NLJ Staff


March 7, 1939–March 1, 2021

Frederick W. Minter, 81, born in Newcastle, Wyo., died at St. Jude Hospital, Fullerton, on March 1, 2021, of complications from kidney surgery on July 31, 2020. He lived at his current home in Placentia, Calif., for 29 years. 

Fred graduated from Newcastle High School where he was a state-ranked wrestler and football player. He earned his metallurgical engineering degree at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, S.D., in 1967. Prior to graduating from college, he served with the U.S. Army in Germany for three years. 

Fred loved visiting and talking about the Black Hills and especially loved staying at Custer State Park and watching the wildlife. Fred spent 18 years in the chemistry lab and later as the metallurgist for the gray iron foundry at John Deere Dubuque Works, Iowa. While in Dubuque he was married briefly to Sandra Oswald and they had two sons, Douglas Frederick and Eric Andrew. 

In 1982 he married Elizabeth Carlisle Donnan, who was the library directory at Dubuque’s Carnegie-Stout Public Library. Fred moved to California in 1989 and worked briefly for Continental Forge in Compton before joining the Quality Assurance Department at Pacific Tube Company in Commerce. He ended his metallurgical career at Atlas Testing Company in Commerce. 

During his professional career, Fred was active for 50 years in the American Society for Metals, International, and served as chapter chair multiple times in Iowa and California. He was also a member and chapter chair for the American Foundry Society in eastern Iowa. After moving to California Fred completed his certification as a Certified Quality Engineer and became a member of the American Society for Quality.

 Fred became a professional real-bearded Santa Claus in 2004
specializing in community events, private parties, and home visits. He never retired from that occupation. He was a charter member of the Fraternal Order of Real-Bearded Santas and its Orange County Chapter. 

Fred loved to cook and entertain. His super-powered margaritas featured limes from his garden and he was beloved by Elizabeth’s family for his creative omelets. He rarely missed an opportunity for Scotch tasting and loved talking about
single malts. 

Fred is survived by his wife of 39 years, Elizabeth Donnan Minter; his sons, Douglas Frederick and Eric Andrew of Wilmington, N.C.; and his cousins, Wilbur Lease of Newcastle, Phyllis Johnson Murdoch of Fredericksburg, Texas, and Kenneth Murdoch of Laramie, Wyo. 

At the time of his death he was survived by his sister, Peggy Lucelle Minter of Rapid City, but she passed two weeks later, on March
15, 2021.

A Zoom memorial service was held on March 27, 2021. 

Donations may be made to the South Dakota School of Mines Library for its metallurgical
science collection.



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