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PROFILE: F.T. FUGE PREACHER/WRITER
October 25, 1979

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PIX #1 - Rev. Fred T. Fuge - Considered Fostoria home

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today's article is the first of two installments. It is unusual to use two columns to present a profile, but the Rev. F.T. Fuge was an unusual man, with many talents and experiences to share. To the writer's knowledge, this is the first time Fuge's life story, along with his writings has appeared in a newspaper. His writing are out of print and not available at Kaubisch Memorial Public Library.

This is the story about the life and accomplishments of the Rev. Frederick T. Fuge, a man that spent many years of his life in Fostoria. He was a man that had a great impact on the people with whom he came in contact, a man who was not really known by the greater populace of this city, yet who sailed the oceans of this globe, spent 20 years in Africa, and most importantly was used greatly by God to spread the message of the Holy bible wherever he went.

Yet, Fuge considered Fostoria his home, and he and his family are buried in Fostoria Fountain Cemetery, their graves makred with small tombstones that provide only their names, no dates and unusual inscriptions.

Fuge was born in 1872 in a tiny fishing village named Moretons Harbor, on the northeast coast of Newfoundland into a family that had fished for a living for generations. As Fuge said in one of his many books, "From the time I was stout enough to crawl into calico breeches and handle a pair of paddles and cast a fishing-line, my place was in the hinder part of my father's boat".

WROTE PROSE, POETRY

There are many exciting tales in his book, "Thrilling Adventures On Land and Sea", which has been out of print many years. I am fortunate to have a copy of it, presented by Mrgarette Reiss of Fostoria, who came to know Fuge when she was associated with him at God's Bible College, Cincinnati.

Fuge was a fluent and beautiful writer of prose and poetry, in addition to being powerful preacher. He put in "The Wonder Book of My Life", the events of his life from birth. I have been unable to locate a copy of it. What is presented in this story has been extracted bit-by-bit from his writings, conversations with Fostorians who knew him and correspondence with Ralph and Althes White, former Fostorians, niece and nephew of Rev. Fuge, who now lives at Comfort Cove, Newfoundland, just 12 miles from where Fuge was born.

HIS EARLY LIFE

As a boy, Fuge was converted in a "cottage" Church were sweeping that part of the country in the 1880's.

When he was a young man he went to sea, making many foreign voyages and during those years he strayed from his earlier spiritual awakening. However, before Fuge turned unconditionally to God's call, he kept running from him. On one occasion on the high seas, he was working in the boiler room when the boiler exploded and set fire to the hold of the shop. His life, endangered, Fuge called upon God to save him, and he did.

It was in the New York harbor, where Fuge was unloading a cargo of sugar, that a sling broke and approximately 1,000 pounds of sugar fell on him. Crushed and unconscious he was rushed to a hospital, but he remembers calling on God again for help.

After a long period of revocery he returned to his home in Newfoundland. He now felt the strongest call of his life to do something for God. He started working with the Salvation Army and became an inspiring preacher, as those who ever heard him will still testify. The Whites told me two nieces and a nephew are now majors in the Salvation Army. Mrs. White was a captain in the Army many years ago.

CAME TO OHIO

His next move was to God's Bible School at Cincinnati where he was for some time. Margarette Reiss, now retired, was a teacher there for many years, but was not there when Fuge first arrived. She recalls later years when he preached at the school's camp meetings and on special occasions.

From God's bible College he came to Fostoria in the early 1900's and started a small mission church. That group later under his guidance built at Liberty and Union streets. It was known as the Independent Holiness Church. The Bethel United Methodist Church stands there now.

In later years, when Fuge was less active, he recalls that in those early days it was not a problem to get people to go to church. "Often I had difficulty reaching the pulpit because people filled the aisles".

After pastoring that church for some time, Fuge and his wife and daughter went to Africa as missionaries and served there for approximately 20 years. When he was 87, he admitted that his heart was still with the Zulu tribe in Africa, whom they served for so many years, and the only thing that kept him from going back was his "old body".

Fuge wrote at least 30 books and booklets on various subjects during his lifetime, as well as humerous poems, many about Fostoria and Fostorians.

PASTORED NAZARENES

Sometime after returning to Fostoria from Africa, Fuge became the second pastor to serve the Nazarene Church in Fostoria. The Rev. Few was the first, recalls Mrs. Elza Angles, a charter member of the church.

Fuge started and pastored several other small independent churches in Fostoria. Those who knew him say he always had an independent spirit when it came to religion; apparently believing there were groups of people who wanted to be shepherded religiously without the bonds of denominationalism.

At one time, when he bought the old Armory building in 1946, he had a great desire to establish a tabernacle there.

He was then nearly 75 and no longer able to carry on the full time work of such a project, but selected a young devout Christian in Fostoria whom he thought would be successful. The man declined, saying he had not been called by God to preach.

Fuge also pastored several churches in Michigan during his active years. Sandwiched in with all of his preaching and pastoring he found time to write his many books and other publications, one of those being a newspaper-type, called The Warrior. It was printed by The Fostoria Daily Review. I was working there then and became acquainted with him. The Warrior was circulated to church people locally and abroad, wherever he had pastored and preached.

Now I regret I did not know Fuge more intimately, and never hear him preach. I am told by Fostorian Lance Marshall, one of his old friends, that when he preached he gripped and held the audience's attention like all great orators. He never used a note for reference. He spoke from knowledge and memory.

DIED AT 96

Fuge passed away July 1968 at age 96 at Fostoria City Hospital, which he had eulogized in one of his many poems. At the time he was residing at 233 Sandusky St., but he had lived at 300 McDougal St. for many years.

He was proceded in death by his wife Azelia in 1977. It is extremely unfortunate that all Fuge's published materials are not lodged in Kaubisch Library, or some other institution where they would be accessible to the public. I am sure there must be copies of his writings stored away in boxes in the homes of people in this area, since I have been introduced to a few of them through generous friends.

In 1937, the Fuges returned to his native country and village in Newfoundland to visit.

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