Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The Cedar Creek Lake area mourns the passing of Gun Barrel City business owner and lake activist Fred Kurlander as he lost his courageous fight with brain cancer Oct. 29.
A memorial service was held Friday, Nov. 1, at Restland Funeral Home in Dallas.
Kurlander’s wife, Viki Seelig released a statement from the family Wednesday. “A man’s character is measured by the number of friends he leaves behind,” Seelig said. “He had more friends than any man I know and he had a great love for the Cedar Creek Lake area.”
Kurlander was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2010, and was cancer free for two years. According to his Facebook page, Kurlander had a MRI in March, a rough week and a major seizure in early April, but was back exercising in early July.
In late July, Kurlander started chemo treatments. An unscheduled MRI in mid-September did not bring good news and he agreed to participate in clinical trials for his cancer treatment.
On Oct. 24, it was written that he was fighting for his life before he passed away the following Tuesday.
The Monitor and Lake Area Leader advertising executives Janice Grubbs and Karla Dunson had a professional relationship and friendship with him.
“He (Kurlander) always had a smile on his face and one for everyone to share,” Dunson said. “He was a genuinely good man and he will be missed.”
Grubbs will miss her longtime, loyal advertiser and friend. “Fred was so vibrant and full of life. I always enjoyed seeing him around town,” Grubbs said. “He and I always gave one another a friendly hard time and he always called me the Grubbmiester!”
Kurlander was civic-minded and a longtime member of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, a governing committee member of the Gun Barrel City Chapter of the chamber, a board member of the Friends of Cedar Creek Lake that oversaw Tom Finley Park and a member of the Parrot Head Club of Cedar Creek Lake.
Chamber president JoAnn Hanstrom was saddened by the passing of her friend and colleague. “It was a blessing and a pleasure to have known, worked and played with this funny, smart, caring man for many years,” Hanstrom said. “He will be sorely missed by me personally and by the entire chamber family.”
Parrot Head club president Robert Render said that Kurlander was instrumental in helping get all the approvals to build the handicap pier at Tom Finley Park. “He was a great friend, and we will all miss him dearly,” Render said.
Real estate agent Sue Stalcup was Kurlander’s listing agent and sold him his home at the lake. “He was very entrepreneurial – always wanting to make money,” Stalcup remembers. “He was active in the community and always gave back to the community. He was a giver, not a taker. I love him and I will miss him.”
Kurlander gave longtime friend Zelina Forester her nickname “Z,” the name most people know her by in the area. Forester and Kurlander spent many evenings participating in the Wednesday night trivia contest at the former Cedar Isle Baja Beach Club and Restaurant in Seven Points.
“It was always very competitive and a great time,” remembers Forester, who loved and will miss Kurlander. “Even when we were competing against each other, he would whisper the answers to me for the sports questions.”
Another friend, Cookie Lowe, remembers Kurlander for his compassion and her heart is full of sadness with his passing. She said that he believed in second chances for his friends in addition to being kind to all, smart, funny and a joy to be around.
“He knew every song and who sang it when we played trivia at Cedar Isle,” Lowe said. “And he always wished my Pugsy ‘Happy Birthday!’”
Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation president Linda Rankin remembers Kurlander for standing up for what he believed to be in the best interest of the community.
“His (Kurlander) comments were always a strong voice and since so many believed in him, he was their voice as well,” Rankin explained.
On a lighter note, Rankin remembers that he would always think of a song to go with something that was said and he would simply start singing. His joy will be missed.
See a copy of the entire page from the print edition of The Monitor here. November 3 Sunday Kurlander