Fred Immoor's influence will be felt for generations. Known to many South Tahoe Middle School students as "Grandpa Fred," Immoor died Saturday after a short battle with a cancerous brain tumor. He was 74 years old.
For three years Immoor volunteered his time in teacher Holly Greenough's class of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, helping the children improve their reading skills and lifting self-esteem. After his diagnosis, Immoor didn't look for sympathy. Instead he challenged the students to think of things they would change in his honor.
"What was really the most powerful experience I had in my life was taking the group of kids he was closest with down to the hospital," Greenough said. "He was very ill and sleeping most of the time, but as each kid came to his bedside he called them by name - we're talking 13 kids - and said something very special to each of them. Every one of them hugged him and told him very specifically what they would do in his honor.
"One child who actually wasn't in school at that time because of problems, later told me that he planned on working hard and graduating high school for Grandpa Fred."
Immoor and his wife Dorothy moved to Lake Tahoe in 1965 from Virginia City, Nev. From 1958 to 1982, the couple bought and restored one of Nevada's oldest operating hotels in Gold Hill, Nev. In addition to his time at STMS, Immoor volunteered in the outreach program and Bijou Elementary's special education class.
"He really praised the children for their effort and he wanted them to be recognized for their greatness in not giving up, because these were kids who were never going to be the straight A students," Greenough said. "He was a really wonderful man."
The students spoke of Immoor's influence in a March story in the Tahoe Daily Tribune:
"Grandpa Fred helped me with my homework. He makes me feel very special," Alberto Chavez.
"He's the grandpa I never had," Angela Denner.
"He got me a cover for my science report. He also got me a book to help me read better. One day I was really sad then Grandpa Fred came and talked to me and dried my tears," Krystal Pierce.
Immoor is survived by two sons, Gregory Immoor of Carson City and Terry Immoor of Marla Bay; a daughter, Colleen Hosman of South Lake Tahoe; a brother, Allen Immoor of Irvine, Calif.; a sister, Joan Collingwood of Reno; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Tahoe in Round Hill. Graveside services will follow in Genoa Cemetery. A reception will be held after the burial at Our Lady of Tahoe. In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted for the "Grandpa Fred Be Anything You Want To Be" scholarship fund, P.O. Box 216, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448.
The scholarship fund, dedicated to STMS students, will be administered by Greenough and Immoor's granddaughter Heidi Hosman. The fund will be for savings bonds to be given to students upon graduation from high school.