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Frederick C. Tontarski, 93, of Watertown, NY, passed away on November 3, 2023, surrounded by his loving family and dedicated caretakers.
He was born on August 20, 1930, in Pierrepont Manor, NY, the son of Stephen and Agnes (Howe) Tontarski. He graduated from Copenhagen High School in 1948 where he excelled in sports, especially basketball. He subsequently served his country in the U.S. Army from April 13, 1951 to March 26, 1953. During his service he received the Army Occupational Medal of Germany. Upon his honorable discharge, Fred married Gerry Clemons of Denmark, NY on May 2, 1953. He pursued higher education at SUNY Delhi earning an Associate in Applied Science degree with a major in Building Construction in 1955. Fred embarked on a successful career that included working for Morrison-Knudsen Co. where he contributed to the construction of the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, NY. He later joined Farquhar Construction in Watertown, and as superintendent played a pivotal role in designing and constructing various commercial buildings and homes throughout the area. He went on to take the position of building superintendent of the Dulles State Office Building where he worked for several years. Fred then went back to his passion and started a contracting business with his son Terry. In 1978, Fred established FABCO, a manufacturing company specializing in custom-designed roof and floor truss systems as well as engineered wood products. He took immense pride working with Gerry and his sons creating a company that values product quality and customer service.
Community service was a big part of Fred's life. He and Gerry were dedicated members of the Black River Kiwanis Club where he received numerous awards. He previously served as chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party. Fred served as chairman of the Town of LeRay Planning Board for many years and was involved with several other community organizations. Fred had a deep passion for stock car and NASCAR races, bowling, boating, and working on cars. He was an avid collector and enthusiast of cars and enjoyed spending time with his heavy equipment, where he showcased exceptional skills as an operator. He may have been known to occasionally stop at Brookside Diner for a cup of coffee and good conversation.
He is survived by his loving wife, Gerry C. Tontarski, and their six children: Frederick G. “Rick” and Eileen Tontarski of Black River, Loren S. and Sherry Tontarski of West Henrietta, NY, Candice J. "Candy" and Dean Wilt, Terry L. and Shelly Tontarski, Lucinda A. and Joseph Hance, and Daniel C. and Jackie Tontarski, all of Watertown. Fred is also survived by 14 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, Fred was predeceased by a brother and sister-in-law, Francis and Ferne Tontarski, as well as two sisters and brothers-in-law, Betty and Joseph Brescia and Mary and William Monnat.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, November 9, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Bruce Funeral Home in Black River.
A funeral service is scheduled for Friday, November 10, at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, with burial to follow at Sanford Corner Cemeteries.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to "Fred's Angels", Jill, Kim, Kora, Tina, Jen, Julie and others for their care, love and devotion to our parents. Also special thanks to Fred’s partner in adventures and closest friend Paul Green for always being there for our father.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Black River Fire Dept., Black River Ambulance Squad or Hospice of Jefferson County. Online condolences may be left at www.brucefh.combru