Morene ‘All that is good in Hopewell’
By ADRIENNE WALLACE
May 19, 2017, 14:52
Fred Morene being honored at a local football game.
HOPEWELL – From a very young age until he was unable, Fred C. Morene volunteered to help others first willing to give the ultimate sacrifice as he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the beginning of World War II.
The Prince George native passed away Tuesday at the age of 93. He lived most of his life in Hopewell and dedicated himself to the community serving on numerous non-profits always wiling to go the extra mile serving as president of the Hopewell-Prince George United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and at the lead of many other civic organizations. He was a charter member of the Hopewell Jaycees, a trustee and deacon as well as a...
erator, Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, usher and other positions at First Baptist Church, a director of First Colonial Bank, director and president of the Hopewell Emergency Crew and director of the Hopewell/Prince George Crime Solvers and member/chairman of the Hopewell Planning Commission.
“He was certainly larger than life,” City Manager Mark Haley said of Morene. “He was one of those guys in Hopewell that gave so much with all of his involvement with civic organizations and his commitment to the community and church. This is a great loss to the community. His was a life well lived, for sure. Fred Morene exemplifies all that is good in Hopewell.”
Morene also served as a member of the Southside Virginia Homebuilders Association, the Hopewell Traffic Commission, a member of the Tri-City International Management Council, Hopewell Rotary Club, chairman of the Hopewell Post Office Advisory Council, and the public address announcer of Hopewell High School sports for more than 45 years. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hopewell Hall of Fame for a distinguished service award from the Virginia High School Sports Association.
He was honored recently by the Hopewell Public Schools Division for his service as an announcer and the Crime Solvers who said because of his hard work and years of service, numerous criminals were brought to justice as tipsters provided valuable information to the local Police departments.
Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane said it was an honor to know Morene, a local icon.
“Thank you sir for all you have done, and your work with the Crime Solvers and your support to the Police Department,” he said when Morene was honored at the Crime Solvers rib fest fundraiser. “You are an inspiration to all of us.”
Morene earned many accolades through his long life. He was named the Hopewell Volunteer of the Year in 1999 and Hopewell Business Man of the Year 1989 just to name two. Fred and Bertha Morene established the Fred C. and Bertha C. Morene Scholarship through the John Randolph Foundation to assist students who were pursuing their educational dreams. With the ever-increasing need in this area and the cost of college tuition steadily climbing over the past few years, it has become very difficult for families to send their children to college.
“I have never known a finer gentleman. In Rotary, our motto is ‘Service Above Self.’ Fred exemplified this in his every endeavor,” fellow Rotarian and Crime Solvers members Forrest Cleveland said. “He was a natural at getting people to come together. In my mind he was one of the all time great public servants to the Hopewell community, and above all, he did it with unequalled humility.”
The 1941 graduate of Hopewell High School and graduate of UVA’s School of General Studies, Realtors’ Institute of Virginia, Morene made notable accomplishments in his career fields, first as a sports writer for The Hopewell News.
He was the sports editor for the local newspaper from 1941 to 1948. He was a pioneer as he was the only reporter to forward results to the Richmond Times-Dispatch in order to get Hopewell state coverage.
Morene obtained his Broker’s License and taught many aspiring real estate agents not only about the business but about service to the community and helping others graciously.
Morene joined Ford Insurance and Real Estate Agency in July, 1948. He started in the insurance department and served as the president of the Petersburg, Hopewell Insurance Agents Association. In 1966 and was placed in charge of the real estate department.
By serving on many realtor committees, he soon became president of the Southside Virginia Association of Realtors, and in 1968 earned Realtor of the Year. Morene gained the positions of regional vice president, educational chairman, VAR-VREB chairman, by-laws chairman, president of the Virginia Real Estate Education Foundation.
Morene, who was born September 29, 1923, was often honored and accolades continued as he was recognized for professionalism and dedication to the field. Because of all his achievements, Morene was named Virginia Association of Realtors Realtor of the Year in 1995, which is the highest honor bestowed on a realtor. He also served as a director from Virginia for the National Association of Realtors, as well as a member of several national committees.
“He lived and breathed to be at the Ford Agency, and in turn felt that part of his mission in life was to give back to the community, which is what he has done,” Ford Agency President Mike Mahaney said in a phone interview while sitting at Morene’s office desk. “He had no other hobbies than helping people.”
Mahaney, who worked with Morene for 44 years and said that the local icon came to the Ford Agency a year after he was born. The company did not clean out Morene’s desk even after he stopped working and was residing at the Towers in Richmond.
“His wife and daughters knew that we kept his desk because we never wanted him to feel like that was the end,” Mahaney added. “He was so respected and really missed when he didn’t come in the office like he had.
“He was renowned as a realtor and recognized by the Southisde Board of Relators, the Virginia Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors,” the Ford Agency president said. “Fred climbed up the ladder, and was dedicated to his job and the community.
“He epitomized giving back to the community,” Mahaney continued. “A lot of people work hard and make a lot of money and don’t give back to the community or give a lot of effort to others. He did that giving to his church and community – he was one of a kind.”
With nearly 69 years with Ford Agency, Mahaney said Morene will be sorely missed, but not only at the long-time stalwart business in Hopewell but by the community overall.
Morene is survived by his wife of 71 years, Bertha, and three daughters, Brenda Morene Meadors (Don) of Virginia Beach, Joyce Carol Morene of Richmond, and Diane Morene Kinker (Lonnie) of Richmond and three grandchildren,
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 19, at the Hopewell Chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home. A funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at First Baptist Church of Hopewell.