Fred Meredith, hero to Austin cyclists, passes on

One of Austin’s cycling giants passed a few days ago. I knew Fred through our interactions on the Bicycle Advisory Council, various rides, LAB stuff, and just bumping into him around town. Ride in peace, good sir. The following was posted to Facebook earlier today by Fred’s wife:

Fred Allen Meredith, 1941–2019

Fred Allen Meredith, age 77, a long-time resident of Manchaca, Texas, passed away peacefully on April 15, 2019, at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas.

Born on August 28, 1941 in Long Beach, California, to John Fred Meredith and Margaret Eloise Mahan Meredith, he graduated from Travis High School in Austin, Texas, in 1959 and then served in the US Navy until he was honorably discharged in 1967, having attained the rank of Machinist Mate First Class Petty Officer. His final tour of service was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam. He was honored with the Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, and Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Medal.

Following his military service, Fred attended The University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a BA in psychology in 1970 and an MA in film production in 1973. From 1973 to 1978 he continued his studies at The University of Texas as a special student (permission to take undergraduate and graduate classes with the professor’s approval) in the College of Fine Arts.

As writer, artist, photographer, and advocate for bicycling safety, Fred impacted the lives of many. He served as board member (1990, 1991, and 1997) and president (1990) of the Austin Writers’ League (now the Writers’ League of Texas). He also served on the board of the League of American Bicyclists from 2000 to 2002 and was a lifetime member of both of those organizations. From 1978 to 1979, Fred was general manager and columnist for the Onion Creek Free Press, a weekly newspaper published in Buda, Texas. He was also editor of Austin Cycling News, Southwest Cycling News, and other print and online publications of the Austin Cycling Association from 1992 to 2013.

In keeping with his interest in art, Fred served as docent for The University of Texas Huntington Art Galleries (1971–1972) and the Austin Museum of Art/The Contemporary Austin, with exhibits in downtown Austin and at Laguna Gloria (2001–2017). He particularly enjoyed talking about art and artists to groups of elementary school students.

From 1972 to 1982, he was a freelance photographer and writer, engaged in commercial photography by contract or assignment. He also exhibited and sold photographs and paintings at various Texas art fairs and galleries, including a month-long, one-man exhibit at the Galleria Restaurant in Austin. His photography awards include Grand Prize in Minolta Camera Corporation’s National Photo Competition (1974) for which he was awarded a Minolta camera system, a TR-6 sports car, and an all-expense-paid trip to France and England. The following year he was awarded honorable mention in Bicycling Magazine’s National Photo Contest.

Fred was an avid bicyclist since the early 1990s. From 1996 to 2008, he was League Cycling Instructor (LCI) for the League of American Bicyclists, leading road bike safety classes throughout the United states, as well as training other instructors. In the fall of 1996 he was named Effective Cycling Instructor of the Year by the League of American Bicyclists. Fred met his wife Nancy Meredith on a bicycle ride in Austin, Texas, in 1993, and they rode their bicycles from Manchaca to their wedding at the childhood home of writer Katherine Ann Porter in Kyle, Texas, on May 19, 1996. Fred particularly enjoyed bicycle touring, having bicycled from Chicago to Washington, DC; from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada; along the California coast; and from Manchaca to Wichita Falls, Fredericksburg, and Corpus Christi, Texas. He also did bicycle touring in Mexico, Ecuador, Ireland, and Scotland. Perhaps his greatest contribution to bicycling, however, was his role in organizing, planning, and supporting various charity rides in support of cures for cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

Survivors include his wife Nancy; daughters Gretchen Meredith (Kim Clausen) of Austin and Denise Meredith-Clark of Manchaca; sister Marsha Meredith of San Antonio; stepdaughters Emily Murphy of Manchaca and Kate McAtee of Austin; granddaughter Cecilia Marie Clark of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fred was preceded in death by his first wife, Sandra Peterson Meredith, and both of his parents.

Memorial contributions are welcome at Hospice Austin,; Insulin for Life USA,; or The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research,

The family wishes to thank Hospice Austin for their help and support. A celebration of life will be held at a time to be determined.

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