Fred Pearson Culbreth, Jr.

January 7, 2021

CHARLOTTE – Fred Pearson Culbreth, Jr. of Matthews, NC died on January 7, 2021. He was 91 years old. He was born March 24, 1929 in Shelby, NC to Fred P. Culbreth, Sr. and Essie Allen Culbreth.

In addition to his wife of 65 years, Ann Alexander Culbreth, Fred is survived by his daughter, Laurie Culbreth Helms and son-in-law, Tracy Helms of Rock Hill, SC; son Fred P. Culbreth, III and his wife, Kathy of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren, Alex Helms of Spartanburg, SC; Madeline Helms of Anderson, SC; Cayla Culbreth of Raleigh, NC; Scott Culbreth of Colorado Springs, CO. He is also survived by his sister, Doris Dixon of Matthews, NC; brother, Joe Culbreth and his wife, Diana of Charlotte; brother-in-law Bud Alexander and his wife Gloria of Snellville, GA; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Fred was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Betty Cline Barnwell of Charlotte, and other beloved family.

Fred grew up in Charlotte, NC and graduated in 1951 from The Citadel as a Distinguished Military Graduate and with a degree in Civil Engineering. He was a member of the Summerall Guard Precision Drill Team. Fred served as an Officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers and earned the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service in the Korean War.

After a career as a Regular Army Officer in the Corps of Engineers, he joined Shell Oil Company in Atlanta. During the following 34 years, Fred was involved with petroleum distribution and marketing engineering throughout the southeastern states. He received the Gold Award for Meritorious Service from the Petroleum Council of Georgia. He was a registered professional Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor in several states.

Fred joined the Rotary Club of North DeKalb, Georgia where he served as President and as District Governor of Rotary International. He later served as President of the Rotary Club of Charlotte North. He received The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service.

During his lifetime, Fred held membership in the Society of American Military Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; Decatur Masonic Lodge 723 in Decatur, GA and Phalanx Masonic Lodge 31 in Charlotte, NC; Yaarab and Oasis Shrine Temples. He was a past Director of the Charlotte Senior Forum and a Life Member of the Association of Citadel Men. Fred was a Charter Member of Boy Scout Troop 33 at Sardis Presbyterian Church, attaining the rank of Life Scout. He was a Charter Member of the Fred Society.

Among his hobbies, Fred enjoyed spending time tending to his garden. His greatest pleasure was found in making children with disabilities smile and laugh as Choo Choo the Clown. His talent was recognized in 1973 when he received the Top Clown Award from the National Shrine Clown Association.

A celebration of life will be held at a future date. Memorials may be made to the donor’s organization of choice.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Nora & Dirk Lindenbeck

    Dear Ann,
    It was with sadness that we read about Fred's passing in the Rotary District Newsletter. We have such good memories of times spent together and will miss him.
    We hope that the sadness will fade with time and the good memories will stay with you and your whole family.

  • Allen Langley

    I always enjoyed interacting with Fred, he was always funny and entertaining and as a great Rotarian that he was I learned a great deal from him. I will miss Fred and I am very sorry for your loss and Rotary's loss.

  • Edie Clark

    Dear Ann, Laurie and Scott,

    I just received an email from Betsy Smith who had sent an email to Laurie and Laurie told her that Fred had passed away several days ago.
    Ann had emailed me several years ago that Fred had been having some problems. I will always remember him as Choo Choo the Clown. I especially remember he made a special trip to our home in Atlanta when he heard my Mom and Dad were visiting and we had told them about his clowning. I must have been talking with Ann and told her we had been talking about his clowning. Sure enough, the next day my doorbell rang - and there was Choo Choo at my front door. My parents were captivated, and I was most appreciative.

    Please know I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love, Edie

  • Sheryl Butler

    It was a pleasure knowing Fred. He always made me laugh because he always had a joke or funny poem. He will be missed!

  • Marti Duncan

    I read the obituary in the paper with a sadness of heart. I met Fred and Ann when he was District Governor for Rotary International from North Georgia and my husband, Jim Duncan, was District Governor for South Alabama. When I moved to the Charlotte area, Matthews, I met Ann again through the Rotary Anns and enjoyed visiting their home n St Michaels. I send my best wishes to Ann and her family. Marti Duncan

  • Ron and Carole Leadbeater

    Fred our deepest condolences to you and your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.