The final chapter for a Kent icon

Kelsey Henninger

Bookstore owner’s ‘number one purpose’ was service

Fredric M. DuBois, the owner, president, chairman and general manager of DuBois Book Store, died March 25.

Many friends remember his genuine, giving spirit.

“He was always among the first people to help,” said the Rev. David Pattee of Kent’s United Church of Christ. “He recognized a need and offered himself to help make things happen.”

DuBois, 78, was born in Ravenna but raised in Hiram and Kent. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the United Church of Christ in Kent. He will be buried alongside his wife in Allentown, Pa.

“Service was his No. 1 purpose,” Fred’s son Hal DuBois said, adding he recognized books were a big expense for students, and he was always looking for the best deals.

Fred’s father, John Harold DuBois, started the bookstore in the early 1930s, buying and selling books out of the back of his truck, but Fred had been running it for more than 50 years.

He was recently honored by the National Association of College Stores for 50 years of service to the college textbook industry.

Among other awards, he was a longtime member of the Kent State President’s Club and was recently recognized as a member of the President’s Medallion Society and Herrick Society.

He was also recognized as a friend of the Kent State Honors College in 2006.

“He was very generous when supporting the college and students,” Honors College Dean Don Williams said. Fred, for example, bound all of the Honors College publications for free and donated all the materials and labor for more than 15 years.

He also donated significantly to Kent State.

Walter Watson, director of music and choirmaster at United Church of Christ and emeritus professor and director of the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music, said Fred was gentle, friendly and low key. Watson remembers Fred’s strong involvement in activities even after the passing of his wife, Marilyn, in 2006.

“He didn’t try to stand out for personal accomplishments,” Watson said.

Later this year, the Kent Free Library will dedicate its children’s reading room in memory of Fred and Marilyn in recognition of their contribution toward the recently completed renovations and expansion.

Hal remembered hearing it took his father mere seconds to decide to donate to the Kent Free Library. He particularly wanted to donate to the children’s center.

“He wasn’t a Scrooge,” Hal said.

Glenn Saltzman, friend of Fred and Rotary Club member, said he always put service above self, which is the motto of the Rotary Club. Fred was a member and former president of Kent’s Rotary Club.

“Fred was a wonderful man and community member,” Saltzman said.

Saltzman remembered Fred’s series of programs he presented to the Rotary Club about the importance of walking.

“A lot of us took him up on that,” said Saltzman, explaining how members began to walk and hike regularly.

Fred would walk from the bookstore to the rotary meetings, earning himself the nickname “Mr. Walktober,” Saltzman said.

DuBois graduated from Denison University in Granville in 1952 and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Instead of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The DuBois Family Foundation, established by Fred. It will continue the tradition of philanthropy established by the couple in their lifetimes by continuing to support organizations, projects and services in the fields of education, the arts, the environment and the community.

Contact public affairs reporter Kelsey Henninger at [email protected].