Tucumcari Air Force retiree dies in fire

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

U.S. Air Force Ret. Lt. Col. William Frederick Frick, 91, died in an apartment fire on Christmas Eve, according to police reports.

Charles Dunn, deputy medical investigator for the state, said the cause of death is pending an investigation by the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Albuquerque.

“At this time, no foul play is suspected,” he said.
The fire was reported at 2:45 p.m. at 606 S. First St., according to police reports.

“Bill was a special friend to a lot of people,” Dunn said.
Frick served as an intelligence analyst and planner, said Ret. Brig. Gen. William Reid, who served with the U.S. Army Reserves and New Mexico National Guard.
Although he and Frick never discussed their military careers much, Reid said he knew that as an intelligence officer, Frick was a highly selected individual who had held a number of responsible positions in the Air Force.
Frick was born in Tucumcari on June 20, 1915, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Fred. L. Frick, according to his autobiographical entry in the book, “Quay County, 1903-1985.”
From his early years, he noted that “I lettered in football when it was played on hard dirt fields, and the skill of typing has served me well through the years to follow.”
Transportation for his family was by wagon until the Ford Model-T became available, he wrote.
He was a ROTC graduate of New Mexico A&M College near Las Cruces in 1941, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering and completed the Civilian Pilot Training program.

During WWII, he served as an ordnance officer in the China-Burma-India Theater. Following the war, he served in the regular U.S. Air Force and also served in the Korean Conflict.

Before retiring in 1963, his last assignment was as Wing Intelligence Officer with the 454th Bombardment Wing (B-52s) during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Since retiring, Frick wrote that he had “helped transform the Central School Building into the Tucumcari Historical Museum” and had served on its board of directors.

Frick also wrote: “I would like to be remembered as a dedicated patriot who served the United States of America faithfully and would defend her with his life if fate so required.”