Force of Nature

Fred Scheller (Courtesy Photo)

Remembering Fred Scheller '43, M.A. '54, who passed away in May 2010.

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Fred Scheller was a force of nature: Tall and lanky, with a deep, sonorous voice perfect for the radio and TV classes he created at Pacific. He arrived as a student in 1939, earning bachelor’s (1943) and master’s degrees (1954) in education, and except for diversions into the Navy during World War II and a doctoral program at the University of Oregon, he never really left.


Scheller, who grew up on a dairy farm in Aloha, Oregon, recalled hitchhiking to the University at a time when Forest Grove was more farms and trees than anything else.

His teaching career at the University began in 1953, and along with his mentor Professor “Hap” Hingston, he taught speech and helped build the forensics team into a power. He and his wife Ruth were also avid supporters of the music program, and for a time Fred led a thriving summer college program at the University.

He loved Hawai’i and the Hawaiian people and was instrumental in fostering a home away from home for hundreds of Islands students through the Pacific lu’au and the Na Haumana O Hawai’i (NHOH) club, which he co-founded. At his memorial service in May, former students, friends and family spoke of his lasting impact. NHOH club members sang and danced with beauty and grace in his honor. True to his sense of humor, he left word that upon his passing he would like to be sent off with a chorus of “Zippa Dee Doo Dah,” the 1946 academy-award winning song from Disney’s “Song of the South.”

Zippa Dee Doo Dah, Fred.

To view a video of Fred talking about the lu'au: