Volume 79, Number 9 | August 5 - 11, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Fred Rinckwitz is dead at 91

By Albert Amateau

Frederick T. Rinckwitz, who was born in the Village and lived there until he moved about three years ago with his wife, Betty, to her hometown in Guntersville in northeast Alabama, died on July 14 in their home in Alabama. He was 91.

He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II for four years and then returned to his parents’ home on Perry St. and his job on the Manhattan waterfront, where he was a union representative of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks.

Shortly after his marriage to the former Betty Bain, he was elected vice chairman/treasurer of the national board of the union and had to move to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the union headquarters was located.

“One of the smartest things he ever did was to continue to pay the rent-controlled rent on the Perry St. apartment,” his wife said. “Four years later the union moved its headquarters to New York and Fred and I returned to his childhood home.”

He was the son of Frederick (Fritz) Rinckwitz, a German immigrant, and Mary Brereton Rinckwitz, whose family had roots in New York City since the American Revolution. His mother’s Brereton grandfather fought in the Civil War.

“That connection gave Fred a lifelong interest in the Civil War. He was extremely knowledgeable about the subject,” his wife said. Fred wasn’t a joiner but he fully supported his wife’s participation in Village community affairs, she said.

“When he was 88, those 52 steps up to the fourth floor became too much for his emphysema and his legs,” Betty said. She persuaded him to move to Alabama where she had many relatives.

In addition to his wife, a sister, Betty DeSimone, of New York, survives. His funeral was Fri., July 17, and burial was in the Bain family cemetery in Alabama.

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