Frederick Norman Garside


Frederick Norman Garside, a retired Electronics Engineer, passed away after a long illness on Monday morning, November 26, 2018.  He was 83 years old. Fred was born in Arlington.  He was the son of English immigrants, Frank and Amy Garside who arrived on a steamship from England.  He grew up in Arlington and was a graduate of Arlington Vocational High School.  It was in high school, that he took a big interest in electronics.  He had a long and distinguished career as an engineer/manager specializing in electronic test engineering.  Over the years, he worked for M.I.T, Lincoln Labs, DRC, Wolf Research and Development, and GenRad where he retired.  While working for M.I.T, he had the opportunity to work on the Whirlwind computer which was eventually used by the Air Force as a computerized air defense system.  Over the years, Fred experienced and helped to create and test some of the newest technology innovations in the evolvement of modern computers.  Simple tasks like developing a computer to play Tic Tac Toe or draw a witch, which seems simple to today’s programmers, but was a breakthrough to Fred’s generation of scientists, Engineers and Programmers. 

Fred was an amateur radio operator with the call sign “W1WYC” for almost 60 years.  Over the years he has contacted fellow operators in almost every country in the world.  He even taught a young Medford man, Michael Bloomberg, (now billionaire businessman, politician, author and philanthropist) Morse code and how to be an amateur radio operator.  Fred had an unassuming and welcoming demeanor that gave him the ability to connect with almost anyone.  He talked to the astronauts on the space station as they passed over.  He used his radio skills as a member of Burlington and Stoneham’s Civil Defense throughout the 60’s and 70’s.  He also helped with the radio communications during Burlington’s July 4th Parades.  He also volunteered for many years as part of the volunteer “Pumpkin Patrol” during Halloween patrolling the streets and notifying police of any issues or mischief. 

Fred was a person deeply involved in his community and neighborhood.  He volunteered as an assistant Scout leader for the Boy Scouts Troop 555 in Burlington.  His favorite activities with the Scouts were the hiking trips on the Presidential Range of Mount Washington and the Polar Bear winter camping events.  He loved sharing his knowledge and introducing the boys to challenges and experiences that were well out of the normal realm.  He had the keen ability to fix almost anything in his home from carpentry, electrical, plumbing, painting, flooring, wallpaper, furnace repair, and any other project around his home, especially electronics. He built his own system that would start his generator in the event of a power failure all from stray and spare parts that he was able to round up. His friends and neighbors knew that Fred was just a phone call away whenever they needed a helping hand or had a household emergency.  It wasn’t all work with Fred.  He had a wonderful and fun group of friends and neighbors.  Sunday afternoons were often spent with family and friends around his pool, in his screen porch, or down in his basement family room.  He truly loved the company of his many friends, neighbors and family. His ability to raise the spirits of anyone and make them laugh was well known. There were many memorable holidays, celebrations, and parties at his home as well filled with laughter, comradery, and fun. 

Fred was a person devoted to his family.  He and his wife Shirley have shared 61 years together as man and wife.  They moved into their home in Burlington in 1963 and never left. Their many neighbors were just like any family member and he took great care of all. They raised their children together, enjoyed the same friends and each other’s family, and cared for one another to the very end.  They loved to travel and went on 13 cruises together with family and friends to destinations like the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Alaska. He was deeply involved in his children’s life’s.   He taught them how to work with their hands, problem solve, respect others, and how to be a responsible adult and parent.  He also engrained the concept of helping his friends and neighbors whenever he was needed in his children. He would often be seen walking up the street, with toolbox in hand on his way to help anyone who needed him. He loved the time spent with his grandchildren, showing them his garden, taking day trips to Rockport and Salem Willows, and cheering them on in their dance recitals and sporting events.  He was simply an unpretentious man who was filled with wisdom, kindness, warmth, and love who would do anything for anyone.

Fred was the beloved husband of Shirley (Bamberg) Garside.  He was the loving father of Donald & his wife Michelle of Derry, NH, Lynn Larsen & her husband Paul of Chelmsford, and the late Timothy Garside.  He was the father-in-law of Kathy Garside of Billerica.  He was the proud grandfather of Elaine Santana & her husband Sal, Alicia Garside, David Garside & his wife Samantha, and Amber Garside & her fiancé Ryan Towle, and great grandfather of Natalia & Charlotte Santana.  Brother of the late Thomas and John Garside. Fred was also survived by many in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends.

 Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., Burlington (Exit 34 off Rt. 128/95 Woburn side) on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 4-8 p.m.  Funeral Services will be held at the United Church of Christ Congregational, 6 Lexington St., Burlington on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m.   Burial to follow in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington.  In lieu of flowers memorials in Fred’s name may be made to the Burlington Council on Aging, 61 Center St., Burlington, MA 01803 or United Church of Christ Congregational, General Fund, 6 Lexington St., Burlington, MA 01803   For directions, obituary & online guestbook see &