Frederic March, Age :83

Mar 16,1937---Sep 04,2020

  Frederic (Fred) March, 83, a resident of New Mexico since 1991, died on September 4, 2020 after a long battle with vascular dementia.

  Fred was born in Brooklyn, New York, a child of immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father, Max Marcherowski had his name shortened to “March” when he passed through immigration at Ellis Island. His mother, Fannie, emigrated to the United States in 1916. Both were fleeing pogroms, created by Russian authorities against Jewish people, producing food shortages, anti-Semitic violence, and officially-mandated slaughter. Fannie’s family, with the exception of her sister who emigrated to France, remained in Poland and perished in the Holocaust. This family history shaped Fred’s Jewish identity and intense interest in Jewish history and religion.

  Fred earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from City College of New York and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He considered himself an environmental engineer long before that field of study was recognized in schools of engineering.  An expert on the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, Fred authored NEPA Effectiveness: Mastering the Process. He also co-authored other professional publications on related topics including: Wind power for the Electric-Utility Industry; Global Environmental Policy: Concepts, Principles, and Practice; and Inside Energy: Developing and Managing an ISO 50001 Energy Management System. His work took him to Brazil, Columbia; Guatemala; India; Mexico; Somalia; Kenya, Egypt, Lesotho, and Turkey, as well as other countries, where he constructed and updated water and environmental infrastructure.

  Fred’s love of travel continued well into retirement.  He and Joan visited many countries around the world.  Among his favorite destinations were New Zealand, Machu Picchu in Ecuador, Italy, Paris, and Madagascar.

  In the mid 1980’s Fred accepted a job with the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. to serve on the Energy Engineering Board. In 1991, the family moved to Los Alamos where Fred was offered a job at Los Alamos Technical Associates. Five years later, he was asked to head up the Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.  In 1996, Fred and his family moved to Albuquerque.  Fred spent 13 years at Sandia before retiring in 2009. One of his major achievements was architecting and implementing the environmental safety procedures involving nuclear test reactors managed by Sandia.

  Much of Fred’s life outside of work focused on intellectual pursuits. He loved anthropology, the history of civilization, Jewish history, and politics. In later years he focused on the clash and confluence between science and religion.  He traveled to Israel many times and especially enjoyed its biblical history and archeology.  He was a supporter of the Jewish state though he respected the Muslim culture and regretted the years of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. 

  Fred identified himself as a Humanist and read widely on the topic.  He served as president of the Albuquerque chapter of the American Humanist Association from 2006-2010, often contributing articles and book reviews to their national publication.  For several years in the late 1990’s, he served as a key member of the Holocaust Remembrance Day Committee, designing and creating tributes to survivors, those who harbored Jews in hiding, and the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis.

  Fred’s interest in the Old Testament, led him to research and write The Bible Through the Eyes of Its Authors, a labor of love, which he published in 2006. 

   A life-long learner, Fred believed that his technical education omitted the things that he had come to appreciate: history, philosophy, and human nature.  He was an avid reader of provocative authors who embraced the subjects that had so much meaning for him.  He listened to countless video courses and online lectures, always expanding his knowledge base and incorporating new learning into his own lectures at continuing education venues.  He thrived on philosophical discussions with like-minded friends.

 Fred also had a deep love and appreciation for music.  A natural baritone, he regretted that, as a child, his parents were too poor to give him music lessons of any kind.  Nevertheless, he became involved in the Gilbert and Sullivan Society at City College, thanks to his older brother Jerry, also an amateur singer, and played leading roles in student productions.  He carried the tunes and words to that repertoire in his head until just a few months before his death.  He sang in other choruses and relished singing solo whether before an audience or in the shower. 

 His thrill of a lifetime came in 2013 on a trip to Argentina where he toured the opera house in Buenos Aires.  When the tour guide asked if anyone wanted to try out the acoustics in the hall, Fred jumped to his feet.  In front of several tour groups, but an otherwise empty auditorium, he sang the aria Di provenza il mar, il suol from the opera, La Traviata, by Guiseppe Verdi. He talked about his “debut” for years.

 A lifelong lover of classical music, he was a season ticket holder to the New Mexico Philharmonic, relished chamber music concerts, and enjoyed performances at the Santa Fe Opera.  He had a large record collection that later became a larger CD collection.  At home, his living room was frequently filled with the strains of Brahms, Beethoven, Borodin, and many, many other composers.

 Even with mild dementia, Fred participated in the Oasis community chorus where his voice could be heard above everyone else’s.  As his disease progressed, Fred found more and more solace in music of all types.  He was particularly drawn to Yiddish music, most likely remembering and understanding lyrics from songs of his childhood.  In the last few months of his life, he negotiated the halls of the facility where he lived, whistling day and night whatever tunes popped into his head.

  His wit, wisdom, and humanism will be remembered by his friends and family.  A nature lover and avid walker, Fred’s family plans to establish a memorial tribute to him in one of Albuquerque’s recreation areas.

 Fred is survived by his wife of 36 years, Joan March; his daughter, Nadine Brown of Albuquerque; son, Michael March of Portland, OR; son, Andrew March of Fort Collins, CO; daughter, Kate Stern and husband Lawrence Stern of Modiin, Israel; and five grandchildren.

 A celebration of Fred’s life will be held at some point in the future when the dangers of large gatherings, due to Covid-19, have diminished.

 Memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


Services Entrusted to:

Riverside Funeral Home of Albuquerque 

225 San Mateo Blvd NE



Ed and Agnes Franzak Sep 14 ,2020

Co-worker ,Albuquerque ,New Mexico

What a beautiful tribute! Fred contributed so much to our society! Our Sincere Sympathies for your personal loss, and our 'collective loss.' Ed and Agnes

Mary Ellen Kurucz Sep 15 ,2020

Friend ,Albuquerque ,New Mexico

I knew Fred only through the loving eyes of his wife Joan. Reading his obituary, I wish I had known and talked with him myself. A cliche perhaps and certainly a life well lived and well loved. He shared his gifts with the larger world as well as his family and friends. Rest in Peace Fred. Blessings on those who love and miss him.

Melissa Lewis and Family Sep 17 ,2020

friend ,Santa Fe ,New Mexico

Dear Joan, children, and grandchildren - my condolences on your loss. I have many wonderful memories of Fred playing host at gatherings large and small, and wide ranging conversations on topics we both love - travel, cultures, anthropology, and music. I hope to attend a future memorial service.

Ted Cloak Sep 20 ,2020

friend ,Albuquerque ,New Mexico

I knew Fred as president of the Humanist Society. I greatly admired him for his ability to keep us together and for his knowledge and intellect.

Kathy Shaffer Sep 20 ,2020

Insurance Agent ,Albuquerque ,New Mexico

Dear Joan and Family, So sorry to hear of the passing of Fred, I enjoyed hearing stories of his many travels. He will truly be missed.

Warner Talso Sep 20 ,2020

Professional Associate ,Albuquerque ,New Mexico

My heartfelt condolences go out to Joan and family. I worked for Fred at Sandia Labs and have always cherished our lunch-time conversations on the Bible as history. alav ha-shalom

Ron Herman Sep 21 ,2020

Member of HSNM ,Albuquerque ,New Mexico

Joan, so sorry to see this news. I regret not knowing Fred better. Margaret and I send our sincere condolences.