Frederick Roemer, WWII vet, Grumman employee

Frederick Roemer, 88, who passed away May 20

Frederick Roemer, 88, who passed away May 20 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Roemer served in the Navy as a minesweeper off the coast of Japan in WWII and worked at Grumman for 35 years, notably as a Navy contract negotiator. (Credit: Handout)

Frederick "Fritz" Roemer was an honorable and courageous man who always supported his friends, family and country, family members said.

Roemer, who served on a Navy minesweeper in World War II and worked for Grumman Corp. for 35 years, died May 20 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 88.

Roemer was born in Penns Grove, N.J., on Dec. 23, 1923, to Frederick and Dorothy Jones Roemer. In middle school, the family, including Roemer's two younger brothers, moved to Freeport.

He attended Freeport High School, where he met Helen Bourree, the woman who would become his wife. He graduated in 1941, then moved to Collegeville, Pa., to attend Ursinus College.

In the fall of 1942, Roemer enlisted in the Navy. During his military career, Roemer found himself off the coast of Japan in a 160-foot wooden-hulled ship, sweeping for mines that were often anchored just below the water's surface in enemy territory.

"Whereas the shooting stopped, going in harm's way for the minesweepers didn't stop," said Roemer's brother Edward of Bloomingburg, N.Y., a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.

During his military career, Frederick Roemer attended Officer Candidate School at the University of Pennsylvania with his brother Robert. When he was honorably discharged as petty officer second class in April 1946, he returned to Ithaca College to complete his degree and married Bourree in 1947.

Roemer and his wife shared the same sense of humor, said daughter Carolyn Chastain of Bear, Del.

"One of my fondest memories is walking into the kitchen to find them dancing," she said. "They loved to dance."

The couple moved to Freeport in 1949, when Roemer started his career with Grumman, notably as a Navy contract negotiator. All three of the Roemer brothers worked at Grumman, Edward Roemer said.

"It was fun to be close -- our three families were very close," he said.

Frederick, his wife and three daughters moved to Northport in 1968. Roemer retired from Grumman in 1984, and he and his wife moved to Boxford, Mass., in 2001.

He loved gardening, and was constantly "puttering" in his yard, a hobby he passed on to his daughters. "We have plants that were started by my father years ago as seedlings growing in our yards," Chastain said.

After Helen Roemer died in 2006, Roemer married longtime friend Alicia McCrea of Boxford a year later. She took care of him through his sickness, family members said.

Roemer also is survived by daughters, Pamela Carey of Trumansburg, N.Y.; Chris Burke, 51, of Rowley, Mass.; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and five stepdaughters. Funeral services were held in Rowley, Mass., last week.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his memory to the American Heart Association.

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