Fred Ragan was born in Durham on 10 April 1933. Following service in the U.S. Army in Kyoto Japan during 1952-53, he attended briefly both Brevard College and Albion College before coming to East Carolina College where he received his B.S., and M.A. degrees. After attending the American University for one year he entered the doctoral program in history at the University of Georgia in1962. Fred taught during this period at Morehead State College and he received his doctorate in December of 1964 having completed a dissertation entitled “The New Republic and the Idea of Democracy, 1919-29.” He joined the faculty at East Carolina College in September of 1965. He became very popular with students and colleagues and soon became a graduate student advisor and faculty leader. He was active in Phi Alpha Theta at East Carolina and was a founding member and for a number of years Secretary/Treasurer of the Association of Historians in Eastern North Carolina. His chair, Hugh Wease, described him as being “a moving force” in the department. In 1970 he married Carlene Watson in Greenville, and continued to be an active force in university and department affairs. He served a number of terms in the East Carolina University Faculty Senate and the University of North Carolina Faculty Assembly. Fred served as chair of the Department of History at East Carolina from 1979 to1986 and as Director of Graduate Studies from 1988-1991. He was a strong supporter of the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. He was a member of the following organizations: Organization of American Historian; Southern Historical Association; American Society for Legal History; Historical Society of North Carolina; Association of Historians in Eastern North Carolina; North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He also served on the Executive Council of the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies. In 1970 he married Carlene Watson in Greenville. His membership in the Historical Society of North Carolina dates from the mid-1960’s and he served on a number of Society committees in the 1980s: Local Arrangements, 1985 (Greenville); Committee on Public Schools, 1987; Chair, Nominating Committee, 1992-1993. Fred retired from teaching in 1996 and moved his home to Brevard at that time. He passed away in Brevard on 11 November 2013. Fred is remember by all as being a “fine person” and colleague. He was
legendary for his tenacity and for standing up for what he believed was the right thing to do. His teachers at Georgia noted that “he was an excellent young man in all respects,” and that he was “not flashy, but solid.” He will be missed by all of us. I used to kid him about his name asking if he really was named “Frederick,” but he would always reply that no, he “was just plain old Fred.”“Fred” like many things seemed to suit him just right.