In the Line of Duty: Frederick C. Phelps

Frederick C. Phelps, a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, was killed in the line of duty on March 5 as he was crushed between two railroad cars while making a delivery.

Brother Phelps, 55, died about 9:20 p.m. on March 5 at Lakeside Foods Co. according to the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department. Emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead three minutes after a 911 call was placed, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper.

Phelps, an employee of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, belonged to BLET Division 184 in Schiller Park, Wisc. Prior to working at the Wisconsin & Southern, Brother Phelps was a conductor for the CN/Wisconsin Central. He was dismissed by the CN, but maintained his BLET membership and he continued to receive representation from the BLET's CN/WC General Committee of Adjustment. His arbitration case was just heard a few weeks ago, according to Paul Aird, Legislative Representative of BLET Division 173 (Fond du Lac, Wisc.).

Brother Phelps entered into the United States Navy in 1972 and was honorably discharged in 1976. He worked on his family farm for many years until he entered into the Peace Corps where he taught agriculture in Honduras from 1984 until 1989. He married Sara E. Puerto Flores on March 1, 1996 in Honduras.

He is survived by his wife Sara; two sons Jeffrey J. Phelps and F. Quincy Phelps of Whiting, Ind.; three daughters Millicent C. Phelps and Jennifer M. Phelps both of Whiting, Ind. and Cresent V. Harris of Jacksonville, Fla.; his mother Alice H. Phelps and her companion Donald Backus of Gouverneur, N.Y.; two sisters Melinda K. Virnig and her companion Thomas Ritchie of Harrisville, N.Y. and Teresa Y. and Maurice Gutierrez of Alamogordo, N.M.; two grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

He was also an attendant of Whiting United Methodist Church. He enjoyed model trains and taking care of his fish and aquarium.

The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating the incident, according to spokesman Warren Flatau, who said the office investigates all deaths of on-duty employees. The investigation began on March 6 and is expected to last several months, he said.

Milwaukee-based Wisconsin & Southern operates 700 miles of track throughout south-central Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois.

Donations may be made in Frederick's memory to the Whiting United Methodist Church at 1920 Clark St., Whiting, Ind. 46394.

(Some information in this obituary from the Fond du Lac Reporter.)



© 2008 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen