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Snapshots of a ‘True Keukonian:’ Fred L. Hoyle

An avid photographer, Fred Hoyle’s images have graced at least six Keuka magazine covers, numerous inside features, plus countless flyers, brochures and web site pages promoting the people and programs of the College where he worked since 2005.

But the image of the man himself – passionate about students, the College mission and diverse recreational pursuits – has come into sharp focus in the short time since his passing. Hoyle, associate vice president for admissions at Keuka, lost his 11-month battle against melanoma Oct. 26 at the age of 47.

While his death left the College in mourning, his life and heart have inspired many in the campus community and beyond to celebrate his dedicated service and passionate spirit.

With both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rochester Institute of Technology, Hoyle’s expertise and verve in the areas of photography, information technology, telecommunications and interactive media commanded attention when he first interviewed for the web coordinator position at Keuka in 2005. Handwritten notes jotted on his resume indicate he was the first candidate to mention a different look and “read” necessary for web marketing. Indeed, the interweaving of branding, imaging and marketing was Hoyle’s specialty.

A Fred Hoyle shot of vineyards overlooking one of his favorite Finger Lakes.

Making his mark as webmaster, he soon progressed to associate dean of admissions and marketing, then dean, and in 2010 became associate vice president for admissions. He led a team of nearly a dozen admissions counselors and staff in recruiting and welcoming each year’s freshman class.

“Fred was one of the smartest hires I ever made,” said COO/Executive Vice President Carolanne Marquis. “He exemplified exactly what Keuka College was about. He knew how to lead a team, how to handle the Admissions process in a way that fit the mission of our College. He was adored by every constituent on this campus.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Weed said Hoyle “brought tremendous wisdom, compassion, and dedication to his work with Keuka’s students – and took genuine pride in their success.”

Chris Austin, a 2008 graduate, conducted a Field Period, the 140-hour yearly internship that is a cornerstone of every Keuka degree, under Hoyle in 2007 and recalled Hoyle’s excitement about the potential of social media to engage prospective students. While Austin discovered that Facebook rules then prevented organizations from hosting their own pages, Hoyle never let go of the idea, Austin said. Today, Keuka boasts multiple Facebook pages, including ones for special admissions subgroups, such as incoming student classes, where Hoyle often commented and interacted with students himself.

“I will remember Fred as a visionary,” said Austin. “Under his leadership, the reach of the Keuka College marketing initiatives increased its geographic territory which no doubt has helped Keuka grow. Keuka College has lost a profound leader that helped make [it] what it is today.”

Hoyle's shot of sunrise at Point Neamo, along the campus shoreline.

In a written commentary, Joseph Burke, president emeritus of Keuka, said Hoyle embodied the Keuka spirit, even encouraging Burke to stay focused on the students when Burke would phone Hoyle at home during recovery from treatments.

“He was the epitome of a true Keukonian. He was passionate about everything,” Burke said, naming the quality of the school’s educational program, its mission and student welfare as just a few examples. “Fred mixed his passion with an uncanny ability to inspire the very best in those around him.”

Hoyle was especially devoted to students, and relished helping them, recommending scholarships and hearing their stories, said Keuka Webmaster Pete Bekisz, who worked under Hoyle for five years.

“When he’d talk to families, Fred made them feel like the most important people in the world. That’s something not a lot of people know how to do,” Bekisz said. Referencing the numerous student memories shared online, as well as on posters placed in the campus dining hall, he added: “There’s a lot of students who would say that what [Fred] might have considered a small conversation really changed their life, and that’s just the kind of person that he was.”

Hoyle, at left, with a fellow competitor, was a member of the Dutch Wheelmen Susquehanna Bicycle Racing Team of Bloomsburg, Pa.

Other passions of Hoyle’s included car racing – particularly at nearby Watkins Glen – and competitive cycling. Hoyle finished fifth in the 55-mile master’s division (ages 35-44) cycling race in the 2006 Empire State Games, hosted in the Rochester region. He later bested that with a bronze medal finish in the 2008 Games. For pleasure, Hoyle often cycled the 40-mile round trip between his Middlesex home and campus.

Fine wines – particularly French ones – and gourmet foods were another pursuit. Hoyle’s recipes, photography and travel adventures with his wife, Pam, would often be featured on his blog, www.afoodexperience.net.

On campus, Hoyle started a unique marketing initiative: a summer barbecue for prospective students and their high school counselors where Hoyle himself would grill the hamburgers and hots.

“He was a fantastic chef. He made some of the best-tasting things I’d ever had, and there wasn’t a food dilemma he couldn’t fix,” recalled Bekisz, who shared Hoyle’s culinary interests. “He had specific, quirky interests with food. He’d travel miles on end for a good cut of beef.”

He also enjoyed bird-watching, animals, jazz music and what Hoyle called the technological “art” of Apple products, Bekisz recalled.

Residence directors Tim White and Eugene Mont named Hoyle an executive producer in their campus film, The Curse of Ball Hall, which will debut at the College Halloween night. White described how Hoyle went out of his way to support the project, lending the two a video camera to film scenes and suggesting a variety of marketing strategies to pique interest from the student body.

“He was excited from the word ‘Go,’ – and [shared] how we could tailor it into an Admissions piece to recruit and retain students,” White said, adding that he and Mont are now dedicating the film to Hoyle’s memory.

“Fred’s enthusiasm was contagious, whether it be about cycling, food, wine or photography,” said Lynn Lannon, a 1969 Keuka graduate and member of the Board of Trustees. “And then there was his enthusiasm for and commitment to Keuka. He was an amazing ambassador, committed and passionate … We have lost a wonderful human being, a wonderful Keukonian.”

Condolences from students, former colleagues, and countless friends have poured into the College from all corners for Hoyle and a scholarship has been established in his honor. Contributions to the Fred L. Hoyle Endowed Scholarship for incoming Keuka College students may be directed to: the Division of College Advancement, Keuka College, P.O. Box 98, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478.

Visitation and Memorial Service Information:

Calling hours for Fred Hoyle will be held Sunday, Oct. 30,
from 2 to 6 p.m. at:

Johnson-Kennedy Funeral Home
47 North Main St.
Canandaigua, N.Y.  14424
Phone: (585) 394-4280
Web site: www.johnsonkennedy.com

A memorial service for Fred will be held Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. in Norton Chapel. A reception will follow in Lightner Library.

Messages of sympathy may be sent to:

Mrs. Pam Hoyle
996 Old Vineyard Road
Middlesex, N.Y.  14507

We invite you to share your memories of Fred and condolences for his family by leaving a comment below.

83 Responses to Snapshots of a ‘True Keukonian:’ Fred L. Hoyle

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  1. Peter Bekisz says:

    Fred was one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever known, and it was a privilege to be able to spend so much time with him over these past five years. Fred was my friend, mentor, teacher and confidant, and one of my true heroes.

    Fred’s middle initial—L—stands for “Lovejoy,” and I can’t think of a name that more accurately describes who he was. He had a fierce love for so many people and so many things, and certainly brought immense joy into the lives of many.

    I will miss him tremendously.

  2. Charles Scheetz says:

    Fred was a individual like no other. From the moment I arrived at Keuka in January of this year, I felt immediately welcomed by Fred. His office was always open, whether it was to discuss work, family, friends, or a recent news story. He was always willing to take the time and listen.

    The two things that I remember most about Fred, in the short time that I have known him, was his willingness to listen and his grin. No matter what the situation was, he always had a smile on his face.

    Fred truly defines what Keuka College is to anyone who has come in contacted with him. He will be missed greatly.

  3. Michele Sheldon says:

    Fred was one of the warmest individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. His presents and smile always brightened any room he entered. He will be greatly missed.

    My sincere condolences to his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

  4. Jan Enos says:

    Fred was a valued member of our Keuka family, and his warm friendly presense will be sadly missed in Ball Hall. My thoughts are with his family and our Admission Department.

  5. Dawn Langdon says:

    I met Fred through Jen Bates in the Fall of 2009. Instantly, we bonded over the battle of Phillies vs Yankees in the World Series-even though we didn’t agree on which team should win. Fred had a personality that you couldn’t help but be drawn to. My thoughts and prayers are with all of his family and the Enrollment Management Team at Keuka.

  6. Sara DeFilipps says:

    My first experience with Fred was on a road trip to Vermont to visit Champlain College and learn how they used Datatel. We were all eating breakfast and a hotel employee came out of the kitchen with cookies left over from the day before. She asked if anyone wanted one and Fred didn’t hesitate. In fact, he had dessert with every meal we ate on that trip!

    Every time I saw him eating lunch in the Geiser dessert was always on the menu! I was always amazed that he stayed so fit but managed to have something sweet. What a great way to live life…never skipping dessert!

    My thoughts are with his Keuka family in admissions and marketing as well as with his family during this difficult and sad time.

  7. Anne Weed says:

    The College has lost a great friend and leader today. Fred brought tremendous wisdom, compassion, and dedication to his work with Keuka’s students and took genuine pride in their success. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Pam, to his family, and his many friends. We mourn the loss of this remarkable man.
    Anne Weed
    Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Keuka College

  8. Timothy White & Eugene Mont says:

    Fred was a great friend and colleague. His enthusiasm was contagious and palpable. Eugene and I experienced that when we were working on “The Curse of Ball Hall.” He was excited from the word-go, and how we could tailor it into an Admissions piece to recruit and retain students.

    Fred always went out of his way to ask about the project or see how he could help. From lending us a Sony PD-170 to film with to marketing strategies to get the word out there. He will surely be missed by us and the entire school. The loss is great and unthinkable, but his memory lives on through the people he touched and the work he did.

    Eugene and I already made Fred an executive producer for all his support and enthusiasm for “The Curse”, but we have now decided to dedicate the film to the master’s memory.

    Our hearts and prayers go out to the Enrollment Management Team and to his family.

  9. Debra Dickinson says:

    I was sorry to hear of Fred’s passing. He was not only a true asset to Keuka College, but a genuinely nice person. I never saw him without a smile on his face.
    Although I am no longer at Keuka College, I still consider myself part of the Keuka family, and the loss of any family member brings much sadness. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends.

  10. Tracey Curry says:

    Your entire family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Jen Bates says:

    Fred was an amazing man that Keuka College was blessed to have as part of our family. His intelligence, words of wisdom and friendship will be missed but never forgotten. I will miss you Freddy!

  12. Jessica Noveck says:

    Fred was one of the first people I met at Keuka. He was warm, friendly, and always good for a smile and ‘Hello!’ when passing in the hallway. His love and passion for Keuka was apparent and contagious. I will always be thankful for having the honor to work such an outstanding individual. His absence will be felt across the entire Keuka Community. I will surely miss him!

  13. Joe Burke says:

    Today I grieve the death of my dear friend and colleague Fred Hoyle.

    He was the epitome of a true Keukonian!!! He was passionate about everything: the importance of our mission, the welfare of our students, the quality of our educational program, the beauty and fragility of our natural environment, and the personal welfare of those around him.

    Equally as important, Fred mixed his passion with an uncanny ability to inspire the very best in those around him.

    When Fred became ill last year, and had to spend time at home, I would call him to see how he was doing. In typical “Fred fashion”, he would spend more time trying to encourage me to remember the vitally important work that we at Keuka College were doing for young people.

    I will miss a dear friend. Our college community will miss a vital member. However, we will always remember what a privilege it was to be associated with such a warm and caring human being!

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Fred’s wife Pam and the other members of his extended family, as well as to those Keukonians in the Admissions Office and throughout Ball Hall who were closest to him across the years.

    Godspeed to a dedicated Keukonian and a wonderful person! I will miss you!

  14. Reis Cunningham says:

    You will be missed Fred, you were a great asset to the college and a wonderful person. Our prayers and condolences go out to your family…

  15. Dan Gnagy says:

    The staff here at Messenger Post Media, where Pam is our Operations Director, joins with thje Keuka family today in remembering Fred, and in thinking of all of you and all friends and family.

  16. Allison Cooper says:

    I’m sorry I never met Fred but I know he was a great husband to Pam, who I have had the pleasure of working with for a decade. To Pam, and to everyone touched by this caring man who left a legacy of such warm memories for so many, I wish you the solace of those memories through your sadness. I hope you will find some comfort in knowing Fred will surely live on in your hearts.

  17. Mike Davis says:

    Fred was such an influence to me in my time at Keuka. He’s the one who had those words of advice to keep me in college. My prayers go to his family and friends. As well as, the Keuka College family and friends. May God rest assure in all of you.

  18. Alexandria Allen says:

    From the moment I met Fred it was always a pleasure seeing him on campus. He helped me to get my word out there about my experience as a first year college student in my family and ever since has volunteered me to share my experiences here at Keuka. He was a very generous man and always had that welcoming smile on his.

    I know he will truly be missed by everyone, his wife and family and the Keuka Family! My prayers and condolences go out to his wife and family!

    May his friendliness, care, dedication and love keep living on in the Keuka community! He will be greatly missed! I will miss you Fred! You will live on in our hearts!

  19. Stephanie Craig says:

    It was a bright spot working with Fred who had such a vision for the DRIVE program as well as many other programs. He will be missed as his type of passion and compassion is rare. I wish his family and friends peace and comfort.

  20. Jim hilker says:

    What a loss! Although I only had a few months to get to know Fred, he was one of those warm, welcoming, and easy-going folks you just like to be around. We became friends quickly, as I’m sure so many have with him. Today I am so sad for all who know him. Thank you Fred for all the lives you have enriched. God Bless.

  21. Jerdana Norman says:

    From the very first time I ever met Fred he had the most welcoming smile and friendliest demeanor about him and that never changed regardless of what day it was or how busy he might have been at the moment. I can remember countless times wandering by his office, when it was what is now the conference room in Admissions, and catching a glimpse of him in the window and he’d always look up and wave hello. I’ll never forget that or him. He will be sorely missed by all.

    My condolences to his family.

  22. Pam Bloss says:

    I met Fred the first day l taught at Keuka. As an adjunct, I did not know anyone, and wandering into the cafeteria the first day, I looked around to see a good place to sit. Fred noticed me, and waved me over. With a big smile, he introduced himself and those at the table. I had many lunches with him over the following years. He was always willing to enter a discussion about admissions at Keuka, adding a dose of his wisdom and his special humor. What a wonderful man!
    We will all miss him, and I will miss his big smile when I ask: “how’s admissions doing today?”
    My love and sympathies to his family. We were all blessed by his life.

  23. Jennifer Furner says:

    On many occasions, I had the pleasure to join Fred for lunch in the Geiser. He was also welcoming, and through those interactions, I learned that Fred was one of the most intelligent people I knew. He was able to provide insight on almost any topic of discussion, from politics to sports. He was also warm, welcoming and had a general concern for you as a person. I always enjoyed those brief encounters with Fred! You could tell how much he cared for people, and Keuka through such a simple encounter! My thoughts are extended to his wife, his family and my fellow Keukonians who worked directly with Fred! Fred, you will be missed by many!

  24. Jennifer Barlow says:

    I didn’t know Fred, but Pam always would talk about him and their times together traveling. My thoughts are with you Pam. I am praying for you, Pam. I admire the love you have for your husband. Your family here at Messenger Post is praying for you.

  25. Elizabeth Lynough says:

    My throughts and prayers are with Fred’s family, as well as his Keuka family. I got to know Fred while working in the admissions department as a Student Ambassador. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and always did it with a smile on his face. Fred will be greatly missed!!!

  26. Jennifer Shoemaker says:

    Fred lived each day with tremendous passion and ambition for everything in life. His positive, can-do attitude brightened the lives of everyone who had the true honor of working with him. Fred bicycled to and from work on so many days and always had the most amazing, innovative ideas and the true brilliance of taking these visions and making them successful realities. Fred’s passion for life will always be an inspiration to those who were blessed with his friendship. My heart and deepest sympathies will always be with Fred’s family, friends and Keuka family.

  27. Tom Bennett says:

    I mourn with the Keuka Family. Fred was a true Gentlemen and a Gentle Man. A person of Great intelligence, warmth and humor. He was truly a Friend to all of us who had the pleasure of working with him. He would often join us for lunch and he would talk about the dinner he prepared the night before (He loved being in the kitchen.) getting out on his bike for a 20 mile ride, or what he and Pam had planned for the weekend. He brought such a great consistent upbeat attitude to everything he did.
    He came to Keuka as the Webmaster. He leaves us much too soon with the much more important title of beloved colleague and friend.

  28. BettyLou Koffel says:

    Fred touched so many lives. His enthusiasm for Keuka inspired me. I have so enjoyed working with him and talking about food, wine and bikes. I will miss him. My condolences to Pam and other family and friends.

  29. Maryanne Cameron says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Fred’s passing. I worked with and then for him as he joined Keuka and moved up to oversee admissions. It’s been 4.5 years since I left Keuka but I still remember Fred as a very creative, hard-working, and passionate person & a fun guy to be around. Rest in peace Fred.

  30. Jack Haley says:

    I had the opportunity to meet with Fred as he helped my daughter Roxy with her admission to Keuka College. Later I had the chance of working with him for two days. Fred was very professional and I enjoyed those two days I spent working with him on campus. My prayers go out to Pam and everyone that will miss such a great man.

  31. Lynn Lannon says:

    I am so sad for all of us in the Keuka family at Fred’s passing. We have lost a true friend. Keuka has lost a true friend. Fred’s enthusiasm was contagious, whether it be about cycling, food, wine or photography. I always loved his posts about what he’d cooked or was about to cook!

    And then there was his enthusiasm for and commitment to Keuka. He was an amazing ambassador, committed and passionate. I was thrilled to see him at the 2011 commencement in May. “I had to be here for Joe Burke’s last commencement” he said. That was Fred.

    We have lost a wonderful human being, a wonderful Keukonian. My thoughts and prayers go out to Pam and his family and to his friends and colleagues in Enrollment Management and across the campus.

    We will all miss you Fred. God speed and rest in peace.

  32. Beth Kesel says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Pam and her family. I know Freds time spent traveling with Pam are documented for all to see. Fred left a wonderful legacy of recipes, travel & cooking tips behind. I’m a follower….My thoughts and prayers, as well as all of us at the Messenger Post who work with Pam, are with her and her family.

  33. Chris Mazella says:

    As someone who delivered mail to Fred and the rest of the admissions staff throughout my undergrad years, I was always greeted by Fred with a smile and welcoming feeling. Keuka has lost someone truly special today, and he will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family, friends, and coworkers.

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