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Frederick Wing, 1915-1991



Fred Wing was bom in Brooklyn and reared in Montclair, New Jersey. He graduated from Oberlin College and Harvard Law School. A life-long distance runner, he was captain of his high school and college track and cross-country teams and at one time ran a 4:29 mile. In 1986, he finished second in the over-70 age category in the New York City Marathon.

Fred began his law career serving with the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he worked for his family’s New York law firm, Wing & Wing, and then as an attorney and business affairs executive for National Sugar, manufacturer of the Jack Frost brand. In 1959, Fred joined the Columbia Broadcasting System as an attorney. For several years, he was responsible for protecting CBS’s copyrights and trademarks. He moved to Los Angeles in 1965 after his promotion to Senior Attorney at CBS Television City, where he concentrated on entertainment law. Fred became General Attorney for the network in 1969 and Broadcast Counsel in 1983 before retiring in 1985.

Few of his climbing friends knew that Fred had a beautiful singing voice. He sang professionally for most of his adult life, performing as soloist for the Harvard Glee Club, in New York’s Dessoff Choirs and with the Pacifica and Neo-Renaissance Singers in Los Angeles.

Fred took up mountaineering relatively late in life. Following his move to Los Angeles, he became actively involved in the Sierra Club and soon found himself on the sharp end of the rope with the Angeles Chapter’s Rock Climbing Section. After his retirement, he was elected to the Angeles Chapter’s Executive Committee. It will long remember his keen legal and business mind, as well as his generosity, kindness and wit.

Fred Wing is survived by his wife Helena Bessie, his son and daughter Michael and Rachel and his brother Sherman.

I saw Fred last December at the American Alpine Club’s annual meeting in San Diego. As I approached his table, I knew what he was going to mention, indirectly, of course: the new route he had pioneered on the north face of Mount Williamson in the Sierra Nevada with the late John Mendenhall and Tim Ryan. He was never boastful about this new route but it was obvious to his climbing friends that Fred was very proud of his first ascent. He even mentioned it in his background statement that appeared on the ballot for the Executive Committee election. I never saw his curriculum vitae, but I often assumed that this ascent would appear between the lines of television programming and theatrical film production. At his request, there was no memorial service, but I know that he would have appreciated this being mentioned in any written memorial. So here it is, Fred.

Robert J. Secor