Fred J. Kern II

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Fred J. Kern II, 86, of Belleville, IL, born March 25, 1933, in Belleville, IL, died Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at his residence.

Mr. Kern was that lucky guy who grew up in the big white house behind his family’s Belleville News-Democrat.  During his formative years, from “little on up”, he worked alongside his parents, Robert L. Kern and Elsie A. Kern, nee Schrodi, and his uncle Richard “Pete” Kern.  Fred was an only child.

Kern worked and learned all the departments of a daily newspaper, from janitor to editor, and apprenticed the trades.  As general manager of the old Belleville News-Democrat, he instigated and finalized its sale in 1972. Fred served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force and was a member of the international typographical union.

In 1955 after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, he married Barbara M. Kern, nee McKim, and they have remained steadfast together ever since.  Together they parented three sons, Robert L. Kern II, lawyer/businessman, R. Matthew Kern, professional jazz musician, (Lu Anne), and the Honorable Mark A. Kern, politician/businessman (Erin).  The couple have eight grandchildren.

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

At his request, there will be no visitation or funeral.  The body was cremated.


18 Comments on Fred J. Kern II

The Wren Family said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2019 at 4:42 PM

Please accept our condolences. It is always tough to lose a parent. Your family is in our prayers.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Grace Howell said : Guest Report Aug 07, 2019 at 12:14 AM

Barb and family, very sorry for your loss. Being a caretaker, to Fred's father enabled me to meet an exceptional family and a loving son. Sending thoughts and prayers to you all.

  • Ofallon
  • mo
Mary Jo Hodel said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2019 at 9:06 PM

Dear family, I sorry to hear about your dad. He was so kind to me, he came by my old shop in Clayton with your mom just to lend moral support after I left Selkirk's on a regular basis. Both always smiling. I've thought of them often and I'm very sorry about the news. Sincerely, MJ Hodel

  • Weldon Spring
  • Missouri
elizabeth joelner mortka said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2019 at 8:13 PM

Matt and family, I was sorry to hear about your dad. I remember him and your mom coming to our band concerts at Belleville East. I remember getting to ride in his Checker cab.

  • swansea
  • Illinois
Bob & Helen Pisarkiewicz said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2019 at 8:13 PM

Barb, our depest condolances and prayers for Fred. We had many happy memories during those WU days. Unfortunatly all the times and people have passed except us. Best wishes for the future Bob & Helen.

  • Ellisville
  • Missouri
BOB & HELEN PISARKIEWICZ said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2019 at 8:04 PM

Dear Barb and family; Our sympathies and prayers go out to you. Been a long time since we have seen you but that happens with large families. We still remember the good old days. As always best wishes for the future.Bob&Helen

  • Ellisville
  • Missouri
Kathy Anderson said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2019 at 3:38 PM

Mrs. Barbara Kern, Mark and entire family: So very sorry for your loss - may your wonderful husband/father rest in peace - he is home..........Sincerely, Rob and Kathy Anderson

  • Belleville
  • IL
The Bob Sax Family said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2019 at 3:12 AM

Kern Family, Please accept our deepest sympathies. For us, it’s nearly impossible to think about the News Democrat without thinking about Fred-many fond memories of the “old printing” days. Sending many prayers your way.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
David Zimmerman said : Guest Report Aug 04, 2019 at 7:57 PM

Mark-I'm so sorry for your loss. I didn't know your father but if he was anything like you, he was an outstanding man. I hope your pleasant memories of your Dad help ease the pain of your loss.

  • Morton
  • IL
Mary Reuter said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 11:15 PM

Fred was one of a kind. The most giving and generous man who truly loved his wife Barbara and his family. We will miss you.

  • St. Louis
  • MO
Gordon Roewe said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 11:10 PM

Fred was a great man and patriarch to a special family.

  • Glendale
  • Missouri
John and Shirley West said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 6:35 PM

With deepest sympathies for your loss. Your family is in our prayers.

  • OFallon
  • Illinois
Dennis Jacknewitz said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 6:27 PM

My deepest condolences to Barbara, Mark, and the entire family. Dennis Jacknewitz

  • Swansea
  • IL
Dr. Mary Graham Stiehl said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 4:23 PM

Barb, Mark & Erin, my sincere sympathy on the loss of Fred. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Joyce and Bob Dintelmann said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 4:17 PM

Our deepest and sincere condolence to Barbara, Mark and all the family. I remember working with Fred when I needed something from the paper and for some of his landscaping. And just crossing paths. He was a fine gentleman.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Gary DeFosset said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 3:39 PM

Mrs. Kern,Mark and family, Our sincere sympathy on the loss of your husband,Dad and grandfather. Gary and Kathy DeFosset

  • albers
  • IL
Michael Slape said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 3:10 PM

Lost of our parents leave a forever hole in life! You father had a remarkable life, and was a credit to his community!

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Mary Barbara Kurz said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 2:46 PM

Mark, Erin and family....Jim and I are deeply sorry for your loss. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Fondly, Jim and Mary Barbara

  • Belleville
  • IL

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