Frederick Jacob Eydt (Fred) died peacefully after a short illness on May 17th, 2022 in Vero Beach, Florida. He was 93 years old.
Fred was born on March 9th, 1929 in Buffalo, New York to Harold and Edna Heintz Eydt. Fred grew up in Binghamton New York attending Binghamton Central High School where he excelled in the sport of basketball. His talent on the court was recognized and he was recruited to play for Cornell University where he graduated in 1952 with a degree in hospitality from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. His talent on the court as a top defensive center as well as scoring leader produced a draft pick from the Boston Celtics for the ’52 season. Fred remained devoted to his Alma mater throughout his life, serving as a Cornell trustee in the ‘80’s & ‘90’s and was later named Trustee Emeritus. While serving as trustee he helped to raise substantial funds for Cornell. Years later Fred would be inducted into the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984 and recognized as Hotelie of the year in 1991 by the Cornell Society of Hotelmen.
At 6’5” Fred didn’t see a future in the pros as center, so he moved straight to New York City to begin his career in the hotel industry. Fred started his journey with Hilton International working with Conrad and Barron Hilton. He later grew into meaningful financial roles at Treadway Inns, Inter-Continental Hotels/Pam Am, and International Industries. Perhaps his favorite opportunity was working for RockResorts for 20 years as Executive VP and then President managing luxury resorts such as Caneel Bay, Little Dix Bay, Woodstock Inn along with some of the best known resorts within Hawaii the islands. Working with Laurence Rockefeller and other peers, his professionalism and work ethic were recognized by all who worked with him. He became a mentor and great friend to some who he stayed connected with his entire life. After leaving RockResorts, Fred partnered with a Cornell classmate, Charles “Chuck” Feeney and together they co-founded and launched Medallion Hotels, a group of distressed properties in the Midwest that were successfully turned around to high end business hotels. His hotel experiences gave him the opportunity to travel to all corners of the world, which for a guy with a very modest upbringing, always gave him great joy.
Fred would consider his family to be his greatest achievement. He met the love of his life Margaret Katherine Korchak at Binghamton High School They married in March 1951 and together raised five children. Their 67-year journey together took them to Maywood, NJ, Rochester, NY, New Canaan, CT, Hidden Hills, CA, back to New Canaan, New York City, Woodstock, VT, Palm City & Vero Beach, FL. Fred’s jobs enabled them to travel frequently all over the world, but New Canaan was definitely home. New Canaan is where Fred and Marge raised their busy family and made lifelong friends. Active at St Marks for many years, Fred was a man of great faith and served on the vestry, taught Sunday school and participated in all church related activities. He also served on the New Canaan YMCA board in the 70’s leading a major drive to rebuild infrastructure and fiscal security.
Fred picked up tennis and became an avid player, and cultivated a love of the game to his children. He served as president of the New Canaan Field Club in the late 70’s. In the early 80’s he took up golf and along with Marge spent many happy hours on the links at the Country Club of New Canaan, the Woodstock Country Club, VT and Harbour Ridge Country Club, FL. In addition, Fred was a member of the University Club, the Tavern Club & The River Club in New York and also helped secure the new location and independent building for the Cornell Club of NYC on East 44th Street. In the 1980’s he and Marge purchased an apartment in Manhattan where they embarked on a new chapter enjoying life together in the city.
In 1994 Fred and Marge threw caution to the wind and purchased a large farm outside of Woodstock, VT in South Pomfret. The property, Pine Hollow Farm, would become the family hub for 22 years. It was a special place loved by the whole family and was the site of many celebrations and gatherings. Everyone was always welcomed. Family dinners, ski adventures, hikes, pond swims and lots of laughs were all part of the fun. Fred loved the farm, working outside and carving out a life in the community. He and Marge were active members of the St. James Episcopal Church in Woodstock. Fred would often be seen driving around in his vintage 1949 green Chevy truck with his trusted yellow Labrador retriever Charlie by his side.
Fred was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to many. He gave his time and guidance to many young people throughout his career and kept connected with lifelong relationships. His insights and perspectives helped many get their bearings in life. He was humble and always considered family, faith, higher education and friends to be of the utmost importance. He loved a good meal, a bowl of ice cream, rousing conversations and watching the New York Mets. Fred was predeceased by his wife, Margaret K. Eydt who passed away in March, 2018, He is survived by Robert, of Rowayton, CT, William (Lisa) of New Canaan, CT, Patricia Vance (Rick) of Apple Valley, MN, Richard of Atlanta, GA and Roger of Snohomish, WA. Fred is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. A memorial will be held on September 7 at St. Marks Church in New Canaan.