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Fred Akel

1/3/2018


Fred A. Akel, age 80, of Lincoln Park and a former longtime resident of Wayne, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

Fred was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. A bright and gifted kid, he skipped a grade and was therefore able to graduate from Brooklyn’s Manual Training High School in 1954. Unfortunately, his dear father John passed away suddenly when Fred was a young teenager, so following graduation, Fred was called upon to run his family’s grocery business - Akel’s Grocery in Brooklyn. He managed the store until he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Before serving, in 1958, Barbara was having her sweet sixteen party. Since they grew up across the street from each other, it was customary for everyone in the neighborhood to be invited. During the party he asked Barbara if she would like to go out with him. Their first date was to the movies to see The Ten Commandments. They dated for five years, two of which Fred was serving in the Army. He served in Germany, from November, 1960 until October, 1962. During his service, his eardrum was permanently damaged and from that time forward he served as a clerk typist for the Military Police while back home in the states, Barbara awaited his return.

When he returned to the states in the fall of 1962, they planned their wedding and exchanged their vows on Saturday, February 23, 1963 at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Brooklyn with Barbara’s uncle Monsignor Elias Skaff presiding. After a reception at the Bossert Hotel – a place where the Brooklyn Dodgers would often stay, Fred and Barbara honeymooned at the Honeymoon Haven in the Poconos. The honeymoon lasted only four days because Fred had to get back to his new job at the John Hancock Insurance Company.

Fred enjoyed a rewarding career with John Hancock Insurance Company. He started as an insurance agent, underwriting policies for his many satisfied clients. Fred enjoyed upward mobility in the company later becoming a staff manager before ultimately rising to the level of Labor Relations Administrator. He and Barbara were transferred to Ohio and Illinois from 1969 to 1976. After that they were able to relocate back to the east coast, and settled in Wayne where they spent the next 39 years enjoying life and raising their four beautiful daughters.

In 1993, at the age of 55, he was able to retire but, still having a lot to give to this world, he started a new venture selling comforters. He eventually added sweaters to his line of offerings which he would sell at various flea markets. His outgoing, warm personality and genuine love for people in general enabled him to enjoy much success until he decided to explore another new venture – working with a Funeral Home in Brooklyn. Since his roots were in Brooklyn, he still knew what seemed like just about everybody that lived there. Again, his warm personality, ability to speak Spanish and Arabic, and his genuine care for the grieving enabled him to serve his client families well.

Although he lived all those years in Wayne, Fred’s Brooklyn roots went deep. He used to say, “You can take the guy out of Brooklyn but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the guy.” When he was just eighteen, he joined a men’s club in Brooklyn called the SYMA. He even served as president of this group for many years. It was a social club, but was also involved in charitable endeavors. Fred also loved to go to Atlantic City, which he visited frequently with a variety of family and friends. He enjoyed many games of chance and everyone knew his lucky number was 8.

Above all else, Fred positively adored his family. He was blessed with four daughters. When they were young he even coached them in a town softball league. Although Fred had little experience with the sport, as luck would have it he was teamed up with a very knowledgeable teenage girl who knew the sport well. With a mix of coaching advice and a bit of his natural charm, he ended up being coach of the year and they even asked him to coach the all-star team!

When it came to his nine much-loved grandchildren, he used to say, “If I knew having grandchildren was going to be this much fun, I would have had them first!” Fred spent the next few years enjoying countless celebrations, sporting events, and the accomplishments of his grandchildren. Like any good grandfather, he taught all of his grandkids how to play poker and blackjack. He also enjoyed cooking with them and his granddaughters always enjoyed a friendly competition of trying to be his favorite granddaughter.

Fred's big heart and compassion along with his infectious personality made him an extraordinary man. He wanted to tip everyone from the person who washed his windshield at the gas station to the nurses who helped him in the hospital, not because he felt obligated but because he truly believed they deserved it. Fred had a way of making everyone feel like they mattered.

His positive outlook on life and his charismatic warmth just put everyone he met at ease. It should really come as no surprise that he was this way because to Fred, his fellow man or woman was the most important thing of all. He would often say that anything that could be replaced with money really had no value. People were the most important!

Fred was the beloved husband of Barbara (nee Skaff), loving father of Christine Akel of Elmwood Park, Joanne and husband Michael D’Aloia of Wayne, Michelle Antonucci of Saddle Brook, and Renee and husband Andrew Centineo of Fairfax, VA; adored grandfather of Allison, Tyler, Christopher, Alexis, Victoria, Trevor, Caitlin, Jake, and Jenna; caring brother of Claire Kressaty and her late husband Fred, and brother-in-law of Richard DeFalco. He was predeceased by his dear sister Yvonne DeFalco in 2002.

Friends may visit with the family at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, on Sunday, January 7, 2018 from 3-8 PM.

Funeral Services will be held on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 10:00 AM from the funeral home, then to Our Lady of the Valley R.C. Church, 630 Valley Road, Wayne, where at 11:00 AM a Funeral Mass will be offered.

In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy in Fred’s name, are asked to consider St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial Processing, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959 or at www.stjude.org.

Guest Book

1/5/2018

Dear Barbara and Family . My deep Sorrow and Prayers are with you at this sad Time . In My own way I Have nice Memories of Fred . that Go back to my Grandmothers Time and my uncle Al and my Mom . His Smile and Laughter was infectious . as his Kind way of Speaking to all. That Generation Was The Best . with my sincere Love . Diane

Diane Gegarian Moussa

1/5/2018

Dear Barbara and your family I was so sorry to hear about Fred’s passing. I have so many fond memories from those bus trips to AC to him coming into the bank You and Fred always welcomed me to your home when I tagged along with Vickie to your house. Great memories. Prayers to you and the girls. Love Gen

Genevieve Restivo

1/6/2018

Barbara, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. There’s another angel in heaven. ????

Laurie D’Amico

1/6/2018

Dearest Barbara & Family, Our deepest condolences to all the family. We are very disappointed that we are not able to say good bye to Fredie. He was always there for us and our family and we will miss him.

loraine & gene Mullaly

1/6/2018

Dear Barbara and family, what a beautifully written obituary. May you all find peace and consolation in the memories you have shared. Much love and prayers, Jolene Leon ox

Jolene Leon

1/6/2018

Barbara, my sincerest condolences to you and your family! Memories are forever! God bless you and your family!

Janice Wells

1/6/2018

I am so sad to hear this news. Fred was an amazing individual. There was no doubt of his awesome kindness. He was 41a humble caring man. He was so kind to my family especially when my brother Paul passed. I have so many great memories of those awesome days on Clinton street. May the Lord escort Fred thru the streets of Heaven. Our thoughts & prayers are with Barbara & the family. May his memory be eternal. With much love. Alexis & Chris Matragos (Khoury)

ALEXIS KHOURY MATRAGOS

1/6/2018

I just read the Virgin Mary notification that your wonderful husband has gone home to be with Our Lord and Savior. Antoinette and Joseph join me in expressing our deep sympathy on the news of Fred's death. I have such deep respect and admiration as I remember Fred always being there to help out and get the job done. We live in Washington, DC and will not be able to make Fred's viewing or funeral. Be assured of our sympathy and our prayers. Love, Ron, Antoinette and Joseph Hamrah

Ron Hamrah

1/6/2018

Dear Barbara and family, I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. May the Dear Lord give you peace and comfort and repose Fred’s soul in the paradise of joy.

Laila Bichara

1/7/2018

Dear Barbara and family, we are so saddened to hear of Fred’s passing. Our deepest sympathies for your loss. Love Brian and Karen

Karen Potter

1/7/2018

Dear Barbara.. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. With deepest sympathy, Love, Karen Solo

Karen Solo

1/7/2018

Dear Barbara and family, May all the happy memories shared with your beloved Fred comfort you now and forever. I offer my prayer for God's grace on Fred's soul, and for his family. My sincerest condolences, Your former IBM coworker,

Tina Bilesky

1/7/2018

Dear Akel Fanily, I want to share my deepest sympathy for the loss of your father. He always treated me with kindness and warmth whenever I visited your home. Mrs Akel I am heartbroken for you and your family. I know it’s been a long time but I count Renee as my oldest and dearest friend. May the love and strength you all share bring you peace during this most difficult time. You are ALL in my thoughts and prayers. You have a fantastic Angel smiling down on you. God Bless you! Much love, Janine Arciero and family.

Janine Arciero

1/8/2018

Deal Akel Family - The thoughts of all of your Ohio friends are with you in this time of loss. Please know the memories you have will last a lifetime and your Dad will always be with you. Chris and Lisa Johnson and friends.

Chris Johnskn

1/8/2018

Dear Barbara, I am so very sorry for your loss. May his memory be a comfort and blessing to you, your children and your grandchildren. Helene

Helene Rude

1/10/2018

My heart is truly sad to hear of Fred's passing. I am so grateful to those who planned our family reunion this past year and happy that I was able to go, for I will now always have the memories of sitting on the porch, talking, and sharing time with this very gentle, dear man. My love, hugs, and prayers to the family. You are very much in my thoughts. May God comfort you. - Caroline

Caroline Akel Hejja


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