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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fred 'Fritz' G. Minuth, 84, educator

 •  Obituaries

By Robert Shikina
Advertiser Staff Writer

The management of the Chicago White Sox was shocked.

The young boy, fresh out of high school with the talent to play professional baseball, turned down an offer to play for the organization. Instead, he opted to pursue a college degree.

So began the successful and varied career of the Rev. Fred "Fritz" G. Minuth, a nuclear physicist, Marine, teacher, coach, headmaster and priest in the Episcopal Church in Hawai'i.

Minuth died June 23 of natural causes. He was 84.

"He was inspiring to me. He was a bigger-than-life kind of person," said his daughter, Dorsey Gibson.

Born in Chicago, Minuth was an athletic youth who played football and baseball during high school. In the 1930s, he would regularly suit up during summer practice and catch baseballs with the White Sox. The club later offered him a minor-league contract, but he declined.

"They were quite taken aback," said son Reed Minuth.

After receiving his degree in physics and chemistry from a college in Colorado, Minuth served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He later made his way to Hawai'i and was the head football coach at Punahou School in the 1940s.

"He inherited a team that had three returning starters," Gibson said. "They were supposed to finish in the cellar or not far from it and he took them to within 20 seconds of the championship."

During the 1950s, after coaching college football in Colorado, Minuth moved his family to New Mexico where he worked as a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos. He later worked at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago as a nuclear physicist.

At the age of 37, Minuth left Chicago to study at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif. Although he found work as a nuclear physicist fascinating, the ethical issues of working with atomic weapons bothered him, Gibson said.

"The power of destruction was a little overwhelming for him," Gibson said. "Religion became hugely important to him, preserving God's creation rather than the other way around."

Later, he moved with his family back to Hawai'i, where a college friend was the archbishop in Honolulu.

Through it all, Minuth never lost his passion for sports.

He was a chaplain and athletic director at Iolani School and later worked as associate rector of the Church of the Holy Nativity.

In 1969, Minuth began a 12-year career as the headmaster of St. Andrew's Priory in Honolulu. He also coached the school's softball team.

"He kind of couldn't get out of coaching. I know it just tickled him," Reed Minuth said.

Fred Minuth is survived by his wife, Nancy; sons, Reed and Eric; daughter, Dorsey Gibson; and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrew's Cathedral. A service will begin at 10 a.m. The family requests no flowers. Donations can be made to St. Andrew's Priory Chaplain Fund. Arrangements are by Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary.

Reach Robert Shikina at rshikina@honoluluadvertiser.com.