James M. Fredericksen, a retired Davidson College chemistry professor and World War II veteran, died June 21, 2012, at The Pines at Davidson. He was 92. He was born on June 25, 1919, in Blackstone, Va., to Rudolph H. and Mary Pollard Fredericksen, and he grew up in Richmond.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Richmond and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. During WWII the Navy sent him to Princeton for training, after which he served in the Pacific on the USS Amycus – an amphibious repair ship – where he was an executive officer until discharged in 1946.
He then went to work for Merck as a senior research chemist. In 1948, at an American Chemical Society meeting he met Harriet Weaver whom he asked to marry him on their first date. They were married later that same year and had three children – Mary Louise, Martha Scott and James Monroe Jr.
In 1953, he left Merck and in subsequent years served as Head of the Chemistry Departments at Davis and Elkins College and at Hampton-Sydney College. In 1957, he joined the Chemistry Department of Davidson College where he taught for 33 years.
During those years, in addition to his teaching he wrote abstracts for chemical magazines. His students commented that he made chemistry understandable and even enjoyable. He was active in the American Chemical Society where he served as a Councilor for 17 years and General Chairman in 1983 for the Southeastern Regional Meeting. Jim had a unique ability to work with people and accomplish stated goals.
He was also chairman of the College Pre-Medical Committee and was skilled at getting students into medical schools at the rate of twice the national average because admissions deans had confidence in Jim’s recommendations.
Aside from his scholarly and academic activities, Jim was a master gardener throughout his life. He was devoted to his family and his friends who enjoyed his delightful sense of humor. He was a member of Davidson College Presbyterian Church and was a true Southern gentleman.
Dr. Fredericksen is survived by his wife of 64 years, Harriet; and his daughters, Louise Fredericksen of Pittsboro, NC and Martha Fredericksen of Cornelius. He was predeceased by his parents; his son, James, Jr.; brother, Rudolph Fredericksen; and sisters, Catherine Hofferbert and Ella F. Pollard.
Interment will be private in Mimosa Cemetery, Davidson. A memorial service will follow at 3:00pm on Sunday, June 24, 2012 at Davidson College Presbyterian Church with Rev. Lib McGregor Simmons officiating. A reception will follow.
Memorial gifts may be made to: Davidson College Presbyterian Church, PO Box 337, Davidson, NC 28036 or Davidson College, Box 7174, Davidson, NC 28035-7174 or The Pines at Davidson Resident Support Fund, 400 Avinger Lane, Davidson, NC 28036 or the charity of one’s choice.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family. Condolences may be made to the Fredericksen family at www.cavin-cook.com.