ORANGE- Rev. Fred (Frederick) W. “Tomato Freddie” Swedberg, 72, of Moss Brook Road, died on Tuesday Morning, January 5, 2021 at Heywood Hospital in Gardner after a brief battle with renl (kidney) cancer that spread to his lungs.
Fred was born in Gardner on February 12, 1948, the son of David O. and Jennie B. (Harmon) Swedberg and grew up in Gardner, graduating from Gardner High School in 1966.
In 1971, Fred married Elizabeth “Wibby” (Smith) and they have enjoyed 49 years of marriage, raising their family and God’s bounty.
Fred attained his Masters degreeat Bethel Seminary in Roseville, Minnesota.
Faith and teaching were Fred’s calling and he used his religious passion in many ways including, camp director at Camp Tispaquin in Middleboro, MA, youth pastor at Elim Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Evangelical Baptist Church of Norwood, MA where he served as youth pastor and then as senior pastor. Fred also officiated in the CalvaryBaptist Church of Evanston, Illinois and was an interim pastor in St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.
Locally, Fred was a interim pastor at the Mission Covenant Church in Orange as well as at the Mission Street Congregational Church in Gardner, and a worship leader minister at the Second Baptist Church in South Hadley. Fred was also the Worship Leader at College Church in Northampton.
Fred enjoyed ministering along with teaching and had worked at the former Lake Grove School in Wendell and advocated for adults with autism
Fred was best known locally for his heirloom tomatoes and would sell many transplants in the spring to gardeners wanting something different. Known for his generosity, Fred gave away far more seeds and plants than he ever sold. No one ever met Fred and went home empty handed. A man of great conviction, Fred never shied away from sharing his faith, and many who thought they were just buying vegetables left with a prayer and a story of the love of God for them.
A well versed musician, Fred enjoyed playing the guitar, keyboard and mandolin, along with writing songs. He attended many music festivals in the South and participated in many open mic sessions, singing with his wife Wibby and performing at area venues including the Orange Farmers’ Market.
Family was very important to Fred, and he shared much quality time with them and loved swimming at the family camp on Queen Lake in Phillipston. Meals became an opportunity for Fred to share his excellent grilling and no one as ever left without a seat at the table. A gregarious personality, he loved to entertain and his joy was enriched by the joy of those who received from him.
Fred is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth “Wibby” Swedberg of Orange; his children, Kristine Swedberg and William Swedberg, both of Orange, and Katie Spencer and her husband, Judd, of Manassas, Virginia; grandsons, Elijah Cragan, Gideon Spencer, Joshua Spencer and Alexander Swedberg..
Fred also leaves a sister, Judy Richardson and her husband, Ben, of Gardner, and brothers Jon Swedberg and his wife, Denise, of Gardner and David Swedberg and his husband, Lair, of Florida; and many nephews, nieces and cousins.
Fred was predeceased by his parents, David and Jennie Swedberg of Gardner and his granddaughter, Theodora Spencer.
There are no calling hours.
A celebration of Fred’s life will be held at a later date and time.
Donations in Fred's name can be made to www.jamkids.org/fredswedberg
Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is assisting the family.
Guest book available online at WWW.WITTYFUNERALHOME.COM
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