John Henry Frick, 80, — husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague — passed away at home surrounded by his family on June 10, 2023. He fought pancreatic cancer valiantly for over 4 years.
John was born on a family farm in Quay, Oklahoma on November 14, 1942. He grew up picking cotton, milking cows, hauling hay, and performing the myriad other chores involved with farming. This unrelenting labor led him to diligently pursue his education. He graduated from Quay High School in 1960 and began attending the 2-year Connors State College in Warner, OK that fall. After the first year, John spent the summer selling bibles and books door-to-door in Luray, VA. Since he did not have a car, he would walk the country roads around Luray to make his sales. After his second year, he and friends headed west to California where they harvested plums near Bakersfield.
In the fall of 1962, John transferred to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. It was here, during the spring semester, that he met the love of his life, Wanda Fleetwood. They were married in December 1963 in an unusual pre-Christmas Oklahoma snowstorm.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in science education in 1964, John spent 4 years teaching biology at Madison Junior High School in Bartlesville, OK. In 1968, he received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study for his master’s degree at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, OK. He received his master’s degree in 1969 and decided to pursue a Ph. D. He earned his Doctorate Degree in Entomology in 1973 and accepted a one-year position at OSU teaching invertebrate zoology.
In 1974, John moved his family across the country to Maryland after accepting a position at the Army Environmental Hygiene Agency with Edgewood Arsenal at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. This is where John began working with the disposal of hazardous materials. In 1981, John accepted a position at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in Cameron Station, VA. He commuted the 75 miles between Joppatowne, MD to Cameron Station for 6 years so that his 2 sons could graduate from the school they were attending. In 1984, John and 2 colleagues created the nonprofit Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), including the credentialing organization, Certified Hazardous Materials Management (CHMM). CHMM has become an internationally recognized organization that credentials hazardous materials managers in all 50 states and 47 countries. In 2003, John retired from his civil service position with DLA and became the executive director of CHMM. He retired from that position in 2009.
In addition to educational and professional pursuits, John was a student of life. He loved to learn and was involved in many hobbies and activities. John coached his sons’ Little League Baseball teams and attended many of his granddaughter’s extracurricular activities. He was proud of his family and encouraged and celebrated their unique interests.
John dabbled in a variety of hobbies over the years. From painting and pottery to ceramics and calligraphy, he continued to explore. For many years, John designed the family Christmas card. Using calligraphy and watercolor paints, he hand-painted and hand-addressed each card he sent to family and friends. He also enjoyed woodworking and hand-built a cradle for his four granddaughters, a family heirloom.
The outdoors was where John spent most of his time. He bought a boat with his son, Kyle, and enjoyed crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay. While landscaping and caring for his yard, he created a bird, bee, and butterfly sanctuary. His large family garden provided abundant harvests and feeding and watching the birds were daily activities. He cared about his community, serving as President, Vice President, and Treasurer of the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) in the 1990s.
John also pursued cycling, riding 500 miles in 2011. He especially enjoyed square and round dancing, serving as Vice President and President of the Belair Square Cats, a Bowie square dance club. John attended all national square dance conventions from 2000 to 2018 and used these trips as opportunities to explore the country. John brought his artistic and woodworking talents to his square dance community, directing a group who designed and constructed decorations for square dance festivals in the area, WASCA, and MDSDF. These decorations were large and elaborate, designed for large dance halls, and constructed in John’s basement.
Travel and exploration were important to John. He visited family and friends in Oklahoma, Arkansas, California, Texas, and North Carolina. In addition, John and Wanda were “high pointers,” reaching the highest point in 20 states during their adventures. One of his many trips was to Spain where he was able to spend 3 days walking 50 miles on the Camino de Santiago. His last adventure was visiting the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA on January 1, 2019, followed by a 2-week cruise from Long Beach, CA through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, FL. Upon returning home he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
John was predeceased by his parents Ernest and Clara (Going) Frick and his brother Ray Frick. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Wanda (Fleetwood) Frick; his two sons Kevin (Lisa) Frick of Naples, FL and granddaughters, Amber and Holly; and Kyle (Debbie) Frick of Havre de Grace, MD and granddaughters, Sarah and Allie. He is also survived by his sister Allene Brewer of Bartlesville, OK, a niece, Suzanne and 3 nephews, Greg, Sonny, and Dan.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at Beall Funeral Home, 6512 Crain Hwy, Bowie, MD 20715. Visitation will begin at 10 am followed by the Memorial Service at 11 am. Following the service, please join the family to share memories of John at Old Bowie Town Grille, 8604 Chestnut Ave., Bowie, MD 20715.
A private Interment ceremony was held on June 14, 2023, at Serenity Ridge Natural Burial Cemetery and Arboretum, Windsor Mill, MD.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to The Chesapeake Bay Foundation via their website, www.cbf.org or by mail to Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Attn: Membership Dept., 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis, MD 21403, or the charity of your choice.