Please join us today in remembering Lt. Fred F. House, who died 28 years ago after being fatally shot during a standoff at the Singer Farm near Marion, Utah.
Fred was 35 and had worked for the Department for nearly 15 years. Those who worked with Fred remember him as a consummate professional who fully embraced his duty. He is survived by Ann, his wife, and children Seth, Janneke and Christine.
I spoke with Ann on Wednesday and asked if she would share her thoughts on what the support over the years from Corrections, the law enforcement family and Fred's friends has meant to her.
For Ann, some days it seems Fred passed away a lifetime ago and other times it seems like just yesterday. "Time has a curious way of passing," she said.
"I think it is very important to remember Fred, to remember others in public service who put their lives on the line each day," Ann said.
Her feelings and memories were especially tender this week given the funeral for UPD Officer Doug Barney and the standoff in Oregon.
Ann said after Fred's death she was surrounded by an outpouring of love and support from the community — and she found it inspirational to see that same outpouring for Officer Barney's family.
"These families need comfort," she said. "They need to see the community coming together because there are no words. What do you say to somebody and how do you express the loss of a husband, a father? There are no words."
One of Ann's daughters is now the same age she was when Fred died; her son is now "older than Fred ever got."
"It's been 28 years since that awful day and not a day goes by that I don't think of Fred," Ann said. "And yet, I am not stuck in grief. These last 28 years, I've learned to heal, I've learned to cope. And I hope to have taught those things to my children — that we need to go on and have great lives doing things for other people, being happy and healthy."
Ann said she feels blessed that people remember Fred and is surprised by and grateful for the number of young people who weren't even born when he was killed but have heard of him.
"I am very, very grateful for his Corrections friends, his peace officer friends. They keep in touch, they continue to tell stories for my children and myself. It's particularly thoughtful because these are memories of him they never knew."
"I am always grateful when someone says something about him," Ann said. "I think sometimes we hesitate and don't want to bring up memories, but I'm grateful they have memories, or just thoughts and feelings about the situation and will say something in condolence or memory. I think of him, and I see that that will continue with Officer Barney and his family because it happened to us."
Ann said Fred would have brushed off the honors and tributes that have been paid to him over the years.
"To Fred, it was just 'doing my job.' He'd say, 'It's my job to be between the bad guy and the public, and he took that on as do these other Correctional Officers, peace officers," she said. "They are a special kind of people and we don't give them enough honor and praise."