Cover photo for Frederick VonHofe Grady's Obituary
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1948 Frederick 2023

Frederick VonHofe Grady

April 21, 1948 — August 25, 2023


Frederick VonHofe Grady


Born 1948 in West Orange, NJ to Charles B. Grady Jr. and Eleanor Ruth VonHofe Grady, died peacefully on August 25, 2023 in Albuquerque NM.

As a child, Fred loved animals and studied their anatomy, so that he could assemble found bones into animal skeletons. Fred eventually developed an encyclopedic knowledge of bones, both ancient and modern, especially ice age mammals. He was often called upon by others to identify them.

He graduated from Lafayette College in 1970, majoring in Geology and Biology, and completed two years of graduate study at the University of Minnesota. He worked for twenty-eight years as a preparer of exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Loving his work, he continued to volunteer at the museum for about fifteen years after retirement. He was author or co-author of over 100 publications, including four book chapters.

He travelled widely collecting for the museum, including the Western U.S., Hawaii, Bermuda, Pakistan, Madagascar, and Tajikistan. Independently, he travelled with collectors around the world, finding fossils and exploring caves. For nine years, he spent summers searching for fossils on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Here he was part of a team which found some of the oldest human remains in the Western Hemisphere.

Fred enthusiastically participated in Smithsonian “fossil fairs” held in the Carolinas, where members of the public could bring in fossils they had found to be identified, sometimes donating them to the museum.

Fred began a lifelong passion for caving during his college years. He was very active in the Washington DC, Virginia, and West Virginia caving communities. In addition to a stint as chairman of the DC Grotto of the National Speleological Society, he also served on the board of the West Virginia Cave Conservancy.  He received numerous honors and awards, among them the Morris F. Skinner award from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Through these organizations he worked hard to help protect and preserve caves for future generations.

Fred particularly loved birds and was immortalized in 2012 through the naming of an extinct Bermuda saw-whet owl, Aegolius gradyi.

He was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Charles Benedict III.

Fred is survived by his sister, Sharon Grady (Michael Marks) and brother, Michael P. (Carolyn), four nieces and two nephews, as well as several great-nieces and nephews.

Suggested contributions in his name are to Care, The Audubon Society, or the American Cancer Society.  An online memorial will be held at a later date.


image courtesy of Twitter:  @HeyTweeti

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