Rev. Dr. Federico I. Agnir (1939-2018)

The Rev. Dr. Federico (Fred or Eddie) Agnir, a longtime prominent resident of Greenfield, Massachusetts and Wesley Chapel, Florida, passed away on July 9 in his Wesley Chapel home, after an 8-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  

Rev. Dr. Federico I. Agnir

   A 1959 graduate of the University of the Philippines, he majored in history and speech.   He married the former Ruby Ordinario, also a 1959 graduate of English speech and drama, in 1961.  He and Ruby met in the choir of the Church of the Risen Lord. They were active in the music program of the church and with the UP Christian Youth Movement (UPCYM) of which he became president.  Agnir was a member of the Beta Sigma Fraternity as well as Jose Abad Santos Chapter of DeMolay International, of which he became Master Councilor.

He taught at the Lyceum for a couple of years, after which he and his wife moved to Davao City, Ruby’s hometown, where he served as the registrar of Rizal Memorial Colleges for three years.  Their children were born in Brokenshire Memorial Hospital, Mirla (Dawn) in 1962, Rowena (Row) in 1964 and Frederick (Rowen) in 1967.

In 1964, Agnir and his family moved to Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, where he obtained his Master of Divinity (magna cum laude) from Silliman University Divinity School.  Agnir spent his seminary internship at, and became assistant pastor of, the Church of the Risen Lord.  He and his family went back to Silliman University where he taught seminary courses and his wife Ruby taught English, speech and theater arts.  In 1971, Agnir left for Syracuse University in New York. His family followed in 1972.

    The Agnir family then went to Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1974 after he earned his master’s degree in mass communications from Syracuse University.  For 30 years, he taught oral communication in Greenfield Community College, where he was the advisor of the GCC honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. He also trained GCC debaters and brought them to competitions throughout the U.S.A.  

At the same time, being an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, he became senior pastor of several churches in Greenfield and neighboring towns.  Among these are the congregational churches of Shelburne, Leverett, Easthampton, and South Deerfield. The Greenfield churches he served were Robbins Memorial and First Congregational.

He was the main organizer of SUACONA, Silliman University Alumni Council in North America, and received the Outstanding Silliman Alumnus Award in Pastoral Ministry in 2005.  He was also an active member of the Board of Directors of UPAAA, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America, which awarded his wife Ruby the Distinguished Alumna Award in Culture and the Arts in 2011, and him the Distinguished Alumnus Award in Pastoral Ministry and Education in 2017.  

    A singer and theater enthusiast, he and his wife Ruby performed in many programs and theater productions in the area.  They sang and were soloists in several church and community choirs, as well as the Pioneer Symphony Chorus of Franklin County.  He was producer of Green Room Players, a community theater troupe of Franklin County founded by Ruby, and appeared in most of its productions.  His favorite role was the king in “The King and I,” produced by both Country Players and GRP. The proceeds of GRP productions, a total of about $50,000, went to charitable causes, including the Franklin Pastoral Counseling Center, the Order of the Eastern Star charities, Greenfield Public Schools, churches, and the ALS research fund of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

    A published author, Agnir’s autobiography, When God Calls, which is available from Amazon, has become a best-seller purchased both here and abroad.  Agnir was also a master chess and table tennis (ping-pong) player, coaching enthusiasts and holding simultaneous chess competitions in the community as well as in prisons.

    Retiring from both education and church professions in 2003, he and Ruby moved to Wesley Chapel, Florida, in 2004.  They became members of the Springfield (MA) chapter in 1977 and the Tampa Bay (FL) chapter in 2004 of American MENSA.  He was a member of Republican Lodge (Greenfield, MA) and Zephyr Lodge (Zephyrhills, FL) of Free and Accepted Masons, and the Egypt Shrine of Shriners International.  He and Ruby were also past Worthy Patron and Matron of Arcana and Bethlehem chapters (MA), and dual members of Crescent Chapter (FL), of the Order of the Eastern Star.

    Agnir is survived by his wife, Ruby; daughters Mirla Thompson and Rowena Rantanen; son Frederick Agnir; grandson Steven Curtiss; granddaughters Kayla and Rachel Agnir; Elysse, Katherine, and Laura Rantanen; sons-in-law Brian Thompson and Eric Rantanen; and daughter-in-law Christiana Carter Agnir; as well as several siblings and relatives in the U.S. and the Philippines.

    He and Ruby celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on April 28, 2018.

    For those who would like to send donations in his memory, these may be sent in his name to the American Cancer Society or to the Agnir Memorial Music Fund of Atonement Lutheran Church (29617 State Rd. 54, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543).  Sympathy cards may be sent to 6119 Weatherwood Circle, Wesley Chapel, FL 33545.

Source: Mrs. Ruby Agnir