AMerican Veteran 11

Dee L Fife

June 5, 1937 ~ May 17, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


Dee L Fife was born June 5, 1937 in Mentone, Indiana, to Luther and Caroline Fife. Dee played basketball at Richland Center High School and worked with his father in plumbing. After graduation, Dee pursued further education by joining the U.S. Army, where he excelled in the Nike Ajax, Bomarc, and Athena Missile Fire Control Systems. He then worked at MacDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis, Missouri, maintaining the F-101 Airborne Fire Control Systems. In August 1959, Dee had the opportunity to move to Florida and work for Vitro Services Company as a crew chief for the Bomarc Missile system, and drone control equipment in the Eglin Gulf Test Range. Meanwhile, Dee was the Group and Search Mission Commander with the Civil Air Patrol out of Eglin, and the President of the Playground Aero Club where he enjoyed being a pilot.

Dee's interests shifted and he began working with John Smith Air Conditioning in Fort Walton Beach, heading up their service department. In 1972, Dee struck out on his own and started Fife Refrigeration to service residential air conditioning. Then he added commercial service between Panama City to Pensacola, with up to eight service trucks on the road. In 1975, Dee and Freda incorporated Fort Walton Restaurant Equipment and opened a local store on North Beal Parkway in Fort Walton Beach. In 1977, Dee and Freda moved into a larger store and shop on South Perry Avenue, where they operated two very successful businesses until December 2022.

Dee was active in the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, Son’s of Italy, American Legion, VFW Lodge, and numerous events.

Dee married Freda Joan Ulrich on July 6, 1957 in Illinois, enjoying 57 years of marriage. They had two sons, Dale and Russell Fife, who were born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Dee was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Lois Tuell and Charlene Thomas, and his wife Freda. Dee is survived by his sisters, Sandy Bedsole and Sharon Kettner, sons, Dale (Cecilia) and Russell (Beth) Fife, eight grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren, which he loved dearly.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled and announced later.

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