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Fred W. Ponder
A memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Ceres Community Center for Fred Walter Ponder, 76, of Modesto. He died Nov. 18, 2009 at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson.

Born June 25, 1933 in Sinton, Texas to Fred and Maud Ponder, Fred grew up working on a dairy, and drove trucks to town at age 12 to deliver corn from the farm to the mills. In 1946 he moved to Stockton, where Fred worked part-time after school at Safeway. Fred graduated from Stockton College in June 1951, and enlisted in the Army in January 1951. Fred was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and made 17 parachute jumps. Fred served in Korea in 1952 with the 2nd Rocket Battery Division. After his discharge in 1953 Fred returned to work for Safeway stores. During the 1960s he purchased Whitmore Market in Ceres where he had his first fireworks stand. After selling Whitmore Market Fred worked by Rainbo Bakery as a route driver/ supervisor for 13 years. After earning his stockbroker license, Mrs. Ponder joined Bateman Eichler. He continued to operate fireworks stands every year during the Fourth of July season. In 1985 Fred joined a wholesale fireworks distributor as a full time account manager. In 1992 he joined Phantom Fireworks, becoming the first in the Valley to build up the company.

Fred enjoyed golf and traveling to Hawaii, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Florida, Arizona, Canada and Nevada. After he retired, Fred moved to Desert Hot Springs in 2003 and purchased a home on Mission Lakes Golf and Country Club. There he worked part-time at PGA West in La Quinta as a player assistant on the PGA Stadium and Nicholas courses. Mr. Ponder remained there until poor health warranted a move back to Modesto.

He leaves behind his wife of 23 years, Carol Ponder of Modesto; his children, Sherri Brown and Randy Ponder, both of Modesto, James Ponder of Madera, Tim Ponder, Ryne and Ricki Ponder, of Modesto; two sisters, Dorothy Clark of Lodi and Margaret Ann Maisel of Stockton; and 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by parents Fred and Maud Ponder, and brothers Leonard Ponder and Orlandis Reves.

Remembrances may be sent to the Fred Ponder Memorial Fund, c/o The Bank of the West, 3600 McHenry Ave., Modesto, CA 95356, which will be used for Junior Golf organizations in Stanislaus County.

-Ceres Courier /December 2, 2009