WILMINGTON — Frederick “Fritz” Phillip Ackermann III, 90, died peacefully at home in Wilmington, North Carolina, on December 4, 2021.
Born on January 19, 1931, in Newark, New Jersey, Fritz was the son of the late Frederick Phillip Ackermann II and Pauline Staats Ackermann.
He graduated from Virginia High School in Bristol, Virginia, and then attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He took a break from his studies when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Fritz served in the Korean War where he was stationed in Germany and got to connect with his relatives while he was there. He later graduated from East Tennessee State University and then worked as an Engineer and Plant Manager for large companies including IBM, Xerox, and Rockwell, moving from Lexington, KY, to Rochester, NY, Mission Viejo, CA, Westport, CT, and Jackson, TN. In 1978, he moved to Wilmington, where he and his wife founded Ackermann Tool and Machine, and later, Ackermann Marine.
Fritz loved the beach and sailing and had a special place in his heart for St. George Island, FL, where the family had a house, Sea Haze, from 1977 – 2014. Many family vacations and good times were had there. He also enjoyed spending time in his woodworking shop, making furniture and turning bowls, and was a regular at the local library. Fritz’s basic advice to his children was to “be a good person,” and that was evident in the way he lived his life. He could be a serious person, but he also enjoyed the humor of life and loved recounting tales like how he was pulled over while driving in Florida for drinking a root beer or the fight between the snake and the mouse in his bathroom. He grew large stands of bamboo in his yard, complete with blow up panda bears and a panda bear crossing sign. His stories and presence will be deeply missed.
Fritz is survived by his wife of 58 years, Hazel Dilmore Ackermann, and their two daughters: Margot Ackermann (Dan Hall) of Richmond, VA, and Paula Ackermann of Wilmington, NC. His daughter by a previous marriage, Susan Ackermann Tabor (Tom) lives in Stuart, VA. His sister, Evelyn Ackermann Tyrone, lives in Chatham, NJ. Six grandchildren and two great grandchildren are also a part of his legacy. He will also be missed by Bella the corgi. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by three children, Frederick Phillip Ackermann IV and two infant daughters, Patsy Ann and Karen Ann Ackermann, and his sister Margot Ackermann Tate.
Fritz was a long-time member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wilmington. The family will hold a private Memorial Service at a later date, and his ashes will become a part of the Veterans’ Memorial Reef. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Veteran’s Memorial Reef and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.