Severe injuries didn’t keep parade’s 2023 grand marshal down for long

Former Army Private Fred D. Dahlmeyer has been named grand marshal of Durham’s 2023 Memorial Day parade, which will be held Monday, May 29.

Dahlmeyer was born in Middletown on Feb. 16, 1935 and grew up in West Haven. He entered the Army in 1956 and received his Basic Military Training at Fort Dix – New Jersey. Dahlmeyer then received orders to receive his advanced training as a high-speed radio operator at Camp Gordon (now Fort Gordon) in Georgia.

During this time, Dahlmeyer was involved in a serious accident while on convoy in a training operation. His vehicle struck a pine tree, resulting in severe injuries to his left arm, right leg and lower back.

Dahlmeyer would spend 14 months at Walter Reed Hospital, where he underwent three operations.

Medically retired from the military, Dahlmeyer made a vow to himself that he would graduate from college. While still recuperating from his injuries, he attended both the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin. Ultimately, he earned several diplomas: a degree in management from Quinnipiac College, a degree in marketing and economics from the University of Bridgeport, a masters in education from Southern Connecticut State University, and a doctorate in law from the University of Miami.

Dahlmeyer would wear many different hats during his working years; he was an accountant, an assessor, an attorney and a registered land surveyor.

Dahlmeyer married in 1957. He and his wife, Marjorie Ann, started a family in Hollywood, Florida, where Dahlmeyer was put in charge of laying out the streets and alleys in a subdivision with approximately 1,000 lots.

The Dahlmeyers had five children: U.S. Navy veteran Fred Jr., Debra, Jeanne, Sharon and Diane; and the couple has six grandchildren: Steven, Angela, Christine, Rachel, Sharon and Lauren. Fred and Marjorie Ann Dahlmeyer moved their family to Durham in 1968, and Mr. Dahlmeyer began a 20-year career serving as managing attorney at Home Insurance and CIGNA Insurance.

Dahlmeyer was voted in as Master of the Durham Grange, and was an active member of the group for many years. Also, considering his multiple operations as a young soldier, Dahlmeyer never lost sight of the need for blood donations. He has donated more than 100 pints in his lifetime.

The 2023 Durham Memorial Day parade will step off at 9:15 a.m. on May 29 — rain or shine — at the corner of Haddam Quarter Road and Main Street. The parade will proceed to the town green, where a Memorial Day ceremony will be held and Dahlmeyer will be recognized.


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