Frederick T. Bail ’65

Frederick T. Bail ’65 died on January 17, 2019, in Waimanalo, Hawaii.

(The following appeared online at in January 2019:)

Remembering Fred Bail should have an audio track with slack key guitar, gently lapping waves, and above his own warm, kind, compassionate voice that met everyone with attentive care.

Frederick T. Bail was born on March 27, 1944, in Brockton, Massachusetts, to Vivian Mae Gibbs—whose Cape Cod heritage emerged in Fred’s love for the beach—and to Richard Nelson Bail, Sr, whose roots in the wooded hills of western Pennsylvania informed Fred’s love of trees, mountains and all natural beauty. Predeceased by his son Bradley Bail, he is survived by his older brother Richard N. Bail Jr. (Lynne) and his sister Caroline “Carrie” Bail (Darius Jonathan) who were a close-knit trio as well as by six beloved nieces and nephews: Lisa Bail (Wai Lee), Jeffrey Bail (Maureen), and Christopher Bail (Kari), Jonah Jonathan, Geneva Jonathan and Orelia Jonathan; nine grand nieces and nephews; his best friend Chuck Larson (Cynthia); and many loves and a multitude of friends.

After a happy free-range childhood in a small shoe town south of Boston, Fred joined his brother in school going to kindergarten at age four. He followed him again to Bowdoin College at age seventeen. Adding to his athletic interests there, he starred in lacrosse. He graduated with an AB in psychology in 1965. Fred always loved children, being a super playmate for his little sister and for all the neighborhood kids when home on college break. He obtained a PhD in educational psychology from Cornell in 1970, having already been employed by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

By chance, he landed in a residential neighborhood in Ka’aawa, where he fell deeply in love with Hawai’i, with slack key music (moving on from his first love playing amateur blues guitar), with Hawaiians, and with swimming in the ocean. His heart was won and kept by Hawai’i.

Fred was on the faculty at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa from August 1969 until August 2012, and remained a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology until his death. His favorite part of the job was mentoring many graduate students in their own pursuits. He won the “Excellence in Teaching” award, selected by students as the best teacher at the university, and served as department chair on and off over his forty-three-year career. He leaves behind many colleagues, students and friends at UHM.

His highest passion was saved for his relationships with people, family and many far-flung friends scattered around the world. Next on the list would be listening to music. Fred collected a wide range of music on CD and shared his special gift of making “mixes” tailored for a particular person’s favorite genre. Third would be amateur photography, which in his last decade manifested as the labor of love in assembling his original Hawai’i photo calendar eagerly awaited by its recipients.

Fred’s loosely Buddhist philosophy brought him to a simple but joyful way of living in retirement: cherished accommodations in Chuck’s “cottage” by the ulu tree, regular gatherings with friends, and daily visits to his “church,” which is how he referred to the Waimanalo beach, its ironwood trees, Windward vista of the Ko’olau Mountains and makai picture of Rabbit Island. It was in that beloved spot that he died suddenly on January 17, 2019.

Fred was a truly good and special man: compassionate, empathetic, generous, funny and spontaneous—add your own favorite adjective! We will all miss him so much more than these words can communicate; so please imagine a fade out with his favorite artist, Gabby Pahinui, playing in the background…

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