I will help in whatever way I can.
    God bless you all

    RIP Fred

  3. Joel:

    I am Fred Stephens’ cousin, Anna, and I want to thank you for the wonderful words you have on your blog about my cousin. You spoke with my husband Nick Moore the other day. Below are more details about the service which you can share on your blog if you like.

    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

    Again, thank you so much for your heartwarming words.



  4. Fred, you are truly a great friend and have touched so many of our life’s. Words cannot explain the pain of your loss. Thank you for being such a great friend and a great person, you will truly be missed. I know you are in a much better place looking over us.

  5. Joel,

    What a wonderful tribute to such a beautiful man. Words cannot express my grief over losing Fred. Will you please contact me at the email address I supplied?


  6. Fred was one of the kindest and happiest people I have met.Outside of his contagious smile and up-beat personality it was hard not to have a good time when hanging out with him. I feel so lucky to have had the pleasure of sharing countless college memories with him and am shocked by this loss. My heart goes out to his family as a great individual lost their life too soon last week. Rest in Peace Fred, I know you are in a better place!!!!

    We will miss you my friend!!!!

  7. Totally shocking. Ton of positive qualities. Very bright person. Instant positive impact on those he met. He made people feel better and enjoy themselves; he gave the gift of hapiness. Since his memory will never die with me or the rest of his friends, he will always make his friends and me happy.

    Very sorry Fred that your time came so early, but I do believe that you must be in a better place.

    To your family, I extend my deepest thoughts and warmth in a very tough time for you.

    Thank you to Joel and to those that are contributing to all of this.

    Chris Dolan
    Sigma Chi 2003

  8. Fred,

    I’ve never met a more well rounded individual than yourself. My deepest condolences are forever extended to your family and all the other people that were privileged enough to share a close relationship with you. You will never be forgotten.

  9. Watched Fred and Ramon grow up best friends with my own sons, Brian and Patrick. Knowing how this has hit us makes it hard to even imagine the devastation Janet, Fred Sr., Ramon and their family are experiencing. We’ve pulled out many pictures from the last 20 years or so, and Fred’s smile continues, and will always continue, to illuminate our lives. Fred is in a better place than we are, for now. We grieve for our own loss and his Family’s tragic sorrow, but are determined to celebrate the joy and beauty that the experience of knowing Fred brought to our lives.
    I’m originally from Ohio. Some years back, after a rare Buckeye loss to the Huskies, the phone rang at home. It was Fred Jr., who was totally enjoying the moment, and exulting over the outcome of the contest. We spoke for a while, insulting each other’s team, but all through the conversation, Fred kept calling me ‘Mr. Reymann’. Finally, I said “Fred, you don’t have to call me Mr. Reymann!”
    “Okay, I won’t, Mr. Reymann.”
    It is a privilege to have known the man.

  10. This was difficult news for me to hear about Fred. I attended St. Anthony’s with Fred 4-8th grade. He was always polite and smiling. I couldn’t understand how anything this tragic could have happened. Even though this was hard to grasp it was Fred’s time to be with the Lord. Fred had done what the Lord had wanted him to do on this Earth and that was warm us all with his kind, bright spirit. Just know that everything happens for a reason and that Fred is smiling big upon us all.

  11. as for me and I’m sure everyone else – I’ve never met someone with such a big, continuous, genuine, soft hearted smile…

  12. Myself and a big group of guys grew up with Fred and Ramon in Puyallup. Some of the funniest and best-loved memories I have from that time, and I’m sure I speak for the other guys as well, are of Fred and Ramon making us laugh. I remember one time when Fred first started driving he went out without telling his parents – he told Ramon to tell them. Well when their parents came home and were looking for Fred, Ramon told them “Fred said he’s independent now and doesn’t need to tell you where he’s going.” The ensuing chaos was priceless – and I have tons of memories equally as priceless. I’ve lost touch with some of the guys over the last couple years, but I always felt in the back of my mind that we’d all get together again and be able to take up where we left off. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Stephens family and friends, and we all know that we’ll see him again one day in Heaven and take up where we left off.

  13. I’m truly dumbfounded..!! Fred and I met in a freshman engineering class, and spoke with each other all throughout college. Although merely a good acquantance, he was someone who had touched my heart. We always bumped into each other at random times and places and had a good conversation. I would adventure saying he was an indirect friend, one I knew would help me if I needed it, even though we never formally spent time together.

    Fred and I’s last encounter which lead to an embarrasing but funny evening:

    Two years ago while out with my girlfreind now fiance’, Fred saw me and ordered a drink and had the waitress bring it to me. Happy to see him I got up and had a small conversation with him. A month or two later I was at Jazz Alley with my fiance and freinds and I saw Fred, he sat down so I called the waitress and had her bring Fred a drink to return the hospitality. The waitress went to him, exchanged conversation, left the drink on her serving plate and walked directly to me and said “he’s under age”. I said “what, he’s a funny guy he’s probably joking” so I took the drink off her plate and offered it to him, come to find out it was Ramone, his brother.. Jokes on me. Being that Ramone had a similar kind, easily approachable demeanor as Fred we shrugged it off and had a good,short conversation..

    I send my condolescenses to the Stephens Family…!!

  14. This is a sad day. Fred was not only loved at UW but but was considered a Brother at the Pi Kappa Alpha Chapter @ WSU as well. Fred, Marquse and I threw multiple Rush functions together. It was because of Fred and his hospitality and support that we were able to recruit the men we needed from the Seattle area to our chapter. Fred was always welcomed in our house and it is because he was just naturally one of the guys. Naturally a good and gentle person.

    Fred was the first sales rep for me when I started working for Explosion Sportswear. He helped me get on my feet 3 years ago when I was the campus rep for UW. He was always so praising and supportive to me. I owe a lot of my current and past collegiate success to him, his mentoring and support.

    It is just shocking that anyone would ever want to do this. I keep asking myself, what in the hell did Fred EVER do to make someone want to fight him and then go on to kill him? I never even heard of some one disliking Fred..EVER!

    Fred you touched so many people in such a good way. I hope that you are in a better place where those will appreciate what you have to offer and not try to do you any more harm. You were such a strong and kind man and were true friend and brother. I will miss you dearly.

    With love and prayers- Jameel

  15. This news is clearly shocking to everyone who knew Fred. A wave of emotion has set over me since the day I received a call about Fred’s tragic death. As many have said before, his smile was infectious and could light up a room. I met Fred at UW and only knew him shortly but ran into him after college every now and then. Each time I saw him he greeted me with a huge hug and smile. The last time I saw him was at a Husky Football game just this past year. That same great smile that I knew from college greeted me in the Montlake parking lot along with his upbeat, drawn out tone as he said my last name. I will forever remember Fred for his amazing charisma and huge heart. You will be missed my friend!! My thoughts are with his family and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

    We love you Fred! -Duval

  16. Fred was in a carpool and a grade school with my children long ago. He was someone so impressive even then, that I have never forgotten him. He was so bright, so polite, so kind, and funny. I imagined and wished for him a wonderful future! I loved his influence on my kids, even for so brief a time, and when I told them what happened they were devastated. Fred, you touched the lives of many people all throughout your life, perhaps more than many people who are gifted with more years. You were a bright light.

    Kathryn G.

  17. Fred,

    The impression you left on me in a short time was a great one. Your smile will be what I always remember throught out my life. I will never forget you and just being near you has changed my life. I pray that you are in heaven now and that you can rest in peace. Thank you for influencing my life.


  18. Fred,

    This day could have waited 100 more years and the world would have been a much better place having you in it. As it is, the world is still a much better place, having had the chance to be embraced by your warmth and amazing smile. I will always remember the fond memories you, myself and all the sigma chi boys had in our run in college. May you rest easy and enjoy the good life. You will be missed beyond belief.

    My thoughts are with your family and all of the people you touched in such a wonderful way.

    Asian Kevin

  19. We have known the Stephens about eight years my son Jason has been friens with Ramon since 9th grade. He always thought as Fred as a big brother to him. Ramon and Fred both were in his wedding, a day we will never forget. We went to the funeral yesterday what a great service. You should be proud of what a wonderful young man you brought up he was really loved by many. Janet,Fred & Ramon our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    We love you
    The Bebo’s

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