David A. Fredrickson
(1927 – 2012)
Lynn Deetz, of El Cerrito shared this memory:
I came to Sonoma State in the mid 70’s to study archaeology based on the recommendation of my roommate’s boyfriend, Richard Cowan. Richard was also one of Heizer’s students. Richard said Dave was a wonderful teacher and that the program at Sonoma was the best in the state. I met Dave my first day as I tried to sign up for anthro courses (it was spring semester and no archaeology classes were available). I introduced myself and told him that Richard Cowan recommended that I come to Sonoma. Dave looked like Jeffrey Hunter’s Jesus with his long hair, headband, and bright blue eyes. Dave said “uh huh” and went right on with what he was doing. I felt completely deflated and left the office wondering if I’d made the right decision by coming to Sonoma State.
Everything changed the next semester. I signed up for an introduction to archaeology class with Dave, and found him to be a warm and interesting person this time around. That semester I received work-study funds and was able to find a job in the Anthro Lab. Besides counting, weighing and recording flakes of obsidian and shell, I learned how to record sites on the Lab’s topo maps while working with Lowell Damon and Tom Origer. Somehow Dave learned that I had worked in a bank and asked me if I would do the bookkeeping for the Lab. I agreed, and once he saw my work, Dave let me know he was thrilled that I knew the difference between a debit and a credit and could balance the books.
I didn’t think having bookkeeping skills was particularly noteworthy, but I certainly basked in his praise. His support and praise for all of us was always wonderful. As I started working in the field and writing reports, I always wanted to do my best and receive his positive comments. Even when I made a mistake, his criticism was mild but to the point. He was a wonderful mentor. Later on I met Vera Mae and attended many great parties at their house in Berkeley. There was always folk and cowboy music, interesting people, good food and drink. The last time I saw Dave and Vera Mae was at a memorial service they hosted in their home for my mother-in-law, Jody Deetz. The Fredricksons were always welcoming and generous to their friends. I miss them both.