Dick Fryklund passed away earlier this week at the age of 95. He was a founder of our Paddlers Club in the early 1990's, he and inspired many of us with his passion for paddling and his passion for life. Here is his obituary.
Richard Fryklund September 17, 1921- May 08, 2016
Richard (Dick) Fryklund enjoyed life and even when his health began to fail in the last two years he still managed to see the good side. Born in Denver Colorado to a teacher and his wife, Dick was inquisitive and adventurous from his early childhood, both in work and pleasure.
From his early childhood days in Nebraska where he kept unusual pets- tarantulas, black widows and rabbits to learning to scuba dive; exiting a submarine below the Arctic circle in the 1950's; sailing around the Chesapeake investigating every cove, creek and sandbar; pioneering kayak trails on North Carolina's Outer Banks; windsurf cruising the headwaters of the Sea of Cortez; making his own furniture; and observing wildlife around the world, Dick found enjoyment and purpose.
Dick studied at the U. of Minnesota, first considering a career in medicine but switched to journalism when he discovered that he fainted at the sight of blood. He began his working career in the Army- Air Force in World War II, where he was first enrolled as a pilot. But during his final solo flight, he failed to read the navigation equipment correctly and veered off course flying over Mexico. Upon his return he was told he was being transferred out of pilot school. He spent the remainder of the War as one of the first radar navigation specialists in a Black Widow Night Fighter flying runs over North Africa and southern France. This time with an ace pilot.
After the war Dick took a job as a reporter with the St. Petersburg Times and whilst on a trip to Havana Cuba proposed and later married his college sweetheart- Dorothy O'Shaughnessy. In 1956, after several years in Tampa-St Pete, an opportunity at the Washington Star as a foreign correspondent came up and they moved to Paris. While working for the Star, he traveled the world covering some of the world most important historical world events of the late 50-s - the Suez War, the rise of Nasser, and Algerian War.
It was during this time that whilst talking with one of his friends and fellow reporter Art Buchwald, who had just adopted a Spanish child, that Dick and Dorothy decided to adopt a child. First it was their daughter Maria but several months later they decided to return to Madrid for a son, Bob. Returning to Paris with two infants, it soon became a bit overwhelming for the young couple, so Dick transferred back to Washington DC, where they could get help from Dorothy's parents and sister.
Dick became a leading reporter on military affairs covering the Bay of Pigs aboard a ship off Cuba and the Vietnam War. During this time, he started a radio news show, which was the predecessor for the TV show, Washington Week, which is still on today. His reputation continued to grow, winning the Raymond Clapper Award and building strong friendships with Robert McNamara – Clark Clifford- Paul Warnke- Cyrus Vance- Paul Nitze, and many other influential statesmen. As a result, he was asked to join the Johnson Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs where he joined his lifelong friend Phi Goulding. He stayed in the Defense department throughout the Johnson administration. During that time he and President Johnson became friends. During one visit to the White house, Dick and President Johnson went to the front driveway with the two presidential dogs and placed the dog's footprints in the freshly poured concrete driveway. They were chased later by the maintenance crew who wanted to know who put the dog's paws in the cement… the President implicated Dick. They went on to have many other special moments at the LBJ ranch, at the White House, and on trips aboard Air Force One.
After the Johnson Administration, Dick went to work for the Rand Corporation where he was their top military policy expert. He stayed there only a short while; however, as he received a call to go back to defense to work alongside David Packard and his good friend Phil Goulding. During this time he continued to work on key public and top secret projects, including the release of the crew of the USS Pueblo which had been captured by the North Koreans. He stayed on throughout the change over from President Ford to Carter. But his children were maturing during this time and preparing to enter college, so while asked to stay on further, he decided it was time to leave public life and make some more money. He joined the American Petroleum Institute as director of public affairs, once again joining his lifelong friend Phil Goulding. It was there that he stayed until his retirement in 1987. Upon retiring he moved to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he enjoyed kayaking, birding, woodworking and sailing. He became an accomplished wood worker, much like his father, building 18th century reproduction furniture and bowls and clocks. He moved back to Arlington, Virginia in 2014 when his health began to fail. He enjoyed his last years visiting with longtime companion Brenda Erickson, and enjoying the company of his children, his grandchild Crissy and many friends.
He will be remembered for his kindness, sense of adventure, his great woodworking skill and the love of his children. He is survived by his daughter Maria, his son Bob and wife Louise, and granddaughter Crissy. His wife Dorothy died in 2014 and his brother Verne in 2015. Mia and Bob want to thank his care givers for their attention, friendship and compassion, especially Becky.
In lieu of flowers and gifts the family asks that friends donate to the James Renwick Alliance- Outer Banks Preservation or similar charity.