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Dr. Frederick Charles Blades, a much beloved ophthalmologist in Red Bank, NJ for over 40 years passed away Friday, March 26th. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Blades graduated from Avon Grammar School in 1957, Asbury Park High School in 1961 and the University of Maine in 1965 summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Following his life-long dream to become a doctor, Fred attended the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, receiving his medical degree in 1969. He joined the Navy and as Lieutenant Commander interned at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (VA) and was certified as a Naval Flight Surgeon following flight training at Pensacola Florida Naval Air Station. He completed his ophthalmology residency at George Washington University Hospital and was certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.

In 1974, during his residency, Fred met the love of his life, Sarah, a student at American University. They were married in 1975 at the Christ Church in Alexandria, VA, and in 1976 moved to Fair Haven, NJ. He opened his private ophthalmology practice in Red Bank in 1977, performing his eye surgeries at Riverview Hospital.

Fred grew up in Avon and often fondly recalled his childhood days at the Avon Grammar School. As a boy, he was a member of Avon’s Ship Mates and was very active in the Boy Scouts. He could be seen frequently with his two older brothers, Wally and Hal, seeking adventure on the docks and along the banks of the Shark River. Throughout his life he kept in touch with his childhood friends and in 2006, organized a reunion of his 1957 eighth grade class at the Blades family home on Garfield Avenue in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Avon Grammar School. He was very proud of the fact that his grandfather, Rev. Charles Reese Blades, built and preached in the early 1900s at the Avon Methodist Church, located at the other end of Garfield Avenue.

Fred loved to step back in time to the simplicity and beauty of the family’s small island on Moosehead Lake in Maine. Sitting on the dock in the early morning, sipping coffee brewed on a wood stove and beholding the mountains and the rising sun was his idea of paradise. His favorite past times were reading biographies of historic figures and playing golf with friends and family members. He was a member of the Navesink County Club, Shrewsbury River Yacht Club and the Root Beer and Checkers Club.

Fred’s greatest joy was his family and that happiness was demonstrated in a myriad of ways every day. He encouraged his children to appreciate the wonder of nature, to love learning, to work hard and to value family traditions. Fred was very proud of his children’s accomplishments and his heart-warming toasts at their birthdays, graduations and weddings were legendary, eliciting both laughter and tears from the guests.

Fred was known to comment that what was most important to him in life was to be remembered as a good husband, father and, never having known his own grandfathers, a good grandfather. While he missed his patients and staff, he was gratified that retirement had offered him the opportunity to spend much more time with his friends and family, relishing just being “Ipop” to the grandchildren. He would devote many hours in the fall each year preparing for the Fair Haven Halloween Parade, constructing the grandchildren’s imaginative, colorful and often mobile entries. Similarly, at the extended family Christmas party, which was generously hosted by Fred and Sarah and beautiful decorated for the holidays, there would be a jumbo-sized gift for the children, hand-crafted, big enough to climb inside and delivered by Santa himself in full costume.

Left to cherish the memory of this wonderful man are his wife of 47 years, Sarah Blades; children Sarah Lachanski and her husband Patrick, Charles Blades and his wife Lauren, Leslie Eadon and her husband, Stuart; grandchildren Anne, Sally and Thomas Lachanski; Jane, Penelope and George Blades, and Abigail and Elizabeth Eadon; Fred is also survived by his brother, Harold R. Blades and sister Nancy Blades Fatemi and her husband, Fariborz. Fred was predeceased by his oldest brother, Walter F. Gillis as well as his parents, Agnes and Harold Blades and sister-in-law Theresa Blades.

Fred also leaves behind a niece, Jin Ellen Blades and her husband, Gabriel Iannella, and nephew John Blades and his wife Andrea; and nephews Hussein Fatemi and Anthony Gillis; brother-in-law John Bowen, his wife Anne and their daughters Meredith and Abigail, cousins Joan Buck, Dr. Yvette Janssen and her husband Dr. Martin Ainbinder, Augustus Goertz and Elissa Higgins and their children. He was predeceased by cousins Jean Worthington, William Blades, Norman Brown, Ruth Queen and Virginia Lackett.  

A private family service will be held followed by internment at the Hamilton Cemetery in Neptune. The family intends to hold a celebration of life when it is safe for family and friends to gather together.

Starting on Memorial Day, Dr. Blades’ beloved garden plot at the Fair Haven Community Garden will be maintained in his honor, marked by a mint and cream colored bird house to mark its location. Friends are invited to stop by and leave a note in his memory.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent or delivered to the Fair Haven Public Library, 748 River Road, Fair Haven, NJ 07704 for continuation of their community library initiatives.

To offer condolences to the family, please visit the Thompson Memorial Home website at

Bruce S. Thompson, Owner & Manager, NJ LIC #3740