Cover photo for Milton Van Duzor's Obituary
1946 Milton 2022

Milton Van Duzor

November 16, 1946 — December 28, 2022


Milton Frederick Van Duzor was born on November 16, 1946, to the late Betty Louise (Mills) and Milton Van Duzor in Orlando, Florida.

Fred was a proud Floridian having resided in Brevard County, Florida for more than seven decades. He graduated from Melbourne High School in 1964 and joined the United States Air Force from 1965-1969. Fred was stationed at Lawrence G. Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts. During this time, he aided in manning Operation Combat Leave, which involved moving a large number of military personnel to Vietnam.  Being only 20 years of age, Colonel Donald Comer, USAF, wrote a letter of commendation for Fred’s “responsibility, initiative, attention-to-detail, ingenuity and leadership, manning the center with no direct supervision”, as he was advising parents on the travel status of their sons and daughters.

Fred proudly served one tour in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam from November 1968 to October 1969, during the height of the conflict. While in Vietnam, he came under enemy fire.  Unfortunately, Fred was exposed to Agent Orange during his tour of duty in Vietnam and later in life deemed 100% disabled.

At a young age, Fred developed a fascination and love of music, dancing, fast cars, Florida State football and his signature, Brut cologne. Music guided him throughout his whole life, while in Vietnam, artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Smokey Robinson brought him comfort. In subsequent decades, Fred was a devoted listener of the Eagles, Bob Seger, the Rolling Stones and Diana Ross. Additionally, Fred relished studying, owning and racing cars/motorcycles. He could easily recite facts about any make or model from Car and Driver magazine. During his lifetime, Fred owned a beloved collection of cars and motorcycles: purple Harley Davidson motorcycle,  Z28, 1961 Corvette, Chevrolet Corvair, Dodge Charger, Camaro and his latest pride and joy, a silver 2019 Stingray Corvette. In his free time, Fred was an avid spectator of Florida State football.  He was proud to be a second cousin of the late FSU coach, Bobby Bowden.

Fred had an impeccable work ethic.  He was a go- getter, as described by a former boss as “a can-do man”. It was no surprise he always landed in leadership roles, as his greatest gift was being able to work well with colleagues. For forty-two years, Fred was an Aerospace Tool and Die Maker for Piper Aircraft, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Northrop Grumman Corporation. While working at Northrop, Fred built tools to create the Stealth Bomber. This work assignment required a highly classified government clearance.  Fred retired in 2009, as his health was declining.

More than any other passion, Fred loved family. He married the love of his life, Opal Florene Tucker, on December 23, 1981. They cherished thirty-seven years together. Opal and Fred had a mutual love of dance, music, southern food and laughter, all of which enriched their lives.  Fred was a doting and proud father to his daughter, Denise Grode, and step-father to Danny Costello, Rick Mathews and Roger Mathews. Some of Fred’s fondest memories were taking his kids fishing on the Indian and Banana River or skiing on Big Bear mountain. He savored coaching his son, Danny, in little league baseball. Later in life, Fred adored celebrating his grandsons, Astor Garrett Garcia, Matthew Frederick Garcia, as well his step-granddaughter, Audrey Mathews.

Fred’s quick wit and humor delighted all those around him. He loved making people laugh and always saw the humor in every situation. Even while fighting cancer, he was an eternal optimist.

Fred is survived by his daughter, Denise (Michael) Grode, his grandsons; Astor Garrett Garcia, Matthew Frederick Garcia, his step-granddaughters, Audrey Mathews, Allison Grode, step-grandson, Aaron Grode (Shania), step-sons; Daniel Costello, Richard Mathews, Roger Mathews (Karen). A brother, Jamie Van Duzor (Cindy), Brother-in-law, Charles Grove (Shirley), former wife, Anne Marie Van Duzor (Ed). Fred is survived by many loving nieces, nephews and friends. Fred was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, his adopted father, Thomas Percy Rittenhouse, sister, Virginia Grove and son-in-law, Astor A. Garcia.

Fred died peacefully at the William S. Middleton Veteran’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and embraced his savior, Jesus Christ, on December 28, 2022. For thirteen years, Fred courageously battled multiple cancers, amputations, numerous medical procedures and hospital stays, all while remaining steadfast with his warrior spirit and humor. A special thank you to Anne Marie Van Duzor for being his nurse care manager the last year of his life.

Burial with full military honors will be held this spring at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, 5525 US-1 Mims, Florida 32754.  A Celebration of Life will immediately follow.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans or your local Veteran’s hospital.

We invite you to share your memories of Milton here on his tribute wall.

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Milton Van Duzor, please visit our flower store.


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