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San Marcos Chapel & Vista Chapel

Boats 06


Frederick O. Engerer

March 28, 1929 ~ January 27, 2019 (age 89)

Frederick Oscar Engerer

3/28/1929 - 1/27/2019


Born March 28, 1929 Dad grew up in Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. His parent's Ida Louise Knuer and William O. Engerer came to the United States in 1928 from Germany.

Dad joined his Uncle's Captain Engerer's Wild Animal Circus in Laurelton, Long Island in 1937 when he was 8 yrs old to be a Bareback Stunt Rider for a summer job. He continued  with the Wallace Brothers Circus  in the summer of 1943 and traveled the Eastern Seaboard with his Uncle, the Lion Trainer.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1946-1949 and was stationed in Germany and attended school for Cryptographic & Teletype repairmen. He was assigned to the Frankfort Signal Center.

Later from 1951- 1970 he was employed by Airborne Instrument Laboratory, Mineola, NY  and was a Field Engineer for Radar sites in Canada & Nuclear Radiation Detectors in Atomic Subs. Dad then worked for Bechtel Power Corp from 1973-1976 as a Senior Field Engineer in San Francisco and was transferred to San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant as a Senior Cost Engineer in 1976. He last worked for  Bernards Bros Construction as a Safety Engineer for the new Disney California Adventure Park.

At age 71 he retired in June 2000 and sailed across the Atlantic for 20 days aboard the Tall Ship Dar Moldziezy  in the Trans Atlantic Tall Ship Race to Amsterdam from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He continued his sailing adventures until 2016 at age 87. In 2002 he sailed from England to France and from Norway to the Russian Border. In 2004: Belgium to Denmark, Denmark to Norway, and then onto Cuxhaven Germany. In 2006: Portugal to Spain.

He married Avalon R. Probst of Huntington, NY in 1960 and they celebrated 58 yrs of marriage on October 23, 2018. He has resided  in Vista, CA since 1976  with his family and his survived by his spouse Avalon R. Engerer, daughter Avalon B. Yates (spouse Carl Yates), daughter Lorelei Engerer, daughter Malinda Grumblatt (spouse Jim Grumblatt) and his grandson Colin Jones.


Loving Husband, Father & Grandfather

"Forty Two Ships in 60 years" Dad would tell us... "Avie, it's time to update my sailing resume..." "Dad, your resume is over five pages long... where are you sailing to now?"  I would edit and edit, but he kept adding more....

Dad  gave his family a beautiful gift.... his love of sailing and the sea.  Our first family boat was the "Lorelei" in 1958 , a 20 ft wooden sloop that sailed the Great South Bay.  In 1967 he built "Sea Tanzer"  (German for Sea Dancer) - a 31 ft Kenner Privateer Ketch, from a fiberglass hull in our side yard in Oakdale, Long Island, NY.  It was winter and every night after work he would climb up that big ladder with so much pride to build the family boat of his dreams for us within 6 months.  What an accomplishment Dad!

From the moment she launched, Dad became "Captain Fred" and gave us wonderful memories of summers on Fire Island and the Great South Bay.  Lorelei & I would marvel at the ocean and dance in the waves.  Dad loved building sand castles and would chase the sandpipers with us.  Dad would  way anchor sometimes and go clamming. Malinda would down clams on the half shell like they were going out of style. She was only 3 yrs old.

We were docked at Barrett Beach all summer, Dad would come over on the Sayville Ferry  on the weekends and Lorelei and I would rush over to get Dad and of course those delicious jelly donuts that came too! Clam Bakes with the Walsh Family, beach combing, bonfires, Lorelei & I playing around in the dingy, crabbing on the bayside docks, Mom's fantastic  Ham & Swiss Sandwiches on Kaiser Rolls & German Potato Salad : from the best deli ever-Idle Hour Deli, Dad's favorite.  And of course... no one will forget the time Mom & Dad sailed up on the bay side beach under FULL SAIL after a Cocktail raft up party with the yacht club. Through it all... day sails, sailing cruise trips & races, bad weather and fog... we were always followed and protected by "Petey the Seagull," dad would tell us.  Those are the memories I have.

Later on, in the early 1970's, Sea Tanzer moved with us to Tiburon, CA,  where we had waterfront property and she was docked at our home.  Captain Fred continued our adventures on the San Francisco Bay...which was not always a smooth sail!  "Dad, please take down the Main Sail , I would plead...we are healed over way too much..." he loved the thrill...

In 1976 we moved to Vista, as Dad was transferred from Bechtel Corporation to be a Senior Cost Engineer at San Onofre. Dad heard that Vista had an awarding winning Marching Band and once again Sea Tanzer followed us and was docked at Oceanside Harbor.

I had played the flute since 4th grade and with Dad's love of John Philip Sousa and marching bands there was no way  I wasn't going to be in that band.

He followed the band everywhere... which included spying on me after band practice at Pizza Chalet in Vista. The band members would say..."Hey Avie, isn't that your Dad peeking through the window??  We called him "Colombo " aka Peter Faulk from the TV show or definitely a Walther Matthau/Jack Lemon comedy!

Maybe I paved the way for my sisters growing up throughout our teenage years... I am sure Lorelei & I exhausted him with our he eased up on Malinda " his Matinda"

Time went  on and after high school Dad sold Sea Tanzer......but that did not stop his love for sailing or the sea. He sailed aboard may Tall Ships, including the Dar Moldziezy a 311 ft Square Rigger on the Tall Ships Transatlantic Race  from Nova Scotia to Amsterdam in 2000.  He was 71 years old. It was twenty days at sea including a gale storm and they came in first place!  He kept a journal of every detail, with nautical charting and the ships location....The San Diego Union printed a wonderful story of his journey.

Perhaps the most endearing and memorable sail would be with his beloved grandson Colin Jones in 2010 aboard Roald Amundsen a 134ft Tall Ship in the Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge from Duluth MN to Green Bay WI. Dad was 80 yrs old.

Dad's  last sail was in 2016 at 87 yrs aboard Isaac Evans at 65ft Schooner from Rockland, Maine for 6 days to the Acadia National Park in Maine.

Dad loved his family endlessly and has taught us so much. His perseverance and taking a challenge carried over to all of us. "Always be positive, hold your course,  just do your best, it will be ok ..." If life gives you trouble, just adjust the sails", he would say. We have so many wonderful memories of Dad...

After all these years, I was lucky enough to find our "Sea Tanzer"  last year and tell Dad all about it and show him pictures. He had a blown up picture of her in his room. The owner is also from Long Island, German and loved Fire Island. She is docked at Humphrey's Marina in San Diego. All of the original rigging, cushions & bronze dolphins are still there.

The new owner said, don't worry Fred I will fix her up for you just as you had her and I will take you on a sail when you are ready..... Sail on Dad, we love you.

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