Sometimes the passing of a veteran is personal; such was the case yesterday with the death of Vietnam veteran Fredrick Kenneth Vedder, 65, of Riddle, Oregon. “Kenny”, as he was always known to his friends and family, left this earth yesterday morning at his home in Riddle, while under the care of hospice and his loving sister Dianna Davies-Oakley.
A 1967 graduate of Riddle High School, in Douglas County Oregon, Kenny later married Peggy Ellen Criswell, also a Riddle High School graduate, in Reno, Nev. The honeymoon was short-lived as the War in Vietnam was in full-force. Following basic-training at Fort Lewis, Kenny soon shipped out to Southeast Asia.
His tour in Vietnam was cut short due to the severe illness of his infant daughter, Angela Jean-Lorraine, “Angel”. With an assist from the Red Cross and Oregon State Representative Bill Markham, Rep., Kenny was sent home to be with his wife and daughter. Kenny and Peggy later divorced.
Many years after Kenny’s tour in Vietnam he married again. He and Annette had three children, Kendall, Freddie, and Jennifer.
When the timber industry was king in the Pacific Northwest, Kenny worked in the woods until a horrible logging incident resulted in the loss of his right arm. He later worked at the Douglas County tax assessor’s office in Roseburg, Ore.
Approximately 9.2 million Americans served in the military during the Vietnam era (1964-1975). Of those who survived, one report indicates, as of 2013, some 75% of those are still living. Surviving Vietnam era veterans are now in their sixties, seventies, and eighties.
Kenny is survived by his four children, his sister Dianna, his nephew Nathan Davies, and numerous cousins, most of whom still reside in Douglas County, Oregon.
Kenny, “Thank you for your service.”