From James C. Schaap
Just a week or so ago, Frederick Manfred would have celebrated his 100th birthday, had he lived. He didn't. He died in 1994, from the complications of a brain tumor.
Manfred was a Siouxland original, a CRC boy, Calvin grad, a giant of a man—6’9” when he descended on the Calvin campus and was recruited post-haste for the Calvin basketball team. He didn’t do well in freshman English that year, but no man I know was so purposefully devoted to calling at Feike Feikema, the name with which he was born. By life’s end, he’d written a couple of dozen novels, some of them almost biography, others what we might call Western history. He was as generous a man as I’ve ever known, someone others have frequently called “a force,” like the wind on the plains he loved. Once he told me one day, when he was a boy, he sat down on the back step of his house near Doon, looked out at the open fields all around, and just wondered what the story was of the land where he was born.
I miss him. He certainly was a force in my life, a man so immensely passionate about what he did and what he loved doing that he couldn't help becoming an inspiration to others. I used to bring gangs of students up to his place, and every year they’d pile back in a van in a kind of stunned silence, even awe. Like no one else, he urged me to take an interest in writing--and he did so long before he ever knew me, or I him.