Bell tolls for civic activist Fred Schoneman

Fred S. Schoneman, a long-time resident and Bremerton city employee, died Saturday, June 29. He was 88.

Schoneman was born on Feb. 28, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York to Norwegian immigrants. He married his first wife Margaret in 1940, but she preceded him in death.

Schoneman worked as a surveyor, helping to build new airports during WWII. His work introduced him to the Northwest, where he brought his family to live in 1945, and brought him to places like Brazil, and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. He worked briefly for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard before he was hired by the city of Bremerton as a field engineer, where he worked for 12 years.

Schoneman later ran for Commissioner of Public Works — a position he won and defended for 17 years. He also served 14 years as a Port of Bremerton Commissioner, a position he held until he was 84-years-old.

On June 9, 1981, Bremerton Mayor Glen Jarstad proposed naming the overpass connecting Eleventh Street and Kitsap Way the Fred S. Schoneman overpass to honor his service to the community. The resolution passed unanimously, forever leaving Schoneman’s mark on the city.

Schoneman is remembered in another sense every day at noon. His love for music prompted him to establish the Kitsap Carillon Bells Association in 1971. By the next year, the non-profit group installed the bells which toll each hour in the Washington Mutual Building. The city took over operating the bells this year.

“He was quite an accomplished musician and bringing the bells to the city of Bremerton was important to him,” said his son, Noel Schoneman.

Schoneman is survived by his second wife, Katherine, his sister Alice Myhre, four children, Noel Schoneman, Mary Whittaker, Sue Brannan and Ellie Coombe, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at the Manette Community Center.

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