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CHERYL (STEHLING) KELLY, San Clemente
Thank you so much for sharing the very sad news of Fred Swegles’ diagnosis of glioblastoma. Fred is truly San Clemente’s treasure and favorite son.
I had the pleasure of working with Fred at the Daily Sun/Post in the late ’80s to early ’90s. As fellow journalists, we always had each other’s backs. He was so much fun to work with because he always embraced life to the fullest. It was enjoyable hearing about his world travels. I was always a bit envious of his fluency in Spanish.
Fred had an uncanny ability to cheer everyone up. You couldn’t be having a bad day with Fred around. Always the prankster, he got a great laugh waiting for me to take a sip of my coffee, then spouting one of his jokes.
I did get the best of him one time, however.
No one ever knew when Fred’s birthday fell, but I found out. In those days, there was a feature in the Sun/Post called “Sunny Post Says,” with a little wise-cracking Dennis the Menace-looking character on page two.
Fred was often the author of the daily wisecrack. But on his birthday, which he didn’t know I had found out, I offered to create Sunny’s quip, and it met with his approval. The editor, in on the joke, then substituted the quip with “Happy birthday, Fred Swegles, the original Sunny Post!”
The well-wishes came pouring in and Fred was more than a little embarrassed.
After five years, I moved on to another newspaper, but we always kept in touch. After I retired, I would often run into him in town, whether it was on the Beach Trail, walking on Del Mar, or passing each other in our cars.
I am sending best wishes and prayers Fred’s way. Get well, old friend.