Fred Thomas Shoemake

December 15, 1938, March 05, 2019

Fred Shoemake

Fred Shoemake, 80, of Silsbee, died Tuesday, March 5, 2019. He was born on December 15, 1938, in Baytown, to Vivian Beatrice Shoemake and James Shoemake. Fred proudly served his country in the United States Air Force and later worked as a locomotive engineer with Santa Fe.

Fred was a man of many talents and hobbies. Growing up in Ferriday, Louisiana, he learned to hunt and fish with his dad and cousins. While he lived in Galveston, he scuba dived. He was an excellent marksman and competed in the ROTC. Fred was honored with a marine trophy for outstanding marksman. He achieved that twice and the trophy still remains in Ball High School today.

Fred met the love of his life, Agnes, and they soon married and began their life in Galveston. Fred then joined the United States Air Force. The military took him to San Antonio, South Carolina, and beautiful California. He was given orders to go to Turkey, where he worked as a crypto tech. He often tells the story that his job was so secretive, that even he didn’t know what he did! Fred said he was on the tip of the Spear during the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy was assassinated while he was overseas. Only Fred and one other man would talk to the Pentagon twice a day. Fred was very proud of his service to his country.

Fred was a history buff and was especially drawn to anything about World War II. He loved the old fighter planes.

He loved to make friends and talk to people. He got his ham radio license when he was in school and maintained his license for sixty-five years. His call letters were K5BGZ. Fred enjoyed talking to people all over the world.

Agnes and Fred were blessed with three daughters. He joined the railroad and moved his family several times before ending up in Silsbee.

He decided to go to school and become a locomotive engineer. He worked for Santa Fe until 1990. Fred opened a TV, VCR, and Computer repair shop and operated Comtec electronics for almost ten years. They retired and Fred continued enjoying his hobbies.

Fred was always involved with something he loved. Through the years he collected guns and was an avid fisherman. He fished a great deal when the family lived in Gainesville. Fred was always looking for the next big bass! He even made his own lures. Fred collected guns and made his own bullets, too. While in his mid-thirties, his proudest accomplishment was teaching himself how to play the five-string banjo. He became so proficient, he eventually taught banjo lessons. He played in a bluegrass band, The Yeller Dawgs, for sixteen years. Fred also built banjos, including designing and cutting out mother of pearl inlay for the neck. Fred enjoyed traveling to bluegrass festivals and camping with the family.

Fred loved to cook and was known for his cornbread dressing. One of the family favorites was homemade enchiladas.

His other past times were reading westerns, taking pictures, and he even wrote a song about the 1900 storm in Galveston. He definitely lived a rich and fulfilling life. Fred will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Survivors include his wife, Agnes Shoemake; daughters, Rhonda Kay and her husband, Don; and Brenda Shoemake, all of Silsbee; and Jamie Utley and her husband, Cliff, of Vidor; grandchildren, Haydon Kay; Robert Kay; Brandon Kay and his wife, Jamie; Stephanye Stewart and her husband, Josh; and Justin West; and great-grandchildren, Riley Kay, Mason Stewart, Lucas Stewart, and Makenzie Kay. He is preceded in death by his parents.

A gathering of Fred’s family and friends will be 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2019, at Broussard’s, 490 Cemetery Road, Silsbee. His funeral service will be 1:00 p.m., Friday, March 8, 2019, at Broussard’s, with his interment to follow at Hardin Memorial Park, Silsbee.


Broussard's Mortuary - Silsbee, TX
490 Cemetery Road Silsbee, TX 77656
Gathering of Family and Friends
Broussard's Mortuary - Silsbee
490 Cemetery Road Silsbee, TX 77656
Thursday, March 07, 2019
5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Funeral Service
Broussard's Mortuary - Silsbee
490 Cemetery Road Silsbee, TX 77656
Friday, March 08, 2019
1:00 p.m.
Hardin Memorial Park
418 Cemetery Road Silsbee, TX 77656

Comments (4)

  • Dale Broussard

    08 March 2019 at 03:35 | #

    I wish saddened and shocked to hear of Fred's passing away. We had just spoke on the phone a couple of weeks ago and were planing to get together again. I first met Fred at the guitar and banjo studio at the age of 18 and took banjo lessons from him for about a year. When his job took him away, I lost track of him and stopped playing for about 25 years. I found him playing bluegrass in Nederland, and bought the banjo I am playing now from him. I brought him with me to Fort Worth a couple of times to a big bluegrass show and always enjoyed his stories, music and free lessons! We continued to talk periodically after I moved to Georgia and I really hoped he could have come for a visit to bluegrass country. Rest in peace my friend, I am going to miss you.


  • Becky DuBose

    08 March 2019 at 01:36 | #

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad and husband. Your family is in my prayers, for your peace and comfort in the coming days.


  • Don & Syble Jeffcoat

    07 March 2019 at 21:39 | #

    Mrs. Shoemake and family, I am so sorry for your loss, sending prayers of comfort. Fred and I shared a love of music and especially the banjo. I always enjoyed playing music with him and I will miss him. May he rest in peace.


  • Judy Phillips

    07 March 2019 at 19:04 | #

    March 7th, 12:55 pm--Agnes & daughters, I just read about Fred's death in the Beaumont paper. I am so sorry to hear about this and also sorry I didn't know about the visition and services in time to come to Silsbee. I liked Fred a lot; he was so much fun to talk with! I will be thinking about ya'll and praying for you also. Agnes, I'll try to see you soon. Love all of you, Judy


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