MORGANFIELD, Ky. – In a life that took him from the streets of Uniontown, Ky., to the jungles of Vietnam to towering construction projects along the Ohio River, and retirement days spent on the golf courses across the Southeastern United States, Fred Hite was as solid a man as the massive power plants he helped build, devoted as his love of family and favorite sports teams, and as strong as his legendary grip.
Frederick Maurice Hite, 72, of Morganfield, died Sunday, April 24, 2016, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville, Ind.
Born Oct. 6, 1943, in Uniontown, the fifth child of Parvin and Bernadette Hite, he was named Frederick by the nuns of nearby St. Agnes Church in honor of Saint Frederick.
A 1961 graduate of St. Vincent Academy, Fred spent part of his early years working at his father’s gas station in Morganfield and later worked as a carry out/stock boy at the Sureway in Morganfield before a local judge offered the option of “go to jail or go into the Army.” As a member of the U.S. Army, Fred would spend part of the next four years along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border as part of the military’s communications surveillance team.
Soon after returning from Vietnam, Fred was initiated in September 1967 into the Local Iron Workers 103, based in Evansville. During his time with the iron workers through the 1970s and ’80s, Fred worked on the construction of the St. Louis Arch and spent nine years as the assistant to the business manager. With a membership totaling 700 to 800 in a 40-county area over three states, Fred was involved in such construction projects as the Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Paradise, Ky.; dams along the Ohio River in Uniontown, Newburgh, Ind., and Cannelton, Ind.; the Alcoa plant in Warrick County, Ind.; and the Anaconda smelter in Sebree, Ky.; as well as 18 power plants, including those in Sebree, Rockport, Ind., and Petersburg, Ind.
Fred was known as a master welder and one who “could weld anything but a broken heart and the crack of dawn.”
Fred also worked as a regional sales manager for CompuChem Laboratories.
He truly “bled blue” during basketball and football season, cheering on his beloved Kentucky Wildcats. That love was only rivaled in the spring by his devotion to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. A history and military buff, he was also a fan of TV westerns and “true” country musicians like Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams.
In addition to his parents, Fred was also preceded in death by two brothers, Jerry and Ronald “Rock” Hite.
Survivors include two sons, Robbie Hite and wife Amy of Jackson, Tenn., and Ryan Hite of Dallas, Texas; two grandchildren, Tyler and Nathan Hite of Jackson; a brother Jim Hite and his wife Pat of Bullard, Texas; a sister Beverly Baczewski and her husband Victor of Summerfield, Fla.; and his companion of the past 15 years, Linda R. Banks of Morganfield, and her children Michael Banks, of Belmont, N.C., and Stacie Banks of Henderson, Ky.
A celebration of life service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at Whitsell Funeral Home in Morganfield. The Rev. Jerry Manning will officiate. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in the West Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Ky. Memorials can be made to the American Heart Association.